Jennings Dog, 2nd century AD
1.05 (height) m
Rome, Italy


This near life-size marble sculpture of a Molossian hound, a type of mastiff native to the ancient Greek world, is a Roman version in marble of a 2nd century BC Hellenistic bronze original. According to Greek myth, this type of dog was a descendant of Kerberos, the guard dog of Hades, and of one given to the heroine Europa by her lover Zeus. The sculpture’s missing tail prompted one of the sculpture’s owners, Henry Constantine Jennings, to call it “The Dog of Alcibiades,” a reference to the Athenian general who cut off his dog’s tail in order to quell the flurry of gossip around his more unfavorable actions. Caught in a moment of movement, possibly responding to the call of an unseen master, this dog with its beautifully-rendered muscles and ruff of fur might be considered one of the finest extant representations of an animal from the Hellenistic Greek period.


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