Statuette of a man with a piglet and a fruit bowl.
Western Greek, 450 BC-400 BC
Fired clay. 26,9 cm
Inventory number: H1033
The statuette is a votive gift, a sacrifice to the gods as a thanksgiving or as a prayer for help. It shows a young man clutching a piglet by its hind legs and holding a bowl of fruit. Piglets and fruit were both typical sacrifices to Demeter, the goddess for fertility in both mankind and nature. So the statuette probably represents a devotee of Demeter bringing sacrifices to the goddess. The figure is one of a group of terracotta statuettes in Thorvaldsen’s collection of antiquities which derive from the Greek colony of Paestum in Southern Italy. Paestum was a popular resort in the 18th and 19th centuries, and Thorvaldsen himself visited the place in 1804. It is not known whether Thorvaldsen acquired the statuettes on this occasion. Real excavations of the area were not started until after 1804, but the local population often found votive statuettes, which were sold to visitors and art dealers all over Europe. So Thorvaldsen can also have bought the statuettes in Rome or Naples, where large numbers of them were offered for sale.