Ceres is Demeter
While spending the last several years in southern Italy, I have immersed myself in the art and culture of the antique world. Sicily and the southern end of the Italian peninsula were first hellenized in the 8th century BC. Client colonies, typically sponsored by a parent city back in Greece were founded along the coast. They eventually prospered and became so influential that the region was eventually referred to as ‘Magna Grecia’ or Greater Greece.
Temples and museums are scattered all over the South and the quality of many of the works is quite impressive. Social reverberations of its hellenistic origins still linger on as an echo of this region’s once glorious past.
Ceres, or Demeter as she was known to the greeks, is the fertility deity who presided over the harvest. She was considered a patron of grain, bread and even childbirth. Her cult is extremely ancient and actually predates the greek olympian pantheon. Symbolic of the cycle of nature, her personal fortune/misfortune is intrinsically connected to climatic change. The seasons personified she represents how our one’s emotional life directly influences their environment.
Like many classical works this bust was designed with a dominant point of view. Perfect for a niche or flanked by companions, the bust of Ceres is meant to be seen in 3/4(see the initial photo) and placed slightly lower than the eye level of the intended viewer. This way the downward spiral movement is emphasized.
Below are various photos of the bust in different states: