Show Menu

Persephone, Bacchante [Plaster]

Dublin Core


Persephone, Bacchante [Plaster]


Figure sculpture, American--20th century


Persephone (Bacchante), 1972
Plaster original

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Marshall M. Fredericks

In Greek mythology, Persephone was the goddess of spring. She was abducted by Hades (known to the Romans as Pluto) and taken to the Underworld to be his wife. Her mother, Demeter (Ceres), the goddess of agriculture, searched the earth for her. Demeter finally found her, but since Persephone had eaten the seed of a pomegranate Hades offered her while in the Underworld, she could not return to the land of the living. Demeter was so upset she refused to bless the harvest. This left the earth sterile. Filled with guilt, Hades made a compromise with Demeter to allow Persephone to spend half of the year with her mother in the upper world and the other half of the year with him in the Underworld. The purpose of this Greek myth was to explain the continuing seasonal cycle of the earth each year.

Fredericks created Persephone in 1972 from his Bacchante sculpture of 1935 on the request of Henry Booth, son of George Gough Booth (founder of the Cranbrook Educational Community, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan). It would be placed at Cranbrook's Greek Theatre, its present location.

Persephone can also be found in the Sculpture Garden.


Fredericks, Marshall M., 1908-1998




Use of this image requires permission from the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum




University Center (Mich.)

Sculpture Item Type Metadata

Physical Dimensions

52" x 24" x 24"


Plaster full-scale

Catalog Number


Object Location

Main Exhibit Gallery


01/19/1988 gifted to MFSM


From Jennifer Lentz (Collection Documentation Intern 1991-1992)
Memo dated July 30, 1991:

"RE: Bacchante and Persephone

On July 26, 1991 Molly told me that she had changed the original date of Bacchante from 1938 to 1935 in her records. She also said that Henry Booth (George's son) wanted it enlarged and placed at Cranbrook. Since a Bacchante is a female follower of the Roman wine god Bacchus, this name was not considers appropriate. Thus, when Fredericks enlarged Bacchante and placed it at the Cranbrook Greek Theater in 1972 he changed the name to Persephone."

Gibbes Museum
Persephone, 1979
By Marshall Fredericks (American, 1909 - 1998)
Museum Purchase with funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts Living Artist Fund

Molly Barth copy:
Persephone is the mythological goddess of spring and summertime. She is rising from Hades, bringing forth spring and summer. Maybe you all know the story. She was kidnapped, and taken down to Hades, and they say that if you eat while you're down there in Hades, you automatically have to stay there, but her mother, was very, very upset when Pluto kidnapped her and took her down there, to his underworld kingdom so she struck a deal. Six months of the year, Persephone stays in Hades. That, of course, is wintertime. The other six months, when she is above Hades, we have spring and summer. A bronze cast is located at the Greek Theatre at Cranbrook. It is beautiful, outside near a reflecting pool. Another cast is at Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina, another is in Charleston, at the Gibbes Gallery. Also, we have a bronze cast in the sculpture garden and Fredericks has one in his garden at his residence.

Interview- Joy Colby 1981: "But some of the middle size such as the figure of Persephone and the Gazelle I've duplicated a few times. The Persephone is now going down to Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina."

Social Bookmarking

Item Relations

This item has no relations.