The Lares were the household gods, the guardian spirits of every great Roman family. Along with the Penates, guardians of the storeroom, the Lares were at the heart of Roman domestic religion. It was the duty of the Lares to keep order and balance within the house, to maintain the family spirit across time. Most noble homes throughout the empire included a shrine to these gods, in which pictures or statues of the deites were enclosed. In his expressive gestures and lively pose, this winged Lar shows the strong influence of Hellenistic culture. He is draped in young grape vines, which may be a reference to the family's source of income, or merely symbols of abundance. Very likely, this Lar was created for a noble provincial family that was seeking to adopt traditional Roman ways. A masterpiece of the sculptor's art, observed with elegant anatomical accuracy, he still retains his ancient power. Looking upon him, we feel the joy and optimism of life at its best.