The dolphin is rendered in great detail with long upraised tail, large incised eyes, carefully depicted flippers and dorsal fin and two rows of teeth. The remains of an iron pin on the proper right of the sculpture indicate that it was probably designed as a support for a life-size statue of Venus, the goddess of love.
For statues of Venus with dolphin supports see Delivorrias et al, ‘Aphrodite,’ in LIMC, vol. II, nos. 419 (Museo Nazionale, Naples) and nos. 424-425 (Medici Venus, Uffizi Gallery and Palazzo Colonna statue).
Provenance: formerly in the Jean Mikas Collection, Paris, 1950, and subsequently in a European Private Collection.