Sculptures

Antinoo
Antinous
Antinoo

Antinous

The marble statue comes from the Chigi collection and, when Ferdinand of Bourbon came back to Naples in 1817, it was permanently exhibited in the Museum. The statue portrays Antinous, idealized and heroized after his death. The young boy is standing on his right leg, while his left leg is slightly retroflex; the right arm is resting along the body, the left arm is bent forward. The iconographic type draws on Greek models of the late fifth century BC.
Antinous was the favourite of Emperor Hadrian, who, after the boy died in Egypt in 130 AD, started his worship and commissioned a large number of statues, in which the young boy is portrayed in the guise of Apollo, Dionysus, or with other iconographic types where his face is inserted. The cult of Antinous did not survive the reign of Hadrian and for this reason the statue in question is dated to this period.

Apollo citaredo
Apollo citharist
Apollo citaredo

Apollo citharist

The colossal statue portrays Apollo sitting on a rocky spur. All bare parts, namely the head and hands, as well as the lyre, were originally made of bronze and were replaced by C. Albacini with those visible today in white marble. Engravings and testimony of that period confirm that the statue represented a female subject, that is the personification of Rome, before the restorer altered its features.

The use of porphyry, for the intrinsic value of the material and for the exclusively imperial exploitation of quarries, suggests that the statue should be destined to a temple or a private residence of the emperor.

The statue, belonged to the Sassi family, was acquired by the Farnese family in 1546 and then it was inherited by the Bourbons through Charles III; it was moved to Naples in 1799 when most of the Farnese collection had already been transferred there.

Piccolo donario (statua di Galata morente, statua di Gigante morto, statua di Persiano morto, Amazzone caduta)
Small donarium
Piccolo donario (statua di Galata morente, statua di Gigante morto, statua di Persiano morto, Amazzone caduta)

Small donarium (statue of the dying Gaul, statue of dead Giant, statue of dying Persian, statue of fallen Amazon)

The statues were placed in the Baths of Agrippa in Rome in order to celebrate the victories that Agrippa had gained over the Galatians in 37 BC. The statues, discovered in 1514, belonged to the Medici Orsini family and to Margaret of Austria; then they were acquired by the Farnese family.
The basic theme regards four battles, two mythical ones (Gigantomachy and Amazonomachy) and two historical ones (the battle of Marathon between the Persians and the Athenians and the battle between the Attalids and the Galatians).

The first statue portrays a lying Amazon mortally wounded: the body is covered with a short pleated chiton, which reveals her voluptuous limbs and her right bare breast.

The second high relief represents a Giant fallen in battle with the naked body, well defined in the anatomical structure, lying on his back on an irregular oval base.

The third high relief portrays a warrior fallen in battle lying on an irregular oval base. The eastern style of the clothes, light trousers and a Phrygian cap, mark him out as a likely Gaul.

The fourth statue shows a young and athletic Gaul in the act of falling to the ground because of a mortal wound.

Venere “callipigia”
Venus “callipigia” ”

Venere “callipigia”

Venus “callipigia”

The statue portrays the goddess looking back to admire the perfect line of her body. The Greek name “kallipygos” literally means “Venus of beautiful buttocks” and refers to the erroneous identification of the type with a statue created in the second century BC and exhibited in Syracuse. In fact the iconography was already known in the mid-fourth century BC, while the original of this statue has to be dated back to around two centuries later. After its discovery, the statue was restored by C. Albacini and in particular he restored the head, the shoulders, the left arm holding the hem of the peplos, the right hand and the right calf.

The statue was found in the Domus Aurea. It was acquired by the Farnese family, who placed it in the Villa Farnesina, then it was inherited by Charles III of Bourbon.
It was moved to the court of Naples together with the other Farnese collections and finally it was exhibited in the Museum.

Armodio e Aristogitone
Harmodius and Aristogeiton
Armodio e Aristogitone

Harmodius and Aristogeiton

The group is made up of two statues created as physically autonomous entities, standing in a specular position on different bases, but conceptually linked by the ideal of freedom to which they sacrificed their lives.

Aristogeiton is portrayed as a mature man, vigorous despite the age, with the head rolled to the left and the thorax almost front viewed, the right leg bent and planted firmly on the ground, the le1ft leg open backward.

Harmodius, the younger of the two Athenians, is caught in the act of brandishing the sword, with his right arm stretched forward and his right leg firmly put forward to hold out the rush. The hair is made up of small spiral curls, the beardless face is associated with a vigorous body in the flower of adulthood and the anatomical structure is well marked. The arms and the legs were restored.
The statues were discovered in Villa Adriana in Tivoli and transported to the Bourbon court in Naples in 1790 to be exhibited in the Museum.

Artemide efesia
Ephesian Artemis

Artemide efesia

Ephesian Artemis

The alabaster statue is one of the copies of the cult statues of Artemis worshipped in the Temple of Ephesus. The goddess is so rigidly straight, that the statue seems to be a xoanon (ancient wooden simulacra of deities); she stretches out her arms and holds on her head a tower-shaped polos with arched doors, behind which is a disk decorated with four busts of winged lions on each side. The goddess wears a breastplate, on which there are, in bas-relief, the zodiac signs of Leo, Cancer, Gemini, Libra and Sagittarius, and a necklace from which some acorns hang; the bust holds four rows of mammae, as symbol of fertility, or, according to other scholars, the scrota of the bulls that were ritually sacrificed to her.

The face, the hands and the feet are in bronze, the result of a restoration by Valadier, who also restored, together with Albacini, the headgear, a part of the halo and the lower part of the body; the works of restoration were performed on the occasion of the transfer of the statue from Rome to Naples.

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