The sculpture, which was found in the Forum of Cuma (Puteoli, Naples) in 1758, dates to the second quarter of the second century AD (125-150 AD).
The bust depicts Zeus seated, naked, with a flap of the himation (cloak), which fell down from the left shoulder behind the back to wrap the legs. The face presents a hair combed in long curls and a flowing curly beard. The left arm had to be probably raised to hold the scepter, the right arm, instead, lowered and outstretched. The statue was placed, on a high stone base, at the end of the central cella of the Capitolium in the Forum of Cuma together with the statues, equally colossal, of Juno and Minerva, so as to constitute the Capitoline triad worshipped in Roman Ages.
Already originally it had only the bust and the head in marble (acrolith), while the remaining parts were probably in wood or other material, covered with colour cloth on the model of the big Greek chryselephantine (ivory and gold) statues such as the Athena of the Parthenon or the Zeus of Olympia.
The sculpture, although it was found among the debris that filled the Roman Crypta in Cuma (Puteoli, Naples), was probably placed in the Temple of Apollo on the Acropolis, fallen down owing to the collapse of the vault of the gallery.
The statue, which dates back to the Claudian period (41-54 AD), depicts Diomedes, naked, in the act of stopping and turning his eyes back; next to his right leg is a support in the shape of a trunk. He probably held in his right hand a sword, in his left hand the Palladium, symbol of the inviolability of Troy, just stolen together with Ulysses.
The Greek inscription under the base does not refer to the sculptor, but to Gaius Claudius Pollionus Frugianus, the dedicatee of the statue who gave the sculpture to the Cuman sanctuary of Apollo. It is a Roman copy of a bronze original of 430 BC., the work of the Greek sculptor Kresilas. The tradition, according to which the Palladium reached Italy, induced many towns of the peninsula to boast their Trojan origins.
The sculpture, dating back to the Hadrian period (117-138 AD), was found together with other marble statues that decorated the summa cavea of the Amphiteatre of Campania and specifically of Capua.
Aphrodite is depicted half-naked, with a himation (cloak) that covers the lower part of her body supported by the knee of her left leg slightly bent, with her left foot placed on Ares’ helmet.
The arms are raised to hold probably Ares’ shield used as a mirror. Restored by Augusto Brunelli in 1820, it derives from a bronze original of the end of the fourth century BC, reproduced in the Hadrian period, considering the softness of the face and the contrast between the smoothness of the naked parts and the chiaroscuro of the drapery. In Roman Ages this type was in other cases modified to the figure of Nike (Victory) in the act of writing the praises of the winner on the shield, with the addition of wings and a stylus in her right hand.
The sculpture, which was found at via delle Scuole in the so-called Samnite Gymnasium, dates to the Augustan period or between the end of the second century and the beginning of the first century BC according to the context. It served the purpose of reminding young aristocrats that they belonged to the classical world and to the ideals of Greek culture.
Considered as the most complete copy of the bronze Doryphoros by Polykleitos, it represents a young naked spear-bearer. His right arm hangs positioned by his side, the left one bent to hold a spear now lost, while his head, with a lock-waved hair, is just turned to the right. In this famous Pompeian copy it is possible to observe the use of the chiastic scheme (which reproduces the shape of the Greek letter X, chi), created by Polykleitos and consisting in the reciprocal opposition of the single parts of the body: the left arm bent corresponds to the right leg tensed, the right arm tensed to the left leg bent
The sculpture, which dates back to the first or second century AD, was found in the theatre-nymphaeum of the Baths of Baia (Bacoli, Naples) called of Sosandra in September 1953.
The goddess is completely wrapped by a heavy himation (cloak) that suggests, though, the posture, while long folds mark the stretching of the left arm; the head is also covered with a veil to frame the balanced beauty of the face, which emerges clear and polished between the two symmetrical bands of the hair on the forehead.
The sculpture, which can be attributed to the production of a local workshop in service of the Palatium of Baia, is in an advanced, but uncompleted stage of processing: except the face and the hair, in fact, the whole surface results to be unpolished.
The sculpture, which was found in Sorrento (Naples) in the area of a Roman gymnasium in 1899, dates back to the half of the first century AD (40-60 AD).
It depicts a young naked athlete, wearing an olive wreath, symbol of his victories, on his curly hair. The right forearm is covered by a caestus (a sort of boxing glove), the left one is broken at the elbow.
A cloaked herma of bearded Heracles is placed, as a support, next to the right leg.
The Greek inscription placed on the front of the base refers to the author of the work Koblanos of the school of Aphrodisias: it is, then, a copy freely adapted from a statuary type created in the circle of Polycleitos known through other reproductions of the imperial period, which the author has partially modified with characteristics typical of Roman classical figurative culture of the first half of the first century AD.
The so-called Stele Borgia
The relief comes from the collections once kept at the Museo Borgiano in Velletri.
On the stele, which dates to the late Archaic period and specifically to the first half of the fifth century BC (480-470 BC), is portrayed a grown bearded man, characterized as a wayfarer wearing a chlamys (short travelling cloak), with his legs crossed, leaning on a stick with his left axilla. The bandage that surrounds his forehead and the aryballos (small vase to contain ointments) for the gymnasium oils, hanging from his left hand, characterize him as an athlete. It is an iconography widespread in the Attic and Ionic funerary sculpture, which combine the two main aspects of the aristocratic life: gymnasium (recalled by the presence of the bandage on the athlete’s head and by the aryballos) and hunt (evoked by the figure of the dog). The front view (bust and right leg) together with the profile view (head and left leg), characteristic of late-Archaic works, reveals a production typically provincial, that is Ionic insular.
Orpheus and Eurydice
The marble relief of the Augustan period (27 BC – 14 AD), which was found in a seaside villa in the district of Sora, at Torre del Greco (Naples), shows the last farewell between Orpheus and Eurydice.
On the left side there is Hermes who, with the left hand, accompanies Eurydice holding her by the arm. Eurydice is depicted with a low-necked peplos (tunic) and a himation (cloak) covering partially her head, in the act of receding and turning back. Her left hand is on the shoulder of Orpheus that is depicted on the right side in the act of turning back towards Eurydice. Orpheus is wearing a chiton with a chlamys fastened on the right shoulder and a cap on his head; he is holding a lyre in his left hand, while he is touching Eurydice’s arm with his right hand, laconically staring at his lover.
The relief bears the names of the mythical portrayed characters written in Greek; it is a Roman copy of a Greek original of the end of the fifth century BC, produced in the school of Phidias, probably by Alkamenes.
Provinces of Asia
The marble base, which was found at Puteoli (Naples) in 1793, dates to the second quarter of the first century AD (30-37 AD). It was built at the behest of the Collegium of the Augustales, in order to celebrate the magnanimity of Tiberius, and it supported a statue of the emperor.
One of the long sides bears a dedicatory inscription, which is flanked by the personifications of 14 Asian towns that were damaged by devastating earthquakes between 17 and 29 AD and had always received the emperor’s help, so that they built him a monument in Rome in about 30 AD, of which the Puteoli base is a small copy.
Important are the figures that symbolize the towns (on the right: Philadelphia, Tuolos and Kyme with a trident; on the left: Mostene, Aegre and Hierokaisareia;on the back: Temnos, Kibyra, Myrina, Ephesos, Apollonidea and Hyrcania), since they are the reproductions of famous ancient sculptures, of which they contribute to reconstruct the iconography.
The creation of man by Prometeus
The sarcophagus, which was found in a mausoleum near the ancient Puteoli (Pozzuoli, Naples) in 1817, represents the myth of Prometeus, the creator of man, and it can be dated to around the fourth century AD.
Prometeus, seated, is intent on observing his creature; the man, still a motionless clay puppet, stiffly lying at his feet, is surrounded by the greatest deities of the Greek pantheon. In a pre-eminent position there are Hera and Zeus in the act of giving Hermes the money with which to redeem the life of man from the Hades. Next to Hermes there is Poseidon with his trident; in the two upper corners, the chariot of Selene and the chariot of Apollo between Zeus and the man; finally, the Erotes induce Psyche, the soul, to give birth to the first human being.
The sarcophagus is attributed to a Roman workshop; its presence at Puteoli in the late period indicates that the cultural life was still lively in the town of Campi Flegrei.