Roman, Imperial Period, ca. 2nd century CE. An exquisite, cast bronze statuette of a draped woman, perhaps a muse or a goddess, standing with her left leg slightly advanced creating a gentle S-curve to her form. She wears a luxurious high-girt chiton that has seductively slipped off her left shoulder. A himation is draped around her waist. She holds her left forearm outward with an orb-shaped object - perhaps the Apple of Discord or a globe - in her extended hand and her right arm up with a cylindrical implement (now with loss) in her grip. Her visage is defined with attractive facial features framed by a pulled back coiffure twisted into a low chignon - all topped by a crescent-shaped stephane. The figure was cast in the round and her form begs the eye to take in her presence from every angle. She stands upon an integral raised circular base. Size: 8.25" H (21 cm)
The apple in her hand may be a reference to the Golden Apple of Discord that the goddess Discordia (Greek counterpart being Eris) tossed in the midst of the wedding feast of Peleus and Thetis as a prize for sublime beauty - inciting the dispute between Juno (Hera), Minerva (Athena), and Venus (Aphrodite) that led to the Trojan War. Although the apple is oftentimes an attribute of Venus (Aphrodite), the garments that this figure wears suggest that she may represent an actual woman. A similarly dressed Hellenistic female bronze holding an apple resides at the Getty Villa (HS3746), and curators believe that she may represent Queen Apollonis of Pergamon who is depicted as Aphrodite. The crown-like headpiece or stephane was oftentimes worn by ancient Greek and Roman aristocrats, and Queen Apollonis, who was contemporary with the Getty statue, was depicted in a statue wearing a very similar stephane. Another possible identity for this statue is that of Urania, the Muse of Astronomy, whose traditional attributes include a globe and a rod.
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection; ex-Richard Wagner collection, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA, acquired in the 1970s
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