Hellenistic Bronze Statuette of a Draped and Veiled Woman
Culture: Greek, Greek-Hellenistic
Period: Late Hellenistic Period, 2nd -1st Century B.C.
Dimensions: Height: 32.2 cm
Ex-European private collection, acquired in the early 1980’s
Excellent state of conservation
The statuette is in an excellent state of preservation, though the arms are lost. The surface of the metal, dark brown in color, is partially covered with a beautiful green patina. It was cast using the lost wax process, but the thickness of the bronze is important. In spite of its reduced size, this statuette has remarkable artistic and technical qualities: the features of the woman’s face are delicately and well modeled; her hair, with the diadem and wavy locks, and the peplos, with the regular and symmetrical folds, are certainly the result of a master at work.
It represents a young standing woman, dressed in a long peplos fastened on the shoulders and forming a rich fold of material on the bust and at the top of the legs. A belt, knotted under the breast, tightens the garment and forms cascades of vertical folds. The feet, hardly visible under the long fabric, are dressed in sandals. Her attitude (the right leg supporting the weight of the body, the left leg slightly folded, the lowered, perhaps folded, arms) refers to sculptural types created during the Hellenistic period and reproduced on various female statues; in the early Roman period, in spite of many variants, this position is adopted to represent several women figures, whether deities (Ceres or Juno for example), or priestesses, or praying figures. Unfortunately, in the case of this statuette, the absence of any attributes does not allow us to propose a precise interpretation.
On the praying figures or the deities statuettes:
CASSOLA GUIDA P., Bronzetti a figura umana dalle coll. dei Civici Musei di Storia ed Arte di Trieste, Milan, 1978, pp. 69-70, n. 54-55.
Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC), Zurich, 1988, vol. IV, s.v. Demeter/Ceres, p. 900, n. 111-122.
Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC), Zurich, 1990, vol. V, s.v. Iuno, pp. 840-841, n. 192-210.