Monday, December 15, 2014


Sala delle Muse 


1782 by Michelangelo Simonetti (1724/87) who also used sixteen columns of marble from Carrara
In the vault frescoes and paintings “Scenes and characters of Greek mythology” 1782/86 by Tommaso Maria Conca (1734/1822) who was a pupil of his uncle, the great Sebastiano Conca

Most of the sculptures here come from the excavations carried out in the years 1773/79 in the so-called Villa of Cassius in Pianelle of Carciano at Tivoli except Euterpe Muse of lyric and Urania muse of astronomy that are modern


On the right wall “Relief with Pyrrhic dance” Roman art of the late-Republican period, based on an Attic relief of the fourth century BC
The Pyrrhic dance was probably of Cretan origin. During the performance each soldier would hit with his sword the shield of the soldier next to him

On the left wall “Relief with the birth of Dionysus” early second century AD from an Athenian original of the second half of the fourth century BC
Dionysus was born from the thigh of Zeus. Hermes welcomes him with a panther skin to give him to the nymph Nysa who will raise him in the mountains

“Sophocles” from an original of the fourth century BC

“Statue of Silenus” with a bunch of grapes and all the appearance of being drunk
The head is of the first century AD, the body of the second century AD, but both are derived from a model maybe of the circle of Lysippus of the early Hellenistic period with the Silenus accompanied by a panther


“Belvedere Torso” first century BC signed by Apollonios the son of Nestor, an Athenian belonging to the followers of the neo-Attic style

It influenced Michelangelo's and others' (Auguste Rodin) sculpture, so much that Michelangelo proclaimed himself “student of the Torso” and was inspired by his “master” for the “Nudes” in the Sistine Chapel. It was an object of worship by the Renaissance artists

It maybe represents Hercules or, according to recent German studies, Ajax contemplating suicide
It was found before 1432, perhaps on the Quirinal Hill, but the exact date and place are unknown. Not even the date of its entry in the Vatican collection is certain

Around the walls “Nine Muses and Apollo Musagete” second century AD
The word musagete means leader of the muses

“The series of discoveries in Tivoli, plus the muses from Villa Adriana and the Villa of the Quintili, suggest the creation of a series of sculptures that influenced the decorative choices of rich residences of the mid-imperial period, located in Latium region. Hadrian has been considered as the client, who would have entrusted artists educated in the Greek tradition, able to standardize already well known iconography - not exclusively related to muses - and borrowed from different stylistic currents” (Eleonora Ferrazza)

Herms of poets and philosophers, including:

“Herm of Plato” from original by Silanion
The broad forehead that earned him the nickname Plato is here covered by a thick bangs

“Head of Euripides” first half of the second century AD

“Homer's Head” end of first or early second century AD from original of the mid-fifth century AD. It was however a portrait of reconstruction not contemporary of Homer


“Herm of Aspasia” from an original of the fifth century BC

“Herm of Pericles” from an original of the fifth century BC by Kresilas

“It wasn't a portrait statue, inconceivable at the time, but of an ideal image, exemplary embodiment of a political ideology that would be democratic and egalitarian. Ethical values still take precedence over individual characterization” (Marina Castoldi)

“Statue of seated woman, so-called Sappho” maybe representing, in fact, a deceased woman with not pertinent head of the Augustan period

“Herm of Periander” from an original of the fourth century BC

“Herm of Bias” copy of the second century AD from an original of the fourth century BC
Bias of Priene was an orator and poet who lived in the sixth century BC, mentioned by Plato in the list of the seven wise men
The Greek inscription on the herm was his motto: men for the most part are bad

The body is inspired by an iconography which is often found in the representations of emperors, while the name of the character represented in the not pertinent head, even though it is known from other copies, has not been identified with certainty

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