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Bronze statue of a young woman


Height: 95.000 cm

Bequeathed by Viscount Astor

GR 1920.6-12.1

Room 71: Etruscan world

    Bronze statue of a young woman

    Etrusco-Latin, 200-100 BC
    Said to be from Nemi, a sanctuary of Diana in the Alban Hills, Italy

    An elegant priestess or follower of Diana?

    This half life-sized bronze figure is said to have been found with a number of smaller male and female statuettes near the Sanctuary of Diana on the shores of Lake Nemi; Nemi lies among the Alban hills in Latium (Lazio), about 25 kilometres south-east of Rome. The Sanctuary of Diana at Nemi was famous in antiquity and the remains of a Roman temple and offerings dating from around 700 BC to the Roman Imperial period have been found there. The figures from the sanctuary are thought to be representations of priests and priestesses of Diana, as some are shown pouring libations. They are typical of a type of votive statuette found in Etruria and Latium between the third and first centuries BC.

    This figure was put together from nine separately made pieces. This was not an unusual practice in antiquity since it was easier to cast small sections of bronze and solder them together rather than cast a complete figure.

    The young woman wears a Hellenistic chiton with a high belt and cloak draped around her; she has a torque round her neck and a bracelet on each wrist. Her slim, willowy build is typical of the figures of the Hellenistic period. An alternative identification has suggested that she may be a spinner holding a spindle and distaff.

    O. Brendel, Etruscan art, Pelican History of Art (Yale University Press, 1995)

    E. Macnamara, The Etruscans-1 (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)

    S. Haynes, Etruscan bronzes (London, Sotheby's Publications, 1985)


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