Statue of a Woman



Portrait of a woman restored on an ancient statue. The head does not belong to the body. The hair is parted in the middle and combed straight across the head before falling into 6 crimped waves. At the back of the hair there are four separate plaits and pinned up together at the back to form a bun ( of the type called Scheitelzopf ) covering most of the hair. There are small wispy curls around the hairline and they continue in longer locks around the ears and behind the ears on the neck. She has a high and rounded forehead, long but flat cheeks and a small mouth with thin parted lips. The body is clad in a chiton with a high belt and large mantle and is a Roman version of probably a Hellenistic type. The small sphere she holds and the stylus are restorations characterising her as the Muse Urania but they are unjustifiable. Urania was the muse of astronomy and was really popular in Renaissance as well as in 18th restorations of ancient sculptures, probably because Urania and Calliope the two muses were according to Plato the olderst and most venerable of the muses. The statue has several restorations, including to the hair, arms, eyes, cheeks and chin. Purchased from the Villa Mattei Collection by Henry Blundell on his first trip to Italy in 1777. Blundell bought the statue from the Villa d'Este through the Mattei Collection and it may have originated from Hadrian's Villa.