About this object

Statue of Athena. The head did not belong to the body. She wears a Corinthian helmet similar to the Ince Athena 59.148.8
The restoration was directed by the sculptor Antonio Canova. The statue has extensive recutting, the neck was shortened and is squashed onto the figure. Athena wears a peplos that reveals her feminine features. The weight of the statue is on the right straight leg with the left leg, bent at the knee and the shifting to the side. Her body is accentuated by many curves and her pose is light and fluid. The costume is not that symmetrical: there is an inverted V overfold at the hem and there is a short mantle hanging over the left shoulder , the peplos folds above the waist girdle are also assymetrical and this could be the result of extensive recutting. The aegis animates the figure and is worn across the torso, creating a diagonal line. When comparing the back and the front of the aegis there are certain differences and this indicates that the front was recut. Bartman noted that Athena statues who wear the aegis diagonally are attested from the 5th century BC, the style famous from Lemnia Athena and the bronze Piraeus Athena. The large shield was not part of the original statue who had a different object to her side.The Gorgon's head on the shield is gruesome and is carved in an 18th century style, possibly by Carlo Albacini.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
    Roman Imperial
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date made
    1st Century AD - 2nd Century AD
  • Materials
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of Col. Joseph W Weld, 1959
  • Collector
    Henry Blundell
  • Place collected
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy: Rome
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    2080 mm x 650 mm x 600 mm x 573.5 kg
  • Note
    A diverse and complex provenance, Blundell referred to it in his Account and believed that the statue came the Negroni collection and originally belonged to Pope Sixtus V. In an appendix by John Thorpe and referred by Blundell, the provenance of the head and the torso is recorded as different: the head was found in Portico Sante Croce in Rome and was bought by Bartolomeo Cavaceppi while the torso was found in a garden behind the church of Santa Susanna and was bought from Carlo Albacini. Ashmole associated the head with the Athena Gustiniani but Bartman considered the Corinthian helmet as evidence of a classical 5th century feature, emphasising regularity and lack of emotion. Bartman compared it with Athena statue at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens and considered both to be works of a Roman workshop.
  • Related people
    Henry Blundell ( Collector, previous owner); Joseph William Weld ( Previous owner)

Explore related


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    Publisher: Liverpool University Press
    Date: 2017
    Description: This book investigates the important antiquities collection formed by Henry Blundell of Ince Blundell Hall, near Liverpool, in the late eighteenth century. Consisting of more than 500 ancient marbles - the UK's largest collection of Roman sculptures after that of the British Museum - the collection was assembled primarily in Italy during Blundell's various 'Grant Tour' visits. As ancient statues were the preeminent souvenir of the Grand Tour, Blundell has strong competition from other collectors, British nobility and European aristocrats, monarchs, and the Pope. His statues represent a typical cross section of sculptures that would have decorated ancient Roman houses, villas, public spaces and even tombs, although their precise origins are largely unknown. Most are likely to have come from Rome and at least one was found at Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli.


Previous owners

  • Joseph William Weld

    Owned from: 1958
    How acquired: By descent
    Owned until: 1959
    Disposal method: Donation
  • Henry Blundell

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Purchased
    Owned until: 1810
    Disposal method: Bequest
Object view = Humanities
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