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image M438

Torso of a seated muse-type figure

Height: 65cm, maximum

Museum number: M438

Vermeule catalogue number: Vermeule 370help-vermeule-catalogue-number

Curatorial note

A female figure in a long, high-girt chiton and himation wrapped about the lower limbs, shoulders, and left arm, is seated facing towards the right on a rock. Her upper body was twisted about to the right as if her gaze was directed upwards in that direction. The position of the body indicates that the right arm was lowered and, from the dowels and grooves remaining in the marble, probably held an attribute which was fitted separately to the body. Although damaged and weathered the quality of the cutting is extremely good, and the liveliness of the drapery suggests we are dealing with a Hellenistic work, in refreshing contrast to the kindred lifeless figures, in heavily restored condition, in the Vatican Museums, Rome1 and the Prado, Madrid2.

The arrangement of this figure is not unlike that of the 'Talia' from Hadrian's Villa3 , which is more frontally placed and without the pronounced turning of the body, but the movement and studied freedom of the drapery suggest the Muses of the Apotheosis of Homer relief in the British Museum (see Soane casts S20 and A91), particularly the figure of Euterpè.4

1 Lippold, VC, III, 1, pl.4, especially no.508.
2 Einzelaufnahmen, VI, no.1556-1568.
3 idem, no. 1568.
4 Smith, Cat., III, no.2191, fig. 30; Marbles and Bronzes, pl.42.

Provenance help-art-provenance

Probably purchased by John Soane at the Robert Adam Sale (Christie's), 22 May 1818, Lot 94 'Figure of a Muse, mutilated and a small cinerary urn £3.3s.


If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk