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Decorative tondo panel depicting the Goddess Diana with a hound

Coarse-grained Greek island marble

Height: 43.5cm
Width: 42cm
Diameter (tondo, within inner border): 34cm

Museum number: M647

Vermeule catalogue number: Vermeule 281help-vermeule-catalogue-number

Curatorial note

Within a tondo surrounded by a double moulding of which the inner is a raised fillet, the goddess of hunting Diana stands facing forward in traditional huntress garb - short, high-girt chiton and boots. She draws an arrow from the quiver protruding over her right shoulder with her right hand and holds a bow with volute ends at her side in her left hand. By her right foot stands a hound, body toward the left, head turned back and up toward the goddess.

The Diana, perhaps with portrait features, represented here, belongs to one of the two types of the goddess in the athletic garb of a huntress which passed from Hellenistic into Roman art where they became extremely popular in all media. This type is the stationary Diana; the other, running Diana in low tondo relief, is illustrated by two examples in the Museo delle Terme, Rome1. In discussing a Capitoline statue2, the cataloguers note that several statues of Artemis in the garb of huntress both at 'vigilant' rest and in movement survive scattered throughout a number of museums. The best known example in motion is the 'Diana of Versailles' in the Louvre3.

Other closely allied statues are to be found (in motion) in Naples4 and Rome5 and (in repose) in the Museo del Terme, Rome (from 19th century excavations on the Capitoline Hill for the Victor Emanuel monument)6 and at the Villa Borghese7. Another statuette in the Capitoline Museum8 is a second-rate Roman copy of the statue-type in repose and closely akin in this respect to our relief figure; the statue in the Braccio Nuovo gallery (in the Chiaramonti Museum in the Vatican), discussed by Amelung more for its alien Skopasian head9, is heavily restored, whereas the statue of a young lady as Diana from Ostia and in the Museo Nazionale Romano, shows a fresh and unrestored early Imperial adaptation of the stationary Diana type10. Other immediate statuary forerunners of the figure in this relief are the figure in the Museo Torlonia, Rome11, the charming little statue on the left gatepost of 42-44 Via Lombardia (Prince Ludovisi's Villa Aurora) in Rome, and the late Antonine lady as Diana in the Louvre.

The prototype undoubtedly was the fourth Century BC 'Artemis of Antikyra', which we know from the writings of Pausanias12 and coins of Antikyra13 and which is attributed to Praxiteles uncle or nephew. She "holds a torch in the right hand and a quiver hangs from the shoulder; beside it on the left is a dog".14 Although there are too many variations for this figure to be more than the general prototype for the moving and stationary Diana types, Dr. Richter observes that the 'Artemis of Versailles' model owes its Hellenistic conception of Artemis as a charming girl to connection with such a statue as the work of Praxiteles. The stationary Diana as surviving in Roman works has enough variants within itself to indicate that the type was transmitted in modification and adaptation rather more than in general copies: for example, a standing statue in Ostia15, the head of which once possessed inlaid eyes, represents a common but closely related variant in that the right arm was lowered, not raised to draw an arrow from the quiver on the shoulder.

From Italian art centres the standing huntress in statuary and reliefs alike followed a number of familiar Graeco-Roman cult and purely artistic types into the vocabulary of Roman provincial, particularly Western provincial, production.16 The stationary Diana, along with the 'Artemis of Versailles' type, appears in a number of monuments produced and found in Roman Gaul and Germany; an excellent example in relief, on a votive altar or cippus, is in Saverne (in German, Zabern) in Alsace.17 In a relief block in Stuttgart18 the 'vigilant' Diana stands with three other Roman divinities, Apollo, Silvanus, and the Genius Populi Romani and a genre variation occurs in that the hound is behind her and appears to be sniffing at a rabbit.

1 German Institute, Rome, Photos 34. 1704 A, B.
2 The British School at Rome, Catalogue of ancient sculptures preserved in the municipal collections of Rome: The sculptures of the Museo Capitolino, H.S. Jones, Oxford, 1912, p. 44f., no. 52, pl. 6.
3 A. Furtwangler and H.L. Urlichs, Denkmaler griechischer und romischer Skulptur, Munich, 1911, pl. 420.
4 S. Reinach, Répertoire de la Statuaire Grecque e Romaine, I, Clarac de Poche, Paris, 1897, p. 306, no. 570B, 1224 B.
5 S. Reinach, Répertoire de la Statuaire Grecque e Romaine, I, Paris, 1897, p. 306, no. 570A, 1224 A.
6 No. 161, Corpus Inscriptiorum Latinarum, 6, 31702
7 No. CXXIX [?Borghese Collection number]
8 The British School at Rome, Catalogue of ancient sculptures preserved in the municipal collections of Rome: The sculptures of the Museo Capitolino,ed. H.S. Jones, 2 vols, Oxford, 1912, p. 328, no. 24, pl. 82.
9 V.C. Amelung, Die Skulpturen des Vaticanischen Museums, Berlin, 1903-08, Vol. I, p. 123f., no. 108, plates. XV, XXI.
10 S. Aurigemma, Le Terme di Diocleziano e il Museo Nazionale Romano, p. 92, no. 237, pl. LVI.
11 P.E. Visconti, Catalogo del Museo Torlonia di Sculture Antiche (Album of Plates), p. 23, no. 48, pl. XII.
12 Pausanias, Description of Greece, X.37.1.
13 Imhoof, Blumer and Gardner, Numismatic Commentary on Pausanias, pl. Y, no. XVII, pp. 124ff.; G.M.A. Richter, The Sculpture and Sculptors of the Greeks, New Haven, 1929, pp. 264, 268, fig. 677.
14 Compare the bronze statuette found in Portugal, see Anzeiger (Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archaologischen Instituts.), 1928, cols. 119f., fig. 2.
15 R. Calza, Museo Ostiense, p.19, no. 84, pl. 47. For further studies, see Charbonneuax, Mon. Piot., 1930, pp. 14ff., and for recent publication of an example close to the torso in the Braccio Nuovo see P. Lévêque, in Les Antiquites du Musée de Mariemont, Bruxelles, 1952, p. 71f., G.16, pl. 24.
16 S. Reinach, Répertoire de la Statuaire Grecque e Romaine, II-VI, Paris, ii, p. 314, reproduces a number of small bronzes of the figure, found at Herculaneum and in the North-eastern and the Western Roman provinces.
17 Germania Romana, pl. 54, no. 4; compare also the statuette, no. 3, and the Diana in motion, no.1.
18 S. Reinach, Répertoire de Reliefs Grecs et Romains, Paris 1909-12, II, p. 85, no. 5.

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