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This is the follow up to an earlier post of mine called “Art of Ancient Greece,” this post is of my individual museum catalog entry about the Marble Statue of Artemis from the Museum of Constantinople.

Marble Statue of Artemis from the Museum of Constantinople

Marble Statue of Artemis

Tchinly-Kiosk, Museum of Constantinople

Height: 1.07m

Marble

Greco-Roman; maybe early Roman Empire; reproduction of a 4th century statue

In the Greek mythology, Artemis is the Goddess of the Hunt, is associated with childbirth, and is sometimes called the Goddess of the Moon like her twin, Apollo, is considered the God of the Sun. Artemis was a virgin goddess, and is usually represented with animals or with a bow and arrow.  Not a whole lot is known about the exact date and artist who created this piece of work. It’s possible that this could be a reproduction of a lost Greek work, or this could be just an original piece of art influenced by Greek culture.

In the image of the Marble Statue of Artemis, we have neither animals of a bow and arrow represented. The statue is not life-size with the proportions less that anatomically correct. However, “the elegant arrangement of the drapery, the shortness of the chiton [, an ancient Greek tunic worn by both sexes], …, and perhaps still more the attitude and expression of the face, clearly recall the ideal of the virgin-goddess in ancient sculpture.”[1](pg 321) The sculpture was probably painted but during a stay in the “Turkish Museum, the marble has been brutally cleaned and scraped.” 1 (pg 320) She is resting against a pillar on her right side with her left hand resting on her hip. Her right hand is missing, and on her left hand she is missing her thumb.  Wrapped around the top of each of her arms by her shoulders are bracelet type things, sometimes called armillaes, “each of them consisting of a double spiral imitating the coils of a serpent, the head and tail of which emerge from above and beneath the bracelet. This, as has been observed, is a very ancient type of ornament, and was so common in Greek jewelry that the very names of serpents, …, came to be synonymous with bracelets.” 1 (pg 321) The armbands were represented on statues because they were also popular for people to wear in their daily life, “Spiral armbands were worn as early as the fifth century B.C., but they were evidently fashionable for many centuries…. Little staples, were attached to the wearer’s dress at the shoulder to prevent the armbands from slipping down to the elbow.” [2] (pg 279-280)   1, 2.

It’s when you reach the feet of this statue, that the question of whether this is an original or copy really begins. The Greek typically portrayed their Gods barefoot to show their divinity, and the feet in the Marble Statue of Artemis is shown with boot-like sandals, which provides evidence that this statue might be a reproduction of a Greek original reproduced by Romans. Or this statue is influenced from an older Greek statue of Artemis but might be a Roman original. Romans created a way of using vegetable tanning so that the “vegetable extracts gives a chemically stable product, resistant to bacterial decay, which survives well in damp, anaerobic conditions…. Shoemaking is equally affected by Roman practices, with the appearance of a variety of distinctive footwear styles which are technologically and stylistically unrelated to earlier, native types. The most obvious introductions are hobnailed shoes and sandals, but even the single-piece shoes (carbatinae) which are technologically similar to pre-Roman native footwear are totally different in concept.”[3] (pg 185) 3

Other things that suggest that this statue is a Roman creation from Greek influence or a copy of an older Greek statue, is how the statue is not life-size because Greek were careful with the proportions of their statues, and especially with statues of Gods. This suggests an early Roman remake or creation influenced by Greece because maybe this was before Romans had gained more skills and technique with proportions. The figure of the Greek Goddess is obviously influenced from Greek mythology. If this is an early Roman Empire statue, this shows how Greece influenced Roman religions and myths creating their own concepts of the myths and religion and ultimately creating their own culture. 

The position of the body also suggests that this is a influenced work or a copy because “no other specimen of her image with the left hand resting and the right leg crossed over the left one, in an attitude which is usually given to the youthful figures of Apollon, Dionysos and the Satyrs. Indeed, is we recollect that the most celebrated type of resting Satyr is undoubtedly due to Praxiteles, and, moreover, that the same great artist is the author of no less than six statues of Artemis,”1 (pg 321) that it is believable that the Marble Statue of Artemis could very likely be a copy of a work by Praxiteles or a Greco-Roman original that was just influenced by Praxiteles and his statues of Artemis. The calm, serene, almost dreamy expression of the Marble Statue of Artemis is associated with “Diane de Gabies in the Louvre, one of the most attractive works of ancient art, is a copy from the Artemis sculptured by Praxiteles for the shrine of Artemis Brauronia in Athens”1 (pg 322) because of the expression of serenity and portrayal of Artemis as a youth is linked to “’the elder Praxiteles’ as the artist of the younger image of Artemis Brauronia.”[4] (pg 372)The Marble Statue of Artemis is closest to a representation of Artemis Brauronia than Artemis Ephesia, who is paid homage to for fertility and is represented as more feminine. Artemis Brauronia is represented with a mixture of feminine and masculine styling, or the Amazon-style Artemis, like the Marble Statue of Artemis. The Marble Statue of Artemis, this Greco-Roman sculptures type is believed to have “originated at the epoch of Praxiteles”1 (pg 323) and that this sculpture was probably influenced by “some master-piece of the fourth century which has long been converted into lime.”1 (pg 323) 1, 4.


[1]Salomon Reinach. Marble Statue of Artemis in the Museum at Constantinople.

The American Journal of Archaeology and of the History of the Fine Arts, Vol. 1, No. 4 (Oct., 1885), pp. 319-323. Published by: Archaeological Institute of America. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/496414. Pages used: 320,321, 322,323 

 

 

[2] Andrew Oliver, Jr.. Greek, Roman, and Etruscan Jewelry. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, New Series, Vol. 24, No. 9 (May, 1966), pp. 269-284. Published by: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3258219. Pages used: 279, 280 

[3] Carol van Driel-Murray. Vindolanda and the Dating of Roman Footwear. Britannia, Vol. 32, (2001), pp. 185-197. Published by: Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/526955. Pages used: 185

 

 

[4] John Pickard. The Artemis Brauronia of Praxiteles. American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 2, No. 5 (Sep. – Oct., 1898), pp. 367-372. Published by: Archaeological Institute of America. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/496591. Pages used: 372

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