A Statue of Athena

By: E. H. D.

Originally Published in 1935

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Headless statue of a Athena or Nike wearing draped garment
Plate VII — A Statue of Athena from Cyrene
Image Number: 3251

THROUGH the generosity of Mr. Raymond Pitcairn, the Museum has received as a loan a very interesting statue, somewhat under life size, of the goddess Athena. The deity is represented not as the goddess of wisdom and prudence, in calm and quiet pose, nor as the martial Athena who lends a hand in mortal conflicts to succor her heroes when hard pressed in battle, and urge them on to deeds of prowess, but rather as Athena, bringer of victory, appearing as Nike herself might do, in the hour of triumph. In fact, if it were not for the aegis which the goddess wears about her shoulders with the gorgoneion on her breast, the statue would certainly have been identified as that of Nike herself.

The goddess stands with one foot slightly advanced, as she might do the moment after alighting. Her right arm must have been raised perhaps to hold a spear, and her left arm, to judge from the very small piece preserved, was extended outward. She is clad in a single garment with deep overfold, tied in at the waist with a girdle; its folds are blown out behind her in the wind, from the motion of her coming, and must have extended originally much further than at present, for dowel-holes show that a separate piece of marble was attached to represent the end of her drapery. The artist has succeeded admirably in giving to the rounded folds beneath the arm the feeling of heaviness. The smaller wrinkles and ripples of the garment are rendered by crinkly lines.

The statue was purchased in Constantinople and was reported to have been found at Cyrene. This bears out the stylistic evidence that the workmanship is Roman, but the prototype from which the statue is derived may well go back to the end of the fifth century, B.C.

E. H. D.

Cite This Article

D., E. H.. "A Statue of Athena." Museum Bulletin V, no. 6 (April, 1935): 76-78. Accessed July 15, 2024. https://www.penn.museum/sites/bulletin/1585/

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