Statuette of Artemis Ephesia
Artemis, the ancient goddess of animals, nature, fecundity, and ruler of the cosmos, was honored in the city of Ephesus, which held one of the most important cults of the goddess. The ritual was so ancient as to be attributed to the Amazons. The statuette is part of a group of numerous Roman copies of the original, a cult statue of the Ephesian temple. The multiple functions of the goddess are shown in the ornament of the surcoat. Around the neck, a wreath of flowers and a necklace of acorns frame a scene of winged Victories in relief. Below, a series of numerous breasts evoke the role of Artemis as the goddess of fertility, while the presence on the dress of animals such as deer, griffins, dogs, lions, cattle and horses, and others on her arms, recall her role as goddess of animals. We know this iconography of Artemis from Hellenism, thanks to I-II century BC coins and from Augustan period coins.
In the Giustiniani Collection the statuette was identified as Mother Nature and was placed on a base decorated with animals.
Inventory: MT 483
Material: Body in white marble; head, neck and hands in various qualities of black marble
Technique: Work sculpted through the use of: chisels (also square-tipped and toothed) rasps
Dating: Imperial age
Origin: Giustiniani Collection