MARBLE HEAD OF A MUSE
This fine female portrait head is sculpted from a translucent warm white marble, possibly Parrian marble which would have been quarried from the Greek island of Paros in the Aegean Sea. Turned slightly to her right, the arches for the brows and the nose on the same plane of the forehead, the heavy lidded almond eyes, plump lips and the absence of the use of the drill are all stylistic features which help to ascribe this head to the artistic production of the late Hellenistic period in Greece. Her hair is parted at the centre, pulled back into a low chignon, and surmounted by a laurel wreath. The head may come from a statuette of a Muse, one of the nine female figures that personified the arts. In particular it appears to be close to a group of female heads, which according to Pliny (cf. Nat. Hist. 36, 34 ff.) had been created on the island of Rhodes by the sculptor called Philiscos and then shipped to Rome to adorn the temple of Apollo Sosanio.
Previously in the Private Collection of Leon Rodriguez-Ely (1924-1973), Marseille, acquired in the 1950’s. (French Cultural Passport 163436)