3rd- 1st Century B.C
‘Gallatin’ Head of Artemis
This beautiful marble portrait is the Hellenistic depiction of the Greek goddess Artemis (whose Roman equivalent was Diana). She was the goddess of the wild, nature, hunting, chastity and in time, childbirth; and was the twin sister of Apollo, who was associated with art, poetry, love and the sun. The story of her birth recounts how at only a few days old, she helped her mother Leto deliver her twin brother. Her ancient cult remained incredibly popular, with many statues being created in dedication to her in various temples around the ancient world.
This delicate marble head has been elegantly and naturalistically carved from a superior quality white marble, which possesses an almost translucent appearance. Depicted with thick curls tied back into a low bun, soft features and a knowing gaze – it is one of the most iconic images of the ancient world. Bust portraits such as this were commonly used as small devotional aides, and it would have likely filled a niche in a house or place of worship.
Fogg Museum of Art, Boston, Ancient Art, 1954-1955.
Margaret Bieber, Arndt-Amelung, Bruckmann, Munich, 1938, no. 4491.
Fogg Museum of Art, Boston, Ancient Art, 1954-1955, no. 163.
With Azeez Khayat, New York, since at least 1913.
Subsequently in the Collection of Albert Gallatin (1880-1965) acquired from the above in November 1913.
This head was shown to Professor Beazley in 1946.
Thence by descent to his son Mr James Gallatin in 1965.