Female statue, Hygeia

Inv. Scu 1099

It depicts a standing female figure. Its head has been reattached to the body by means of a restoration that distorts the real torsion.

Her weight is resting on the left foot, next to which there is a box or parchment. Her right knee is bent, pulling the corresponding leg backwards.

She is wrapped in a cloak (pallium) draped around her body that leaves her right shoulder and breast bare. The drapery is treated with grace and could derived from a 4th century BC original.

Her hair is gathered simply behind, combed with a central partition and held by a ribbon. Her arms are bent at the elbows and her hands extended in front of the body, holding one or more attributes. She is wearing laced sandals.

A lock of hair, instead of part of the ribbon, was erroneously restored above the left ear. The inexpert restoration of the nose, lastly, partially compromises the charm and grace of the face.

The work was restored as the Muse Urania, but this type of intervention is not convincing. An alternative restoration proposed a lyre or plectrum as an attribute. Lastly, identification with Hygeia has been put forward on the basis of the comparison with a reduced scale replica in the Louvre that has the remains of the coils of a snake.

The sculpture is a good Augustan period (27 BC – 14 AD) copy, found near Villa Caserta on the Esquiline Hill.