Wednesday, July 12, 2023



'DIANA  OF  GABII'  IN LOUVRE  MUSEUM ,PARIS....( housed in room no 348,Sully  Wing, Level 0, Louvre Museum , Paris )

This is another ancient  Greek sculpture that attracts crowds in the  Louvre Museum ,Paris.  We also  saw this 4th century BC  masterpiece  during our visit to the  Louvre Museum .It is a  marble statue depicting a woman wrapped in a drapery and  most likely the statue represents the Greek  goddess Artemis. Artemis  or Diana was the goddess of  hunt associated with animal creatures and forests. She is often represented as a young woman, with her hair gathered behind her head, wearing light and short robe.

This  sculpture  is attributed to  well known Greek sculptor Praxiteles.Furthermore the head  of Diana of Gabi resembles that of the Aphrodite of Cnidus and the Apollo Sauroctonos which are  also attributed to Praxiteles.The Greek sculptor Praxiteles (c. 400 BC–330 BC) was wealthy and well-documented in literary sources in comparison with his contemporaries, giving valuable insight into the status of great artists in Classical Athens. His statues were particularly admired by the Romans and many were removed to Rome. His female statues depict tall  and graceful women . It is believed that Praxiteles created this statue of  for the Athenian Acropolis.The  Temple inventories dating from 347/6 BC mention among other things, a "dedicated statue", described as representing the goddess in a chitoniskos. And scholars believe that this is the statue mentioned the ancient inventories.

The statue was discovered in 1792 by Gavin Hamilton on the property of the Prince Borghese at Gabii, not far from Rome.  It was immediately added to the prince's collections. In 1807, due to financial difficulties, the Prince sold some artefacts and sculptures to Napoleon Bonaparte which  included this statue as well.  Napoleon brought it to Paris and housed it inside the Louvre Museum  where it has been on display since 1820 .

The statue represents a tall young woman standing in drapery. The weight of her body rests on her right leg, supported by a tree stump. Her left leg is left free. The left foot is thrown back and the heel slightly raised with the toes turned outward.The statue represents Artemis, the virgin goddess of hunting and the wild. Her clothing helps us  in her identification . She wears what is effectively a short chiton with large sleeves, typical of the Greek  goddess. The chiton is bound by two belts: one is visible around her waist, the other is hidden, allowing a portion of the fabric to be gathered, shortening the chiton and exposing the knees. The goddess is represented in the process of pinning her cloak on: her right hand holds a fibula and lifts a fold of her clothing on her right shoulder while her left hand lifts another fold of cloth up to chest level. The movement causes the collar of the chiton to fall, leaving the left shoulder exposed.The head is turned slightly to the right, but the goddess is not really focussed on what she is doing. Instead she looks out into space, as is common for statues of the Second Classicism. Her flowing hair is pulled back by a band tied above her neck. This hair is gathered in a bun held by a second ribbon which is not visible.

( Avtar Mota )

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