“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” -Pablo Picasso
It’s been a while since I’ve written about the Louvre, so I thought I submerge myself into some great works of art. This time, I’m gonna be talking about Athena of Velletri (aka Velletri Pallas).
This piece is a classical marble statue that can be found in the Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities collection. (Visit the Louvre website for more information and maps to plan your trip!)
The statue is known as Athena of Velletri because it was found in the town of Velletri* in the 18th century (1797 to be exact). Pretty straightforward. It is a giant sculpture, standing at least 3m in height. It kind of looms over you as you view it and (in my opinion) was slightly intimidating.
The statue is a Roman copy of a lost Greek, (maybe) bronze statue by Kresilas- a Greek sculptor for the Classical period. It’s interesting how there are many copies of the original Greek statue there are, and how the town of Velletri has become almost synonymous with these styles of copies. Ok, maybe it’s just interesting to me.
There were actually many copies of this sculpture found, and plaster casts have been discovered that match the dimensions of the sculpture at the Louvre, which suggests that these may have been mass produced. It’s strange to think about how sculptures could be mass produced, but I guess commercialization happens everywhere and anywhere.
The face in the sculpture is very similar to that of the Bust of Pericles. Both sculptures feature sharp brow bones and noses, as well as a helmet. Okay so it doesn’t sound like much, but they are similar if you look at pictures of the two side by side.
The picture that I took really doesn’t capture the sheet magnitude of this work of art, and I’m 100% sure that there are better pictures on the internet, so I would definitely suggest checking out some better pictures (or more information- I find the Louvre website is a great source!)
*Some background on Velletri: it is a small Italian town in the metropolitan city of Rome. To anyone whose familiar with Canadian geography, it’s kind of like how the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) includes several major cities like Brampton, Mississauga, Markham, Oakville, etc… (sorry for the painfully Canadian reference there, it was the first thing I thought of analogy wise).
As always, happy and safe travels.