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A young woman dressed in a belted peplos is running towards the right while she looks back. The strange proportions of the running girl’s legs, long straight thighs, and short shins, shows that she was placed in a high position, and the flatness of the figure, all movement going from side to side, shows that she belonged in a temple pediment. The story of the slaying of the Niobids was popular in Classical Greek art. Niobe, a mortal woman who had six sons and six daughters, boasted of this fact to Leto, who had but one daughter, Artemis, and one son, Apollo. They were, however, divine, and revenging their mother they killed all Niobe’s children, shooting them with bows and arrows. The many dead and dying young boys and girls gave the artists a unique opportunity of represent-ing the human body in different poses. The slaying of the Niobids would fit well into a temple pediment, but the story demands the presence of the avenging deities. The dying Niobid in the Glyptotek belonged to the same pediment as the running girl, and the Niobid in the Museo delle Terme in Rome, the first naked woman in Greek Classical art, who is hit by an arrow in a similar way. The Italian archaeologist E. La Rocca has collected a group of fragmented statues found during the hasty excavations of the temple of Apollo Sosianus in Rome, made in 1937- 40 and never before considered as a whole. He has reconstructed a temple pediment showing the battle of Greeks and Amazones as it was arranged in the temple built by Gaius Sosius. The original setting for the pediment, according to La Rocca, was the temple of Apollo in Eretria in Greece. The Niobids are very close in material, size and style to the Amazones, and it is unanimously believed that they were originally placed in the same temple as the Amazones, though this was not necessarily in Eretria. The statues of the two pediments would then have been brought to Rome at the time of Augustus, or earlier, and the Amazone pediment, which could be seen as a political statement of Augustus’ (Theseus’) victory over Cleopatra (Amazone queen) was reused in the temple of Apollo, whereas the Niobids were less suited to a political programme and were there-fore exhibited as works of art in the sculpture park of the Sallustian Gardens in Rome.

Details

  • Title: Running Niobid
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: -0440
  • Physical Dimensions: h140 cm
  • Type: Statue. Marble

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