Statue of Jupiter

UnknownAncient Rome. End of 1st century

The State Hermitage Museum

The State Hermitage Museum
St. Petersburg, Russia

The Statue of Jupiter is by a Roman Flavian sculptor. The composition and manner of execution of the statue, as well as its character generally are reminiscent of the renowned Classical period Zeus by Phidias, made for the Temple of Zeus at Olympia. The statue has not come down to our day, but in Antiquity it was listed among the Seven Wonders of the World. As St. John Chrysostom (345? – 407), the Patriarch of Constantinople put it, “He who stands before this image will forget everything that torments and disturbs human life.” The statue of Olympian Zeus was overlaid with gold and ivory. In imitation of this, so called chryselephantine technique, the Roman sculptor used marble, gilded wood and stucco for his Jupiter. The statue has features typical of Flavian art, such as pompousness, emotion, and dynamism. The Flavian period (69 – 96 A.D.) was the peak of Rome as an empire, characterized by the stabilization of monarchy, which was recognized de facto by the Senate. The latter then became accessible to persons of Italic and even provincial extraction, especially Spanish. In 1861, a huge Statue of Jupiter was brought to St. Petersburg from Italy. When the construction of the building was still in progress, it was installed on a special pedestal, never to leave the Room thereafter. The statue is unique both from the point of view of its dimensions and its artistic qualities. The Hermitage Jupiter is one of the largest sculptures of Classical Antiquity preserved in the museums of the world. Its height is 3.5 m; it weighs not less than 16 tons. The statue was discovered during the excavation carried out by Thomas Jenkins at Domitian’s villa in today’s Castelgandolfo, near Lake Albano. It was then bought by the well-known Italian collector Marquise Gian-Pietro Campana (1807 – 80), who later on, fell the victim of his collecting passion: he was charged with embezzlement and condemned to banishment; his collection was sold at an auction. One part of it was acquired by the Louvre, the other by the Imperial Hermitage. The State Hermitage Museum, St.Petersburg. Photo by Vladimir Terebenin.


  • Title: Statue of Jupiter
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: Ancient Rome. End of 1st century
  • Provenance: Collection of the Marchese di Cavelli, Giampetro Campana, Rome. 1862
  • Physical Dimensions: h3470 mm
  • Original Title: Статуя Юпитера
  • Type: Statue
  • Medium: Marble, bronzed plaster.

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