A lead sculpture, representing Vertumnus and Pomona. Pomona has flowers in her hair and is depicted sitting with a basket of fruit in her lap. Vertumnus, standing, places his right hand on the woman’s shoulder, while his left hand holds a mask. Next to Pomona is a flying cupid.
Pomona was the Roman nymph of fruit (poma), who had a sacred wood, the Pomonal. Vertumnus was a god of probably Etruscan origin, who had the power to transform himself into as many forms as he wished. Ovid describes his love affair with Pomona and, according to legend, Vertumnus wore the mask of an old woman to conquer her. Both Vertumnus and Pomona were linked to vegetation, to the changing of the seasons and the fertility of the soil. The presence of a cupid (a winged boy armed with a bow and arrow), the personification of universal desire and the intermediary in human and divine matters of the heart, evokes the love affair between Vertumnus and Pomona.