Statue of a Muse

Unknownabout A.D. 200

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

This young woman wears a long robe, and her lower body is wrapped in a mantle with one end rolled and drawn up over her shoulder. She represents a Muse, one of the goddesses of learning and the arts. The statue was part of a group of Muses and other deities that probably decorated a building devoted to the cult of the Roman emperor. Traces of paint on the hair, eyes, and lips show that the statue was originally brightly painted. The statue's roughly finished back indicates that it probably stood in a niche.

Which of the nine Muses does this statue represent? In Roman art, the individual Muses were originally identified by the attributes they held. In this case, however, the arms of the statue and any attributes she held are gone. Yet, because Roman sculptors commonly produced numerous replicas of popular statues, badly damaged works can often be identified. Scholars have conventionally interpreted statues that match this one in details of clothing and stance as Klio, the Muse of history.


  • Title: Statue of a Muse
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: about A.D. 200
  • Location Created: Roman Empire
  • Physical Dimensions: 91.5 cm (36 in.)
  • Type: Female figure
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Marble with polychromy
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 71.AA.461
  • Culture: Roman
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California
  • Creator Display Name: Unknown
  • Classification: Sculpture (Visual Works)

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