If this monumental second-century Roman statue could speak, she would tell of travels from a theatre in ancient Rome to the gardens of an Italian prince’s villa-and then across the Atlantic to a suburban garden, where she endured for a century before finding a home at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Although standing 13 feet tall and weighing some 13,000 pounds, this colossal statue has a long history of hiding in plain sight. Now, stylistic evaluation, historical research, and technical examination have revealed connections with five other “sister” statues, all carved of Carrara marble, that were part of an Augustan renewal of Rome. Despite losing her head (and gaining a new one), and suffering damage and repairs, she has continued to be admired throughout two millennia. As the largest classical sculpture in North America, newly restored and protected from the elements at last, she has just begun to share her secrets.