Updated: Jun 7, 2022
Visiting the Musei Capitolini these days is a joy. Although reservations are necessary, the number of visitors is markedly reduced. One has the opportunity to linger over individual pieces without other.
One piece that deserves a longer consideration is this fragmentary terracotta sculpture. Attributed to Greek or Magna Grecia artists, the polychrome free-standing sculpture dates to the early 5th century BC. The reclining figure is probably an Amazon as indicated by her white flesh (in ancient Greco-Roman art, men are brown and woman are white). The reconstruction shows a warrior who has pierced her side with his spear. Red blood spouts from the wound in a web-like pattern. If her head were to have survived we can expect that she would have been depicted with a calm expression in Classical style. The group was probably a central acroterion on a temple on the Esquiline hill. The mythological battles of Greeks and Amazons were used to represent the historical war between the Greek and the Persians. Amazons were appropriate as a jab at the Persians who were satirised as feminised.