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The Muse Calliope
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The Muse Calliope

130 - 150. White marble. Ábside

This marble statue and other seven more (E000068, E000041, E000062, E000061, E000038, E000069, E000037) were unearthed in about 1500 in Hadrian´s Villa at Tivoli, where the decorated the stage of the Academy Theatre or Odeon. They were made at the end of the reign of Emperor Hadrian (c. 130 AD), by two Roman worshops, reproducing Greek models from the second century BC. In about 1670, they were acquired by Queen Cristina of Sweden (1626-1689) and exhibited in her palace in Rome. They were later acquired by Philip V and reached the Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso (Segovia) in 1725. The Muses were restored by Ercole Ferrata (1610-1686) who gave them new attributes and heads in accordance with the identification they were given at the time. Only Terpsichore was correctly identified. The muse who bears the portrait of Queen Cristina was converted into Melpomene although she was, in fact, Thalia, the muse of comedy, as is indicated by the mask of comedy which she holds; Calliope was restored for no special reason as Urania. Due to their lack of attributes, the original names of the other Muses cannot be identified. They are now on display with their Baroque period names. The Muses were the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne and originally used to sing together with beautiful voices to the Gods in Olympus or provide divine inspiration to poets and the sibyls. It was only during the first century BC that each of the Muses began to be related to a specific art. They were worshipped at the Museion of the famous library of Alexandria, from where the modern term “Museum” originates.

Technical data

Related artworks

The Muse Calliope
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Taille douce: etching and engraving on laid paper, 1719
Inventory number
The Muse Calliope
130 - 150
White marble
Height: 135 cm.; Width: 61 cm.; Base/bottom: 103 cm.; Weight: 645 Kg.
Las musas de Cristina de Suecia
Tívoli, ca. 1500; Villa Madama; Collection of Clement VII; Collection of Queen Christina of Sweden; Collection of Livio Odescalchi; Royal Collection (Felipe V's and Elizabeth of Farnesio Collection, La Granja de San Ildefonso Palace, Segovia)

Bibliography +

Ponz, Antonio, Viage de España. Vol. I, III, Joachin Ibarra, Madrid, 1774.

Ponz, Antonio, Viage de España. Vol. I, VI, Joachin Ibarra, Madrid, 1776.

Hubner, Emil, Die Antiken Bildwerke in Madrid, Druck Und Verlag Von Georg Reimer, Berlín, 1862, pp. 65.

Barrón, Eduardo, Catálogo de la escultura, Imprenta y fototipia J. Lacoste, Madrid, 1908, pp. 52, n.40.

Ricard, Robert, Marbres Antiques du Musee du Prado a Madrid, Feret & Fils, Burdeos, 1923, pp. 64.

Tormo y Monzó, Elías, Encomio de las musas de la reina Cristina de Suecia en el Museo del Prado, Boletín de la Sociedad Española de Excursiones, 44, 1936, pp. 73,88,140.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las esculturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1949, pp. 32.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de la Escultura, por A. Blanco, Madrid, 1957, pp. 56.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de la Escultura, Patronato Nacional de Museos, Madrid, 1981.

Palma Venetucci, Beatrice, Pirro Ligorio e Le Erme Tiburtine, Leonardo de Luca, Roma, 1992, pp. 15-22.

Walker, Stefanie, The sculpture Gallery of the prince Livio Odescalchi, Journal of the history of collections, VI, 1994, pp. 212.

Elvira Barba, Miguel Angel, Cristina de Suecia en el Museo del Prado, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1997, pp. 65.

Elvira Barba, Miguel Ángel, El Cuaderno de Ajello y las esculturas del Museo del Prado, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1998, pp. 90-95.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Escultura clásica : guía, Fundación Marcelino Botín; Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1999, pp. 178.

El Coleccionismo de Escultura Clasica en España. Actas del Simposio, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2001, pp. 245.

Schröder, Stephan F., Catálogo de la escultura clásica: Museo del Prado, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2004, pp. 200-227.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Enciclopedia del Museo del Prado, V, T.F. Editores: Fundación Amigos, Madrid, 2006, pp. 1604-1605.

Museo Nacional del Prado, La Guía del Prado, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2008, pp. 446.

Corona y arqueología en el Siglo de las Luces, Patrimonio Nacional, 2010, pp. 34-46,85-93.

Marani, Pietro C., Leonardiana : studi e saggi su Leonardo da Vinci, Skira, 2010, pp. XVII.

Elvira Barba, Miguel Angel, Las esculturas de Cristina de Suecia: un tesoro de la Corona de España, Real Academia de Historia, Madrid, 2011, pp. 52,76 / 162-163.

Azcue Brea, Leticia, El origen de las colecciones de escultura del Museo del Prado. El Real Museo de Pintura y Escultura, El taller europeo. Intercambios, influjos y préstamos en escultura moderna europea. I Encuentro europeo de museos con colecciones de escultura, 2012, pp. 73-108.

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, Escultura, 1857. Núm. 472.
472. Una estatua de marmol de Carrara que representa á Caliope presidiendo la poesia. / Alto 4 pies, 10 pulg.

Inscriptions +

Inscribed in black. Plinth


There are no temporary exhibitions related to this work

Location +

Ábside (On Display)

Update date: 06-10-2021 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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