This month’s sculpture from Hadrian’s Villa is a marble head of a female divinity, probably Persephone, the daughter of Demeter and queen of the underworld.
The head is closely related to the head of Persephone which is on display in the Museo Barracco in Rome (the Barracco-Budapest type female head, Inv. MB 85), and to the statue of Persephone recently excavated at Rione Terra near Naples and now in the Castello Aragonese in Baia (Kore-Persephone). Another marble head of Persephone from the Hadrianic era was put up for auction at Sotheby’s in 2013.
The head was probably part of a larger than life-size statue inspired by a Greek work in the Severe style of the 5th century BC. It was found in 1927 inside the cryptoporticus near the nymphaeum.