Art and sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa: Marble head of Hypnos

This month’s sculpture from Hadrian’s Villa is a marble head of Hypnos, the Greek god of Sleep.

Marble head of Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep, 117-138 AD, Hadrian's Villa Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Marble head of Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep, 117-138 AD, Hadrian’s Villa
Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Hypnos is represented as a young man with wings attached to his temples (now lost). The head must have been part of a full length statue showing Hypnos running forwards, holding in his hands poppies and a vessel from which he presumably poured a sleeping potion. One of the most complete representations of Hypnos is a bronze statuette from the collection of the National Archaeological Museum of Florence (see an image here).

Marble head of Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep, 117-138 AD, Hadrian's Villa Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Marble head of Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep, 117-138 AD, Hadrian’s Villa
Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Hypnos was the son of the goddess Nyx (the deity of the Night) and Erebus (the deity of Darkness). His wife, Pasithea (the deity of Hallucinations), was one of the youngest of the Graces and was promised to him by Hera. His sons were Morpheus (the personification of Dreams), Phobetor (the personification of Nightmares), Phantasos (the personification of inanimate objects in prophetic dreams) and Ikelos (the personification of people seen in prophetic dreams).

Marble head of Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep, 117-138 AD, Hadrian's Villa Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

Marble head of Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep, 117-138 AD, Hadrian’s Villa
Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome
Carole Raddato CC BY-SA

This marble head of Hypnos was found inside the cryptoporticus of the Piazza d’Oro (Golden Court), one of the most luxurious complexes at the villa. It was a vast building complex with a great rectangular garden embellished with flower-beds. A canal was running down the main axis and was surrounded on all sides by a portico. On its eastern side was a series of rooms including a triclinium, while on its southern side, opposite the entrance, was a monumental exedra with a nymphaeum and perhaps also a library.

This head of Hypnos is on display at the National Roman Museum – Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome.

See images of the Piazza d’Oro here.

See more images of Hypnos here.

About followinghadrian

I came, I saw, I photographed... follow me in the footsteps of Hadrian!
This entry was posted in Hadrian's Villa, Italy, Mythology, Roman art, Roman villa and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Art and sculptures from Hadrian’s Villa: Marble head of Hypnos

  1. ritaroberts says:

    Beautiful Photo’s Carole. I love these sculptures.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bob Atchison says:

    I cannot tell you how much I love your blog. You know so much about Tivoli and the sculptures. Can you tell us what happened to Tivoli and the villa in Late Antique times. Do we know when it was abandoned? Was it well maintained in the early 5th century? Are there any records?

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s