Statue of kneeling Woman representing a Roman Province

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Statue of kneeling Woman representing a Roman Province
Luni marble
2nd century AD

The figure, wearing a sleeved chiton with apoptygma, with her garb fastened under the breast according to the fashion of the Hellenistic age and leaning her left knee against the ground with the arms held forward, belongs to the formal culture of the Roman Imperial age. According to Prof. Antonio Giuliano the iconography can be found, for example, in the reliefs of the Ara Pietatis vowed by Tiberius in 22 AD and dedicated by Claudius in 43 AD, reliefs today adorning the façade of Villa Medici. The Ara Pietatis, which imitated the Pacis, displayed a frieze with several kneeling personified figures surrounding a main one standing (A. Giuliano, Scritti minori, Rome 2001, pp. 215-220). The iconography, very soon canonical for the depictions of Rome itself, is characteristic of the money of Galba and the second half of the 1st century AD. In the 2nd century this iconography had its greatest moment of fortune as can be seen in personifications addressing Emperor Hadrian, kneeling with the right hand clasping his hand and the left holding an attribute. The iconographic motif is used in particular to represent the provinces of the Empire turning to imperial clemency. For these reasons the sculpture perhaps represents a Province (?) that addresses a second figure, possibly that of the Emperor (Hadrian?), with a celebratory intent as well as a precise political aim. The statue is considerably important as there do not appear to be other representations of this iconographic motif in a complete sculpture in the round.