5. Graeco-Roman statues

The Archaeological Museum houses an important collection of Graeco-Roman statues, unfortunately of unknown provenance. The figure wearing a pallium, that wearing a toga exigua, Pudicitia and Aphrodite were given to the Carrara family by the Gonzagas of Mantua; the Grande Ercolanese, the torso in lorica and Minerva once stood in the portico of the residence of the counts Regazzoni in Via Pignolo and were purchased by Vimercati Sozzi; the young man’s torso in Greek marble was probably donated to the Museum in the early 1960s.

It is probable that two of the statues in the collection come from the territory of Bergomum, the Roman municipium sited on the Bergamo hills: that of Minerva and the Grande Ercolanese.

The statue of Minerva is made in a non-natural style, with distorted proportions and a rigid and unnatural pose; the folds in her clothing are unrealistic decorative patterns. This cult statue probably came from a shrine dedicated to the goddess and dates to the 2nd century AD.

The statue known as the Grande Ercolanese replicates the iconography of a statue from Herculaneum which was popular among women of high social status in Imperial Rome. In the original the head is covered, but it was often shown uncovered in order to exhibit fashionable hairstyles.

It is possible that the third statue in the Regazzoni collection, the torso in lorica, also came from Bergomum. This is the remaining portion of an honorary statue of a member of the Julio-Claudian family, no longer identifiable, which might have stood in the forum of the Roman town. The body armour (or lorica) is decorated in relief with Medusa’s head and a trophy flanked by two Winged Victories.

Two statues portray men in typical Roman dress, in a pallium and a toga. The first dates to the first half of the 1st century BC and was made by putting together pieces from various sources, including the bust of a female statue; it represents a figure holding a roll of parchment dressed in a pallium, which was used to indicate philosophers and writers.

The second statue probably portrays a member of the Roman senatorial class wearing a toga exigua, the typical dress of Roman magistrates in the earliest period, and sandals that were typical of senators. It was an honorary or funerary statue, produced in a high-quality sculptural workshop between 75 and 50 BC.

The statue of Aphrodite, in Greek marble, is a copy of an original work found in the agorà of Athens. It is an excellent copy made in a first-rate workshop shortly after the reign of Augustus; it probably portrayed an important female personage linked to the imperial family, but the head itself has been lost.

The so-called statue of Pudicitia, a name related to the attitude of modesty expressed by this female figure, is an example of one of the most widespread iconographies employed in funerary and honorary portrait statues; the body was produced separately and a realistic portrait head of the deceased woman then added. This well-made piece probably came from a workshop in the eastern Mediterranean, and is of late 2nd or early 1st century BC date.