Archaeological Museum of Bologna

Museo Civico Archeologico
Via dell'Archiginnasio 2 - 40124 Bologna

Direzione e Uffici
Via de' Musei 8 – 40124 Bologna
Tel. - Fax


  • banner sezioni

Collections / Sections / Greek collection

Head of Athena

The head of Athena in Pentelic marble is the masterpiece of the Palagi Collection. It is a Roman copy of the lost bronze statue of the goddess, which was commissioned from Phidias between 451 and 447 BC by a group of Athenian citizens preparing to found a colony on the Aegean island of Lemnos. The statue, thus dubbed “Lemnia”, was placed on the Acropolis in Athens as a votive offering to ensure the protection of the goddess, “patroness” of the city, during the establishment of the new colony.

More info

Phidias depicted the goddess – usually portrayed bearing weapons and ready for battle – in a peaceful pose, dressed in a tunic and mantle; she is leaning on her lance and is holding her helmet in her right hand. The statue, the pacific symbol of the supremacy of thought that fully interpreted the spirit of Periclean Athens, enjoyed enormous fame in antiquity and was admired for its message and beauty.

The bronze original has been lost, but its appearance has been reconstructed based on several replicas from the Roman period. This copy, attributed to a Greek sculptor active in the age of Augustus (late 1st century BC–early 1st century AD), seems to reflect Phidias’ original quite faithfully and is unquestionably the finest extant copy, renowned for its beauty and artistic quality

Provenance: Palagi Collection
Datation: Late 1st century BC–early 1st century AD
Material: Marble
Dimensions: height cm 43
Inventory #: G 1060

Go back to introduction


Exhibition rooms | Rooms V and VI - Greek collection