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Ancient Art
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery

Athena, copy of Velletri type

5th century B.C. (original)

Marble, large crystal, possibly Thasos marble

statue without base: 243 cm (95 11/16 in.) base: 16 × 85.09 × 71.12 cm (6 5/16 × 33 1/2 × 28 in.) base+object: 259 cm, 1179.35 kg (101 15/16 in., 2600 lb.)
Gift of deLancey Kountze, B.A. 1899
This colossal, now headless female figure is likely a Roman copy of a fifth-century B.C. Greek cult image. Some scholars have identified it as a copy in marble of a celebrated bronze statue of Athena sculpted by Alkamenes for the Temple of Hephaistos in Athens. Wearing the typical chiton (tunic) beneath a himation (mantle), she stands with her weight resting on her straightened left leg, while she bends her right knee. By comparison with another alleged Roman copy of the same Greek statue—the famous Velletri Athena in the Louvre—the Yale Athena can be reconstructed with a helmeted head, a raised right arm holding a spear, and a left arm held out in front of her body at waist level, with a phiale, or offering dish, in hand.
On view
Roman (copy)

Purchased in Italy ca. 1870 by Mr. Kountze's father


Adolf Furtwängler, Meisterwerke der griechischen Plastik: Kunstgeschichtliche Untersuchungen (Leipzig, Germany: Giesecke & Devrient, 1893), 304-305, fig. 41-42.

Arthur Hamilton Smith, A Catalogue of Sculpture in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, British Museum, 3 vols., exh. cat. (London: William Clowes and Sons, 1904), 26, no. 1569.

P. V. C. B, “The Yale Athena,” Bulletin of the Associates in Fine Arts at Yale University (1929): 47–48, ill.

Associates in Fine Arts, Yale University, “Handbook: A Description of the Gallery of Fine Arts and the Collections,” Bulletin of the Associates in Fine Arts at Yale University 5, nos. 1–3 (1931): 8, ill.

Carl Bluemel, Roemische Kopien griechischer Skulpturen des fuenften Jahrhunderts v. Chr (Berlin: H. Schoetz & Co., 1931), 41, fig. 72.

Oskar Waldhauser, Die Antiken Skulpturen der Ermitage (Berlin: W. de Gruyter, 1936), 6, no. 222, fig. 8.

Domenico Mustilli, Il Museo Mussolini, exh. cat. (Rome: La Libreria dello stato, 1939), 121, no. 293, fig. 77.

Raissa Calza, Museo Ostiense (Rome: La Libreria dello stato, 1947), 23, fig. 111.

Seymour Howard, “The Lansdowne Bust of the Athena of Velletri,” Bulletin - Los Angeles County Museum of Art 17 (1964): 11–12, fig. 7.

Alan Shestack, “Director’s Report for 1976,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin 36, no. 3 (Fall 1977): 6–7, fig. 5.

Handbook of the Collections, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1992), 265, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.