Female statues, so-called Dancers
Roman work of the Augustan age after a Hellenistic model.
Inv. Nos. 5620 / 5621 / 5605 / 5604 / 5619.Naples, National Archaeological MuseumPhoto by Sergey Sosnovskiy

Female statues, so-called Dancers.

Roman work of the Augustan age after a Hellenistic model.
Inv. Nos. 5620 / 5621 / 5605 / 5604 / 5619.

Naples, National Archaeological Museum
(Napoli, Museo archeologico nazionale).

Herculaneum, Villa of the Papyri.
From Herculaneum, Villa of the Papyri, 1754.

Dancers, Hydrophorai (water carriers) or Danaids

The five bronze statues are part of the statuary of Villa of the Papyri, a luxury villa on the outskirts of Herculaneum (Ercolano), where they were found in 1754.

The group represents five young women standing on the right legs while the left ones are slightly bent and moved away from the bodies. They are dressed in Doric peplos buckled on the shoulders and portrayed in different postures and with different hairstyles. The faces are delicate and animated by the eyes, the corneas of which are made of bone or ivory and the irises and pupils of grey or black stone. Defined erroneously as “dancers” by Winckelmann in the 18th century, the statues were recognized as hydrophorai (water carriers) at the end of the 19th century and finally in the 20th century they were identified as the Danaids, the fifty daughters of Danaus the king of Egypt, condemned to fetch water for eternity after killing their respective husbands who were nothing but their cousins the girls did not want to marry.

They are reproductions related to the Augustan Age (third century BC — last quarter of the first century BC), derived from an original subject of the Classical Age, very popular in the Augustan Age, and reproductions of a similar group which was on exhibition in the temple of Apollo Palatine in Rome in 28 BC.

(сс) 2008. Photo: Sergey Sosnovskiy (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Text: museum label.
© 2020. Description: official museum site.
Keywords: ελληνική μυθολογία mythologia graeca greek mythology mitologia greca griechische mythologie grecque δαναΐδες danaide danaides danaids danaidi danaiden danaïdes γλυπτική sculptura sculpture sculptural scultura skulptur ρωμαϊκό roman romana romano romani römisch römische römisches römischen römischer romain romaine romains romaines χάλκινο bronze bronzo bronzeo bronzen group gruppo scultoreo skulpturengruppe groupe ρωμαϊκό αντίγραφο copy copia kopie copie ἄγαλμα άγαλμα statua statuae statue statues statui statuen statuons standing in piedi stehende pédestre female dress clothes clothing garment abbigliamento femminile damenbekleidung vêtements pour femmes γυναικεία ρούχα girl young woman ragazza mädchen mädel jeune fille κοπέλα band ribbon fillet tenia tänie binden tænia ténia taenia tainia ταινία villa of the papyri dei papiri from da ercolano von de herculanum herculaneum ἡράκλειον ερκολάνο inlaid eyes glass paste occhi di pasta vetro vitrea augen glaspaste yeux pâte verre dancing dancer dancers danzante tänzerin danseur danseuse χορευτές apoptygma doric peplos peplo dorico dorische péplos carrying water portando acqua wasser tragen porter l’eau hydrophoria inv no 5620 5621 5605 5604 5619