Psyche of Capua


replica: 19th century AD 

gift of: Edward and Caroline Kennedy

date of the original: c. 1st century B.C. 

provenance of the original: the amphitheatre of Capua, Italy; now in the National Museum, Naples

description: Bust of a goddess. Head bent down and right, torso extending to solar plexis, top of head sheared. Marble replica with smoke damage making the surface yellowish. Repaired to reconnect head to torso. Original has badly damaged torso to below the waist. On base: height 66 cm, width 50 cm, depth 25 cm.

Found badly mutilated in the amphitheatre at Capua, this sculpture is incorrectly named and more likely represents Aphrodite (see also:Aphrodite of CnidosAphrodite of ArlesAphrodite of MelosAphrodite AnadyomeneCrouching Aphrodite). Earlier believed to be by Praxiteles (see also: Hermes and the Infant DionysusApollo Lykeios), it is rather a copy after a work by Scopas, having characteristic sloping shoulders, globe-shaped breasts, peculiar mouth and dilated nostrils, the ear slanting back with the lobe close to the head. (See also: Head of HypnosHead of Hygieia.)

The figure originally leaned its weight on the right leg and drew the drapery, which covered the lower part of the body, over the left shoulder with the left hand. The head, turned to the right and bent down, suggests the figure may have been part of a group, perhaps with Eros (see: Head of Eros) holding a mirror.