A more detailed photo of a sculpture I posted a few weeks ago. This one's a testament to the artists who like to have a bit of fun with their audiences, I think! This just struck me as funny somehow, and it must have been the intent of the original artist! This magnificent sculpture just seems to be saying "Really? Another photograph? Don't you have anything better to do? That's all these people do all day, just walk by, staring at me! Be sure to get my good side, at least!" I guess back in the day, that's all people did as well, sans camera!
This sculpture is technically known as the Mattei Athena, a Roman marble copy, standing about 230 cm in height and dating to ca. 130-90 BC. It's a copy of a Greek original bronze, attributed to Cephisodotus or Euphranor. The original, which dates to about 350 BC was reportedly called the Athena Piraeus, which has also survived, so we can see the alterations made by the Roman artist. The marble copy was discovered in 1959. The goddess is wearing a Corinthian-style helmet, an aegis, the skin of a goat given to her by Zeus worn across her chest, decorated with the head of the gorgon Medusa and snakes.
The Louvre Palace complex is located on the Right Bank of the Seine, directly across from another famous museum and former train station, the D'Orsay Museum. The former palace's origin dates back about a thousand years; it was first mentioned in 1198. The ancient foundations and towers can still be seen by visitors. There is a model located under the Room of the Caryatids that shows what the original palace looked like. It was once a fortified palace which resembled many other high-walled castles, and served as the seat of the French nobility until Louis XIV moved to Versailles in 1682. The present structure, remodeled to include royal apartments by Charles V was begun in 1535, and it has been extended significantly since the sixteenth century. Francois I and Henri II remodeled the structure completely. Perhaps it was eventually turned into a huge museum because of ties to the world of arts: Henri IV added a Grand Galarie along the Seine, the longest of its kind in the world at the time. He was also a great patron of the arts, and even invited hundreds of artists and craftsmen to live and work in the palace, a tradition which continued for two centuries, until the reign of Napoleon III. The museum is the second largest but the most visited in the world, housing famous works such as the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, and many other important and unique collections. A record 8.3 million visitors passed through the complex in 2006.
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