Statuette of Nyx or Selene
Enlarge (23MB) Zoom in
Bruce White Photography
This image is available for download, without charge, under the Getty's Open Content Program.

Roman, 100 - 1 B.C.
10 in.

Add to Getty Bookmarks

This Roman bronze statuette depicts a female figure suspended in the air with her toes pointed as if about to land. Her right hand grasps an object that is difficult to identify. It might be an alabastron, a small vessel for precious liquids, or it may be the end of a short, down-turned torch. The windblown mantle and the alighting posture characterize the figure as a personification of nature, especially the celestial forces. Her attribute, either a torch, or perhaps a vessel of dew or dreams, gives her a nocturnal aspect. Therefore, she probably represents Nyx, the goddess of the night, or Selene, the moon goddess. It is not known how this figure was used. Since the figure cannot stand on its own, it must have originally been part of a larger object. Perhaps she decorated a large, ornate lamp or a lamp stand, a fitting use for a goddess of the night.