The J. Paul Getty Museum


Object Details




Joseph Nollekens (English, 1737 - 1823)




England (Place Created)





Object Number:



144 cm (56 11/16 in.)

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Object Description

Goddess of war and wisdom, the stately Minerva stands like a majestic column as she raises her helmet. At her side rests a large shield, on which is carved the frightening head of the Medusa, used to ward off enemies. Her body is composed in a spiral, which provides interesting views from several different angles. The marble statue formed part of a Judgment of Paris group. According to ancient mythology, Paris was chosen to decide between Juno, Minerva, and Venus for the title of "the fairest." Although Minerva promised him fame and glory in war, Paris chose Venus.

possibly 1776 - 1782

Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd marquis of Rockingham, English, 1730 - 1782 (London, England), commissioned by him from Nollekens as part of the Judgment of Paris group, displayed in his Grosvenor Square House (London, England), by inheritance to his nephew William Wentworth, fourth earl Fitzwilliam.
Source: Penny, 1991, p. 28, refers to payments to the artist, and p. 23, mentions the 1782 inventory for the location.

1782 - 1833

William Wentworth, 4th earl Fitzwilliam, English, 1748 - 1833 (Wentworth Woodhouse, Yorkshire, England), brought from London to Wentworth Woodhouse between 1782 and 1802, by inheritance within the Wentworth Fitzwilliam family.
Source: The sculpture was seen at Wentworth Woodhouse in 1802 by Richard Warner (Warner, A Tour through [...], vol. 1 (1802), pp. 219-20).

1833 - 1986

Wentworth Fitzwilliam Family (Wentworth Woodhouse, Yorkshire, England) [sold, Christie's, London, July 15, 1986, lot 86, to Cyril Humphris.]

1986 - 1987

Cyril Humphris, S.A. (London, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1987.


Warner, Richard. A Tour through the Northern Countries of England and the Borders of Scotland. Rev. ed. (Bath: R. Cruttwell 1802), vol. 1 (1802), pp. 219-20 (mentioned among statues at Wentworth Woodhouse).

Whinney, Margaret Dickens. Sculpture in Britain, 1530-1830 (Harmondsworth, Middlesex, Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1964), p. 159.

Gunnis, Rupert. Dictionary of British Sculptors, 1660-1851 (London: The Abbey Library, 1968), p. 277.

Graves, Algernon. The Royal Academy of Arts: A Complete Dictionary of Contributors and Their Work from Its Foundation in 1769 to 1904 (1905; repr., London: S.R. Publishers LTD. And Kingsmead Reprints, 1970), vol. 3 (1970), vol. 3 (1970), p. 381.

Seddon, Richard. "Some Payments by an 18th Century Collector." The Antique Collector (1972), p. 81.

Christie's, London. Important European Sculpture and Works of Art. July 15, 1986, pp. 68-69, lot 86, ill.

Whinney, Margaret Dickens. Sculpture in Britain, 1530 to 1830. John Physick, ed. Rev. ed. (London: Penguin Books, 1988), p. 288.

Penny, Nicholas. "Lord Rockingham's Sculpture Collection and The Judgment of Paris by Nollekens." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 19 (1991), pp. 5, 23-24, 27, 30, 32, figs. 23, 26.

Fusco, Peter. Summary Catalogue of European Sculpture in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 36, ill.

Baker, Malcolm. Figured in Marble: The Making and Viewing of Eighteenth-Century Sculpture (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2000), pp. 36-38, fig. 25.

True, Marion. "Changing Approaches to Conservation." In History of Restoration of Ancient Stone Sculptures, Symposium at the J. Paul Getty Museum, October 25-27, 2001. Janet Burnett Grossmann, ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2003), pp. 3-4, fig. 2A.

Roscoe, Ingrid and Emma Hardy, eds. A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain, 1660-1851 (London: Yale University Press, 2009), pp. 897, 904, no. 157.

Education Resources
Education Resources

Education Resource




Gods, Heroes and Monsters Curriculum

Background information about Greek and Roman Mythology to accompany the curriculum “Gods, Heroes and Monsters.”