Niobe and her children sculptures

9:00 AM

A little bit of history
Location: Galleria Uffizi, Florence, Italy

The statues portray a scene from Greek mythology. Niobe was a queen who had fourteen children and unable to keep her mouth shut about it, she went around bragging about her large offspring. Her mistake was to do this in front of the goddess Leto who had only two children. Leto was insulted by Niobe’s pride and asked her children to revenge her. To Niobe’s misfortune, Leto’s children – Artemis and Apolo - were archers.  Due to Niobe’s hubris, all her children were killed.
A little bit of technique
The sculptures are Roman copies of Greek originals from the III or II centuries B. C. The style is neo-classic and according to the Wikipedia they are considered “one of the most prominent surviving sculptures of the Classical Antiquity.”

A little bit of enthusiasm
When you enter the Niobe room, you glance at what’s inside and expect to see Classical statues in grandiose poses. But when you look carefully you notice something strange: the statues are raising their arms, looking up, trying to protect themselves. They seem terrified of what’s coming from above. 

They are so realistic that we end up terrorized too. I almost felt like falling down and looking for cover as well. I don’t care that the statues are copies, they are incredibly powerful (and so were the gods!).

I strongly recommend taking the virtual tour of the Niobe room, it’s amazing. 

Images via 1, 2, 3

Do you think the sculptures are effective in telling this story? Are you interested in Greek mythology?

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  1. I LOVED THE VIRTUAL TOUR! Just aaawesome.
    And you can tell by their face and body expressions how effective the statues are in telling the story. It's like you're there, under the attack of the archers.

  2. I know, you can see the sculptures really well on that virtual tour. I'm so happy I found it!

    It's incredible how we can get a sense of the story without even seeing the archers!


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