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Palazzo Massimo Part I: The Women

Posted on Mar 7, 2010 | 5 comments

Tomorrow is the Festa delle Donne, so national museums were free for women this weekend and I took advantage by going to the Museo Nazionale di Roma at Palazzo Massimo. It’s a wonderful collection which is rarely frequented by tourists and I’ll be doing two posts on my favorite pieces. I should say that the space was revamped a few years ago and is one of the best laid out collections I’ve seen in Rome. Each room is uncluttered of objects, there are good didactic panels, and the entire collection is accessible due to ramps and elevators (something that can’t be taken for granted here).

Today’s photos show two ancient sculptures depicting “Crouching Aphrodite” and a “Sleeping Hermaphrodite.” I love the depiction of the female form in painting and sculpture, the way the curves of the body are shown. And I will always celebrate anything that embraces belly fat rolls as beautiful! The first images are of the Crouching Aphrodite, originally located in Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli. It’s a Roman copy after a Greek Hellenistic original. The second set of images are of “The Reclining Hermaphrodite,” a common theme in ancient Greece and Rome, yet again pointing out that they were probably much more comfortable with different types of sexuality than we are today. From the back she appears as just another beautiful woman, but walk around to the other side of the sculpture and a surprise awaits.

Museo Nazionale Romano – Palazzo Massimo alle Terme
Via di Villa Peretti, 1 00185
Open Tue-Sun 9 am – 7:45 pm (box office closes 1 hr before)
Ticket €7 (valid for entry to all National Museums for a period of 3 days)

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  1. I love that sleeping hermaphrodite. The one at the Borghese is displayed totally wrong and you can't see the surprise at all. WHO arranges the ancient collection there anyway?!

  2. Oh… surprise! You've done these gorgeous works of art justice with your crisp black and white. And I'm with you– we need to bring the beauty of belly fat back!

  3. I love that you featured this museum. It was one of my favorites during my stay in Rome… and the Sleeping Aphrodite was one of my favorite works in that museum. Great shots.

  4. Grazie mille! Glad you enjoy the photos.

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