Statue of Juno
2nd century AD (c. 122-130 AD)
Height: 47 1/2 inches (120.7 cm)
The figure of Juno wears a short-sleeved chiton which is tied above the waist with a thin belt. A heavy mantle, or palla, veils the back of her head yet exposes a tall diadem. The figure stands on her left leg with the right bent at the knee. Her right arm hangs at her side whereas her left was probably raised to hold an object, perhaps a staff. The left side also reveals that the undergarment has a long overfold. With wavy hair, broad features and large eyes, the head brings to mind classical figures in an idealized style that derive from Greek sculptural prototypes of mythical female figures.
Though the undergarment is thin, it is still voluminous. Details such as the fasteners at the sleeves and bunched-up folds near the belt at the right arm add a naturalistic touch. The raised left arm follows suit as the sleeve creates a pocket of material that falls from it— presumably due to the pull of gravity. Both the thin undergarment and the heavier mantle work to effectively obscure the contours of the body.
The depiction of mythological and real women in ancient Roman was fluid and often blurred. Annetta Alexandris and Jane Fejfer have written extensively on Roman female portraiture. They have made astute observations about the roles available to women in ancient Rome vis-a-vis the imagery used to depict them in both public and private life. Statues of Roman women were portrayed in the costumes and poses of heavily draped Greek goddesses. Six main statuary types have been formulated: Ceres, Pudicitia, Small Herculaneum Woman, Large Herculaneum Woman, the Shoulder-bundle type and the Hip-bundle type. It is interesting to note that of the types mentioned here, only one, the Ceres, is named for an identifiable mythological figure. All others are modern scholarly designations based on find spots or the configuration of the drapery.
The particular arrangement of the mantle used here depicts the hip-bundle type and is frequently seen on statues of mature female figures. As empresses were not always easily distinguishable from private women in statue types and both were closely based on goddess types it is often difficult to determine the identity of a statue, particularly when attributes are lost. Such is the case with the draped female figure under discussion here. The body and drapery types—one arm raised, a hip-bundle mantle, veil and diadem—recall depictions of the goddess Juno and their many variants. As part of the Capitoline Triad, Juno was represented with Jupiter and Minerva. Whether seated or standing, she is commonly depicted in the attire of the figure under discussion and would have been a subject used throughout the Roman world.