Class and production: sculpture/ votive statues

Cultural context: Roman period / Asian workshop

Date: 2nd / 3rd century A.D.


Idol sculpted in conic shape wearing a large cloth with open folds in the front: the inner and upper part are lost. This cloth is held by a large belt with a three parts decoration: on the top it represents a mythological scene, the kidnapping of Persephone (also called Kore or Proserpina); in the middle part flowers and in the lower area 12 fringes with zodiac signs. The object has been interpreted as the 2nd century’s version of the ancient idol representing the goddess Artemis Kybebe, worshipped in the town of Sardis in Lydia (now Turkey). This version is documented in ancient coins from Lydia dated to the period of emperor Hadrian.

Materials and techniques: Greek Parian marble

Dimensions: height 15 cm, width 12 cm

Provenance: Gualdo Museum; David Hoyer Collection; Mantova Benavides Collection, Padua; Vallisneri Collection, Padua

University of Padua, Museum of Archaeological Sciences and Art

Cat. Number: MB96


  • Minto Antonio, Di due sculture conservate nel gabinetto archeologico dell'Università di Padova, in "Ausonia" IV (1909), II, pp. 160-180.
  • Di Filippo Balestrazzi Elena, L'idolo cosiddetto del Sole e l'Artemis Kybebe di Sardis, in Marco Mantova Benavides il suo museo e la cultura padovana del Cinquecento, Atti della giornata di studio nel IV centenario della morte 1582-1982 (Padova 12 novembre 1983), a cura di Irene Favaretto, Padova, Accademia Patavina, 1984, pp. 103-143.
  • De Paoli Marcella, 19.Idolo cosiddetto del Sole, in Un Museo di Antichità nella Padova del Cinquecento. La raccolta di Marco Mantova Benavides all'Università di Padova, a cura di Irene Favaretto, Alessandra Menegazzi, Roma, Giorgio Bretschneider, 2013, pp. 42-43.