plaster painted to resemble marble
According to classical mythology Hebe, the goddess of youth, was responsible for giving the other gods their immortality potion; she is therefore always represented holding a cup in one hand and a small jug in the other. The work presented here, which is to our knowledge the only existing such version, seems to combine, with excellent results, elements from the two more famous sculptures on this subject, both of them from the neoclassical period: Antonio Canova’s lively and slender interpretation, the first version of which is found at the Staatliche Museum in Berlin, from 1796, and the more solemn and rarefied one by Bertel Thorvaldsen, the most famous version of which dates from 1806 and is kept at the Thorvaldsen Museum of Copenhagen.
In fact, while the position of the maiden in this plaster sculpture, as well as several details, closely resemble the marble by the Danish sculptor, the wind-swollen drapery behind this Hebe and the vitality of the figure seem to be inspired by Canova’s work.
Rome, first quarter of the 19th century
cm 83 height