Palazzo Massimo: Sculpture

Palazzo Massimo is a large museum not far from Termini station. So one rainy day in November we took the subway over to it.  The museum has an amazing collection of sculpture, as well as other things (which I will discuss in future posts).  Looking at some of the ancient Roman busts and statues, there are faces here that feel like old friends.

Augustus, instantly recognizable by his large ears, as Pontifex Maximus (a religious title, a precursor of “pope”)


A scowling Caracalla


The wise Marcus Aurelius


The indomitable empress Julia Domna

There are also sculptures that those who have studied ancient art may know well. This one depicts one of the daughters of Niobe. The daughter is dying from an arrow wound in her back. The myth is that her mother bragged about having more children than the goddess Leto.  As punishment, Leto’s children, Apollo and Artemis, shot Niobe’s daughter, which we see here.

One of the daughters of Niobe, dying from an arrow wound

This one here is of a famous form.

A Discus Thrower (the Discobolus Lancellotti)

There’s the amazing Portonaccio sarcophagus, a close-up of which is at the top of this post, and a number of gorgeous low reliefs.

A particularly lovely low relief of a woman in a flowing dress caressing the head of a goat

There are also some amazing sculptures in bronze, like the obviously weary and aching Boxer at Rest.

The Boxer at Rest

And, a very intense Medusa.


But, this marvelous museum has much more to offer….