Juno Ludovisi

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Juno Ludovisi

The Juno Ludovisi (also called Hera Ludovisi ) is a colossal marble female head that dates back to the 1st century BC. And is now in the Museo Nazionale Romano in Rome ; It is exhibited in the Palazzo Altemps . The head is part of an acrolithic statue that was initially identified as Hera , but is now considered Antonia Minor , who was depicted as the goddess Juno .

Research history

The head of Juno Ludovisi, which was probably found in Rome, became part of the collection of Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi in 1622 , from which it also received its nickname. At that time she was identified as the goddess Hera (Latin Juno ) and it was assumed that the head was part of a colossal cult image of the goddess. The marble head was a very popular object, especially in the 18th century. Johann Joachim Winckelmann , Johann Wolfgang von Goethe , Friedrich Schiller or Wilhelm von Humboldt saw the Juno Ludovisi as the epitome of what was understood as Greek ideality . Wilhelm von Humboldt even wrote a sonnet inspired by Juno Ludovisi, but he was not the only one with it. From the late 19th century, however, the interpretation of the head as Juno began to be questioned. The thesis that the woman shown is a historical personality was put forward and increasingly represented in research. Today one sees in her mostly Antonia Minor (36 BC - 37 AD), a member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty . She was the mother of the Emperor Claudius and the niece of Augustus . It is believed that she was portrayed as an idealized Hera . Coin images of Antonia and a similar head found in summer 2003 support this assumption, but it is still controversial.


The colossal head is a woman's head made of marble with a height of 116 centimeters, which is a comparatively monumental format for this time. Her facial features appear impersonal and are turned frontally to the viewer. Her curly hairstyle is loosely tied at the nape of the neck and shows a clear center parting under the high diadem she wears. On the sides of her neck, behind her ears, which are half hidden by the hair, strands in corkscrew curls fall down. Overall, the woman shown looks very idealized and her impersonal facial features and the monumental size of the head speak for the representation of a goddess.


There are numerous plaster casts of Juno Ludovisi. For example in the Goethehaus in Weimar, in the plaster cast collection of the Archaeological Institute of the Georg-August University of Göttingen or in the Museum of Classical Archeology at the University of Cambridge .

Goethe and the Juno Ludovisi

Juno room in the house on Frauenplan

Goethe seems to have been enthusiastic about Juno Ludovisi during his trip to Italy. In his report on his trip to Italy in April 1788, he wrote that he had moved to a studio for his second stay in Rome, where he could marvel at some plaster casts. In his report he also talks about the impressions these old sculptures left on the viewer, and introduces the Juno Ludovisi with special admiration:

“First place was claimed by Juno Ludovisi, all the more highly valued and revered as the original was seldom seen, only by chance, and you had to be lucky to have it in front of your eyes forever; because none of our contemporaries, who stands in front of her for the first time, can claim to be equal to this sight. "

- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe : Italian journey

In a letter to Charlotte von Stein from January 1787 , he reported about Juno, describing her as his first love in Rome and that he finally had her. He expresses the intention to bring them to Germany and the anticipation to show them to the addressee. Goethe's admiration for Juno Ludovisi went so far that one of the rooms in his Goethe home became known as the Juno room . The room was given this name after Goethe's death from a cast of Juno Ludovisi, which he set up here. However, this is not the cast from his Roman apartment, which he mentions in his report or in his letter to Charlotte von Stein. In 1788 he gave this Juno from his reports to Angelika Kauffmann , because it was impossible for him to transport the cast undamaged across the Alps. It was not until 1823 that the State Councilor Christoph Friedrich Ludwig Schultz from Berlin gave him a new cast of the entire head, which Goethe placed in the corner between the window and door in the Juno room so that it is naturally lit from two sides. The figure still stands in the Goethehaus at this place intended by Goethe. Encouraged by Goethe, Schiller recorded the statue in 1795 as one of the central terms in his letters on the aesthetic education of man .


  • Andreas Rumpf : Antonia Augusta. Treatises of the Prussian Academy of Sciences, Philosophical-Historical Class. Publishing house of the Academy of Sciences, Berlin 1941.
  • Helga von Heintze : Juno Ludovisi (= Opus Nobile. Vol. 4). Dorn, Bremen 1957.
  • Renate Tölle-Kastenbein : Juno Ludovisi: Hera or Antonia Minor? In: Communications from the German Archaeological Institute, Athens Department. Volume 89, 1974, pp. 241-253, plates 91-96.
  • Alessandra Costantini in: Antonio Giuliano (ed.): La Collezione Boncompagni Ludovisi: Algardi, Bernini e la fortuna dell'antico. Marsilio, Venice 1992, pp. 122-127 No. 10.
  • Nikos Kokkinos: Antonia Augusta: Portrait of a Great Roman Lady. Routledge, London / New York 1992, pp. 119-121.
  • Rolf Winkes: Livia, Octavia, Julia. Art and Archeology Publications, Louvain-la-Neuve / Providence 1995.
  • Charles Brian Rose: Dynastic Commemoration and Imperial Portraiture in the Julio-Claudian Period. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1997.
  • Hermann Pflug : The fleeting magic of Juno. The "Juno Ludovisi" between idealization and exploration. In: Antike Welt 31, 1, 2000, pp. 37–42.

Web links

Commons : Hera Ludovisi  - collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. ^ Wilhelm von Humboldt: Juno Ludovisi. In: Albert Leitzmann : Wilhelm von Humboldt's collected writings. Department 1: Works, Volume 9: Poems. Behr, Berlin 1912, p. 199 ( digitized version ).
  2. ^ The Goethezeitportal: Goethe's Juno, Section 5: Poems about the Juno Ludovisi
  3. ^ Weimar Classic Foundation, Goethe's house
  4. ^ Virtual Ancient Museum - Archaeological Institute of the University of Göttingen .
  5. ^ Museum of Classical Archeology
  6. On Goethe and the Juno Ludovisi see also Reinhard Häußler : Hera und Juno, Wandlungen und Persung einer Göttin. Steiner, Stuttgart 1995, pp. 16-18 and passim.
  7. ^ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Italian journey. In: Ludwig Geiger , Eduard von der Hellen : Goethe's complete works: Jubilee edition in 40 volumes. Volume 26, part 2. Cotta, Stuttgart a. a. 1907, p. 268 ( digitized version , 1913 edition).
  8. ^ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Italian journey. In: Ludwig Geiger, Eduard von der Hellen: Goethe's complete works: Jubilee edition in 40 volumes. Volume 26, part 2. Cotta, Stuttgart a. a. 1907, p. 179 ( digitized version ).
  9. Goethe himself called the room the blue salon because of the wallpaper
  10. ^ Hugo Bieber , Julius Zeitler: Goethe manual. Volume 2: Gochhausen mythology. Metzler, Stuttgart 1917, p. 288 f.
  11. Michail Pashchenko: Goethe and Schiller - an approximation: The Juno Ludovisi as the epitome of Weimar Classics. In: Voprosy filosofii. 2013. No 11. Accessed December 30, 2017 .