Hygieia, goddess of Health and Hypnos, god of sleep
Imperial Period, Antonine
about A.D. 140–190
Place of Manufacture: Asia Minor (probably)
Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 191; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 112 (additional published references).
Overall: 64.5 x 26.7 x 13 cm (25 3/8 x 10 1/2 x 5 1/8 in.)
Medium or Technique
Marble from Dokimeion (modern Afyon) in west-central Asia Minor
Not On View
Statuette of Hygieia and Hypnos. With her right hand the goddess supported the body of a snake, which stretched itself in front of her body to take an egg from Hygieia’s left hand. A support for the missing body of the snake can be seen on her belly. The infant Hypnos, who has wings like Cupid, takes a nap, resting his head on his knee. The goddess, draped in an ungirdled chiton and long himation, looks down slightly to her left. Right forearm and both hands missing. Breaks across the body (repaired) at neck and near knees. Polished surface chipped and encrusted.
Snakes were associated with the healing powers of the earth in ancient medical thought, and they were frequently shown as companions of gods of healing. Sleep in the sanctuary of a god noted for curative powers was a popular form of treatment in antiquity.
By 1968: with André Emmerich Gallery, Inc., 41 East 57th Street, New York (Art of the Ancients, New York, February 7 - March 13, 1968, no. 59 [said to be from Asia Minor and from the art market in Switzerland]); by 1968: with Sotheby & Co., 34 & 35 New Bond Street, London, W.1 (Sotheby & Co. auction, November 26, 1968, lot 172); by 1973: Benjamin Rowland, Jr. Estate; bequest of Benjamin Rowland, Jr. to MFA, February 13, 1974
Bequest of Benjamin Rowland, Jr.