Carrara marble
19th century.

Height 71,5 cm
Width 51 cm

This profile relief of Olympias, mother of Alexander the Great, is a rare model. It was made after a 15th century model by Desiderio da Settignano. Few examples of this representation are known. Another 18th century Italian relief which belonged to Catherine II can be seen in the Imperial Palace of Pavlovsk, near St. Petersburg, Russia. The third known example is kept by the Philadelphia Museum of art in the United States.

As a mysterious figure actively involved in the political life of her time, Olympias has not been represented much due to her bad reputation. Indeed, she would have ordered several murders and would not have held the role she was expected to play as a woman. She is believed to have taken advantage of her influence to ensure her son Alexander to be the head of power.

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