Neoclassical Bocca della Verità Marble

  • This Italian marble relief is a rare reduction of the ancient Roman sculpture Bocca della Veritá
  • This one-of-a-kind early 19th-century copy would have been a commission for a client of great wealth
  • Bocca della Veritá is famed for the legend that it will bite the hand of anyone who lies
  • Masterfully executed, it possesses all of the strength and mystery of the larger-than-life original
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-3792

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This masterfully executed Italian marble relief is a rare reduction of one of the most famous works of ancient sculpture ever discovered — Bocca della Verità, or “The Mouth of Truth.” Sheltered under the portico of the Santa Maria in Cosmedin Church in Rome, the original Bocca della Veritá serves as the beloved symbol of Rome itself and remains one of the most important examples of ancient Roman art in existence. This one-of-a-kind early 19th-century copy would have been a special commission for a client of particular wealth and importance. It is executed with a high level of authenticity, including the imperfections of the ancient version, and it possesses all of the strength and mystery of the larger-than-life original.

Bocca della Veritá originally served as a drain cover, possibly in the Temple of Hercules Victor. The large, circular stone disc is thought to depict a sea or river god, and it takes the form of a face with flowing hair and mouth wide open. In the Middle Ages, a legend was born that the face would bite off the hand of anyone who told a lie while inserting the offending hand in its mouth. This myth enchanted Europeans, and the mask became a hugely popular tourist attraction for Rome — a tradition that has continued into the present day. This exceptional work represents the neoclassical fascination with the ancient world, and it serves as an impressive reminder of the grandeur of the Roman Empire.

Early 19th century

Mask: 15 1/8" diameter x 3 1/2" deep
With stand: 18 5/8" high
Mask weight: 45 pounds
Neoclassical Bocca della Verità Marble
Period: 1816-1918
Origin: Italy
Type: Sculpture
Depth: 15.13 Inches
Width: 15.13 Inches
Height: 3.5 Inches
Style: Neoclassicism

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