Muse (Terpsichore)



Muse (Terpsichore)




late 4th-mid 2nd Century BC




Marble, Paros 1
39 x 11 1/2 in. (99.1 x 29.2 cm)

Object Number



The scale and style of this extraordinarily sensitive figure recall decorative sculpture found in grander private homes in Hellenistic Greece, such as the Houses of the Five Statues or of the Diadoumenos on Delos. Her identity is not certain. She shares much with goddesses such as Aphrodite (love), Artemis (hunting), and Themis (established law). However, an attribute made perhaps either of stone, wood, or ivory and now missing, was once dowelled into the top of the tree-stump at her left. This is likely to have been a lyre, identifying the figure as one of the nine Muses, daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (memory). It may be Terpsichore, the Muse of Dance whose name means "she who rejoices in the dance". The softness of the facial features, whose elements flow into one another, was achieved by carving the head separately, to guarantee the very finest marble. This may also at times have enabled division of the carving between master craftsman (head) and workshop (body), but here, the delicacy of the right foot and the intimacy of the whole suggest otherwise.

Credit Line

Carlos Collection of Ancient Art


MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, September 2004 - Present
MCCM Newsletter, December 2002 - February 2003.|
"Museum Aquisitions," Art Newspaper 135 (April 2003): 20.|
MCCM Newsletter, September - October 2004.|
Jasper Gaunt, "New Galleries of Greek & Roman Art at Emory University: The Michael C. Carlos Museum," Minerva 16 (January/February 2005): 13-17.|
Jasper Gaunt, Veranda (March/April 2005): 124-25.|
Susan Jaques, A Love for the Beautiful: Discovering America's Hidden Art Museums (Gulliford, Connecticut: Globe Pequot Press, 2012), 41.


© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2004.
This image is provided by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, who retains all rights in it. This image is made available for limited non-commercial, educational, and personal use only, or for fair use as defined by United States law. For all other uses, please contact the Michael C. Carlos Museum Office of Collections Services at +1(404) 727-4282 or Users must cite the author and source of the image as they would material from any printed work, but not in any way that implies endorsement of the user or the user's use of the image. Users may not remove any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices, including without limitation attribution information, credits, and copyright notices that have been placed on or near the image by the Museum. The Museum assumes no responsibility for royalties or fees claimed by the artist or third parties. The User agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Emory University, its Michael C. Carlos Museum, its agents, employees, faculty members, students and trustees from and against any and all claims, losses, actions, damages, expenses, and all other liabilities, including but not limited to attorney’s fees, directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from its use of photographic images for which permission is granted hereunder.

On View



“Muse (Terpsichore),” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed September 18, 2020,

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