Marble colossal head of Demeter from the sanctuary of Demeter and Despoina at Lykosoura, Arcadia
It was a part of the larger than life-size seated statue of the goddess, part itself of the cult statuary group of the temple of Great Goddesses, Demeter and Despoina, at Lykosoura in Arcadia; the group was undertaken by the Messenian sculptor Damophon. Together with the pedestal, the Lykosoura group was about 6 m. high and it contained four statues. The form and composition of the group is known both from its depiction on a coin issued by Megalopolis in the Roman imperial period, and from the extensive description by the travel writer Pausanias, who visited the sanctuary in the middle of the 2nd c. AD. Despoina and Demeter were shown seated on a shared throne at the centre of the composition. Demeter held a torch in her right hand and leaned on Despoina’s shoulder with her left arm. Despoina held a sceptre and had the cista mystica on her knees. Next to Demeter, the goddess Artemis was depicted standing, accompanied by a hunting dog. Next to Despoina stood the Titan Anytos, who had reared her, according to mythology. The National Museum houses the heads of Demeter (inv. no. 1734), Artemis (inv. no. 1735) and Anytos (inv. no. 1736), part of Despoina’s himation (inv. no. 1737) and four statues of Tritonesses (inv. nos. 2171, 2172, 2174, 2175) that adorned the goddesses’ throne. Parts of the torsos and arms of the figures and parts of the throne are kept in the Lykosoura Museum.
Part of the veil that covered the goddess’s head is preserved. Her hair is coiffed in wavy tresses carried back. A metal diadem was attached to holes that can be made out. Peloponnesian marble.
Height 0,75 m.