Louvre: Diane, dite La Zingarella ou Petite Bohémienne, and Vieux pêcheur, dit Sénèque mourant

Two sculptures that are in Denon Wing’s Salle A, the hall that’s flanked on one side by Maure, called Le Moro, and is half antiquities and half mediæval stone sculpture. As with Le Moro, both of these are classical pieces that were somehow reworked or restored during the Baroque 17th century.

Diane, La Zingarella or Petite Bohémienne is a 4th century BC Roman copy of Artemis, which was remade in Louis XIV reign in Italy. The body is original marble, but the hands, feet, and head are newer bronze. This addition transformed Artemis into La Zingarella, a Romani woman. As Florence explained to me, ‘bohémien’ or ‘bohémienne’ in French retains the meaning of Romani, as they were thought to come from Bohemia. Turns out there’s a lot of works in the Louvre with Romani subjects, in Berlin museums, and other places I’ve visited in the last couple of years. It’s also a really beautiful statue, more than my photos convey.

The second work is Vieux pêcheur, called Sénèque mourant, 2nd century AD from Rome in black marble, reimagined in the Neoclassical era, between 1778 and 1784. The first, assumed original title is Old Fisherman, his lower legs missing as if he is standing in the ocean. The reimagining changed him into Seneca Dying, the pool in which he stands of red marble to signify his blood. (I think the ochre toga wrapped around his hips is also a new addition, though the whites of his eyes are original according to the caption.) A later discovery of a statue of Seneca changed him again to the fisherman.

Both these works and Maure are part of the Cardinal Scipione Borghese collection, and stylistically typical of Nicolas Cordier’s use of contrasting materials. Along with Hermaphrodite endormi, they’re also the best examples of this Baroque reworking and reimagining of classical sculpture I saw in the Louvre.