The Italian Almanac

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muses

Italian News - February 21

The muses of classical antiquity are appearing at the Colosseum in a new show spotlighting the workings of artistic creation. The exhibition, artfully lit among the arches of the ancient arena, features 40 pieces including statues, Attic vases and frescoes from Pompeii. Many of the statues show giants of ancient writing or philosophy inspired by the muses: Homer, Socrates, Epicurus and Cicero.

The star of show is the so-called Thinking Muse, Polyhymnia, the guiding spirit of sacred poetry. The muse - found at a dig in central Rome in 1920 - is portrayed with her hand to her chin as she meditates on the mysteries of the artistic process. The other muses are Calliope (epic poetry), Euterpe (music), Erato (love poetry), Melpomene (tragedy), Terpsichore (dancing), Clio (history), Thalia (comedy) and Urania (astronomy).

The muses were believed to inspire creativity in every field of knowledge, from music to poetry, from philosophy to art. In Greek mythology they are imagined as the beautiful daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory.