Sicily’s Head Of Hades

Until Sunday, August 8, this magnificent “Head of Hades,” also known as Barbablù will be in a special short exhibition at the Museo Archeologico Regionale “Antonino Salinas” – Palermo. The head, which is normally housed in the Museum at Aidone in Enna Province, was brought to Palermo briefly in order to promote the Barbablù Fest, a theater and music festival that will take place from August 19 to September 4 in Aidone at the Morgantina archaeological site.

This piece is an extraordinary work of Greek ancient art from c. 350 BCE. Made of terracotta and still possessing blue coloring in the beard and red pigment in its individual curls of hair, it is thought to be the head of Plutone or Hades, the dark god of the underworld and partner of the goddess and queen of the underworld, Persephone. In concert with the Goddess of Morgantina and the Acroliths of Demeter and Kore/Persephone, Barbalù is one of many outstanding works of art found in the extraordinary galleries at Aidone that host the findings from ancient Morgantina. NB The grooves of Hades’ eyes probably held metal eyelashes, and it is presumed that the piece was separated from the body of a full statue.

(Photo is a scan from the book Sicily Culture and Conquest by Dirk Booms and Peter Higgs.)

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