Sleeping Ariadne: the calm before the storm

In Greek mythology, Ariadne is the daughter of Minos, the King of Crete. She falls madly in love with Theseus, and gives him the ball of thread that later allows him to escape the labyrinth after killing the Minotaur. She elopes with him to Athens. But he abandons her, asleep, on the island of Naxos.

This 3rd-century-BC statue of her, asleep – a Roman copy of a Hellenistic work – is currently on display in Room 35 of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

According to legend, as she awoke from her deceitful sopor, Ariadne caught a glimpse of her lover on a boat at the horizon.

Catullus, in “64. Of the Argonauts and an Epithalamium for Peleus and Thetis”, voices her desperation at the sight: “False Theseus, is this why you take me from my father’s land, / faithless man, to abandon me on a desert shore? / Is this how you vanish, heedless of the god’s power, / ah, uncaring, bearing home your accursed perjuries? / Nothing could alter the measure of your cruel mind? / No mercy was near to you, inexorable man, / that you might take pity on my heart? / Yet once you made promises to me in that flattering voice, / you told me to hope, not for this misery / but for joyful marriage, the longed-for wedding songs, / all in vain, dispersed on the airy breezes. / Now, no woman should believe a man’s pledges, / or believe there’s any truth in a man’s words: / when their minds are intent on their desire, / they have no fear of oaths, don’t spare their promises…”

Ariadne will soon open her eyes to pain and anger: let’s watch her sleep, then, in the calm before the storm.

Arianna dormiente Uffizi FirenzeArianna dormiente Uffizi FirenzeArianna dormiente Uffizi FirenzeArianna dormiente Uffizi FirenzeArianna dormiente Uffizi FirenzeArianna dormiente Uffizi Firenze

Sleeping Ariadne: the calm before the storm

Florence - Uffizi Gallery
Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6
+39 055 2388651


Most Read

Røst Milano: authentic flavors

by Barbara PalladinoRøst is the story of a journey that starts from the very name of the restaurant – an homage to...

Under the starry sky of Val Gardena

by Barbara Palladino A wonderful night in a mountain hut, surrounded by one of the most beautiful landscapes in...

Manifattura Tabacchi: new urban Renaissance

by Barbara PalladinoManifattura Tabacchi is a rationalist industrial complex inaugurated in 1940, opposite the Parco delle Cascine (Cascine Park) in Florence. Once...

Gucci Garden: fashion, luxury and wonder

by Barbara PalladinoLocated in Palazzo della Mercanzia, at the very heart of Florence, Gucci Garden straddles reality and the imagination, summing up...