The Mouth of Truth (Italian : Bocca della Verità [ˈbokka della veriˈta] ) is a marble mask in Rome, Italy, which stands against the left wall of the portico of the Santa Maria in Cosmedin church, at the Piazza della Bocca della Verità, the site of the ancient Forum Boarium (the ancient cattle market). It attracts visitors who audaciously stick their hand in the mouth.
The massive marble mask weighs about 1300 kg and probably depicts the face of the sea titan god Oceanus. The eyes, nostrils and mouth are open. Historians aren't quite certain what the original purpose of the disc was. It was possibly used as a drain cover in the nearby Temple of Hercules Victor, which had an oculus—a round open space in the middle of the roof, similar to that of the Pantheon. Hence, it could rain inside. It is also thought that cattle merchants used it to drain the blood of cattle sacrificed to the god Hercules. In the thirteenth century the disc was probably removed from the temple and placed against the wall of the Santa Maria in Cosmedin. In the seventeenth century it eventually moved to its current location inside the portico of the church.
The Mouth of Truth is now known mostly from its appearance in the 1953 film Roman Holiday . The film also uses the Mouth of Truth as a storytelling device since both Hepburn's and Peck's characters are not initially truthful with each other. In Het geheim van de afgebeten vingers by Dutch writer Rindert Kromhout,the fingers of lying children are cut off by a skeleton with a scythe who lives in the Capuchin Crypt in the Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini.
There are a number of Bocca della Verità replicas and derivative works. A full-size reproduction sits in the Alta Vista Gardens in California and one of Jules Blanchard's sculptures in the Luxembourg Garden in Paris depicts a woman with her hand in the sculpture's mouth. Coin-operated fortune teller machines have been developed and installed in different parts of the world, including one on display in the Musee Mecanique.
The Mouth of Truth has also been featured as a theme in historical European art. Lucas Cranach the Elder, a German painter during the Renaissance period, created two paintings depicting a woman placing her hand in the mouth of a statue of a lion while onlookers watched, a subject which was drawn by Albrecht Altdorfer and made into a woodcut by the Dutch printmaker Lucas van Leyden.
The Farnese Hercules is an ancient statue of Hercules, probably an enlarged copy made in the early third century AD and signed by Glykon, who is otherwise unknown; the name is Greek but he may have worked in Rome. Like many other Ancient Roman sculptures it is a copy or version of a much older Greek original that was well known, in this case a bronze by Lysippos that would have been made in the fourth century BC. The enlarged copy was made for the Baths of Caracalla in Rome, where the statue was recovered in 1546, and is now in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples. The heroically-scaled Hercules is one of the most famous sculptures of antiquity, and has fixed the image of the mythic hero in the European imagination.
The Forum Boarium was the cattle forum venalium of ancient Rome. It was located on a level piece of land near the Tiber between the Capitoline, the Palatine and Aventine hills. As the site of the original docks of Rome, the Forum Boarium experienced intense commercial activity.
The Temple of Hercules Victor or Hercules Olivarius is a Roman temple in Piazza Bocca della Verità, in the area of the Forum Boarium close to the Tiber in Rome, Italy. It is a tholos - a round temple of Greek 'peripteral' design completely encircled by a colonnade. This layout caused it to be mistaken for a temple of Vesta until it was correctly identified by Napoleon's Prefect of Rome, Camille de Tournon. Despite the Forum Boarium's role as the cattle-market for ancient Rome, the Temple of Hercules is the subject of a folk belief claiming that neither flies nor dogs will enter the holy place. The temple is the earliest surviving marble building in Rome. The Hercules Temple of Victor is also the only surviving sacred temple in ancient Rome that is made of greek marble. Today it remains unsolved who this temple was dedicated for and for what purpose.
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Hercules of the Forum Boarium is one of two gilded bronze statues of Hercules found on the site of the Forum Boarium of ancient Rome. The two statues were both placed in the Palazzo Dei Convervatori for safe keeping in 1950 and remain there today. The Hercules of Forum Boarium was likely to have been a cult image of Temple of Hercules that stood by the ancient cattle market.
Piazza della Repubblica is a city square in Florence, Italy. It was originally the site of the city's forum; then of its old ghetto, which was swept away during the improvement works, or Risanamento, initiated during the brief period when Florence was the capital of a reunited Italy—work that also created the city's avenues and boulevards. At that time, the Loggia del Pesce from the Mercato Vecchio was also moved to Piazza Ciompi. The square's Giubbe Rosse cafe has long been a meeting place for famous artists and writers, notably those of Futurism.
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Piazza Bocca della Verità is a square between Via Luigi Petroselli and Via della Greca in Rome (Italy), in the rione Ripa.
The Fountain of the Tritons is a fountain in Rome (Italy), Piazza Bocca della Verità, in front of the basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. This fountain should be distinguished from the similarly named nearby Triton Fountain by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, in the Piazza Barberini, with only a single Triton.
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Statue rubbing is the act of touching a part of a public statue. Popular among tourists, it is a form of superstition that is believed to bring good luck, ensure a return to the city, improve love life or make a wish come true.
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