Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver will preside at the special unveiling of a life-sized bronze statue of Minerva to take place during the inauguration of a Hall of Fame inside the California Museum for History Women and the Arts. The statue has been donated by Collie Christensen (CEO of Equus Eleven) and his wife Kira Christensen. Minerva a classical symbol of wisdom features prominently on the Great Seal of the State of California. Since 2004 the California Museum for History Women and the Arts has recognized the distinguished women of California with the annual Minerva Award. The statue valued at $950,000 will be on prominent view at the newly built Minerva exhibit at the museum.
Maria Shriver said speaking in May that Minerva represents the 'ultimate multi-tasker'. Known as Minerva to the ancient Romans and Athena to the Greeks the goddess' deeds were legendary as was her kindness to humanity. When challenged to provide the greatest benefit to earth the goddess is said to have produced the olive tree. Source of oil and emblem of peace olive trees were first planted in California by the Franciscan missionaries.
According to mythology Minerva was the Olympian protector of democracy dedicating herself to law justice and good counsel. She was considered a prudent warrior forcefully protecting the popular assemblies from outside enemies. She encouraged the creativity of men and women in innumerable ways fostering agriculture inventing musical instruments and taking personal delight in the useful and ornamental arts.
The Minerva statue is an exact duplicate in bronze of one of the greatest treasures of the Archaeological Museum in Florence Italy. The nearly life-sized statue represents the Roman goddess in a pose of dignified self-assured conversation. She extends her right arm and hand as if to expound a point. Her other hand is wrapped inside her cloak resting easily on her hip. Her classical attire consists of a cloak known as a himation which covers her left shoulder and is drawn tightly around her body. Its broad form contrasts with the many vertical folds of the robe or chiton which reaches her feet. As a warrior Minerva wears a breastplate with a Gorgon's head and a Corinthian helmet crested with a serpent a symbol of eternity.
The renowned Marinelli Foundry in Florence using plaster molds taken directly from the museum original in the 1930's cast the bronze. Such molds are no longer made today. The antique prototype was discovered in the Arezzo in 1541 and brought to Florence ten years later by Cosmo I Grand Duke of Tuscany. The 'Minerva of Arezzo' is among the most celebrated sculptures of the Etrusco-Roman school generally dated to the second century strongly influenced by Greek classical art.
... even more interesting in light of the LA County seal brouhaha (see below); I guess the stay-at-home Pomona can't compete with the out-in-the-workforce Minerva ...