Winckelmann interpreted the figure as the Empress Livia, sharing the view of many scholars of the 18th century, though the names Pudicity or Pudicitia were also common (Haskell & Penny, 1981, p. 300). The view was supported by the standard depiction of Livia wearing a veil, seen on the reverse of Roman coins - a classically Roman idealisation of the modest matrona. The Pudicity was also identified variously as the elder Faustina (wife of Antoninus Pius), Sabina (wife of Hadrian), the goddess Juno, or the Tragic Muse Melpomene. By the late 19th century, scholars recognised that the drapery and the idealised, matronly depiction of the figure resonated with the sepulchral sculptures of Asia Minor in the 2nd century B.C.
The statue was not widely copied, perhaps owing to its designation as a portrait. However, Horace Walpole famously commissioned a copy from Filippo della Valle in 1740-1, placed in Westminster Abbey in 1754 as a monument to his mother. The memorial reflected her role as the companion of a great statesman, in the manner of Livia and the elder and younger Faustina.
F. Haskell and N. Penny, Taste and the Antique. The Lure of Classical Sculpture, New Haven/ London, 1981, pp. 300-1
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