Athena Statuette

Contributed by Freud Museum London

Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, was both interested in and fascinated by archaeology. His famous metaphor compares the both subjects: Like archaeology, psychoanalysis deals with uncovering the past and with interpretation or reconstruction.
His study in Vienna was full of antiquities he obsessively started to collect after the death of his father in 1896.
One of Freud's favourite items was the figure of Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and war, which had a special place in the centre of his writing desk. The small bronze statuette is a copy of a Greek original, made in the 1st or 2nd century AD.
But the history of the figure is not only related to Freud's personal collector's passion, but also to his personal biography: After the annexation of Austria by the Nazis, he had to flee to London.
But Freud's uncertainty of the export permit and the fear of loosing the statuette made him to smuggle it out of Vienna.
"We arrived proud and rich under the protection of Athena", Freud wrote in June 1938. And soon after his arrival in his final home, he put the figur back in its special place in the middle of his desk - where it can be visited in the Freud Museum until today.

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Roman statuette.


1st or 2nd century AD.


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