Marcia Strykowski

Nydia the Blind Flower Girl of Pompeii

NydiaAs I bumped into Nydia the Blind Flower Girl at yet another museum last weekend, I realized I’d seen her several times before. I remembered taking a picture with her once, so I enlisted my daughter to take another one. A docent wandering by, caught us in the act (photos are allowed 🙂 ) and I said, “You must see people posing with Nydia like this all the time.” “No, not really,” she replied. She proceeded to tell us about the beautiful marble sculpture created by Randolph Rogers in 1855.

Randolph Rogers (1825-1892) was born in Waterloo, NY and grew up in Ann Arbor, MI. A neoclassical sculptor, he spent most of his professional life in Florence and Rome. Rogers began his career carving statues of children and portrait busts of tourists. He didn’t enjoy working with marble, so the marble statues were created in his studio by Italian artisans under his supervision, from an original produced by him in plaster. His first large-scale work was Ruth Gleaning (1853), based on a figure in the Old Testament. It proved extremely popular, and up to 20 marble replicas were produced by his studio.

His next large-scale work was Nydia, the Blind Girl of Pompeii (1854–55), based on a character in Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s best-selling 1834 novel, The Last Days of Pompeii. It proved even more popular, and his studio produced more than 100 marble replicas in two different sizes. This beautiful sculpture shows Nydia as she escapes from the erupting Mount Vesuvius and searches for her lost companions, including the man she loves. 

I looked through my pictures to see if I could find the other photograph I’d remembered and lo and behold I came up with a total of three goofy poses. Usually life-size, you may notice the statue on the left is done in the smaller scale. These photos of us together are from Washington, D.C., Boston, MA, and Manchester, NH, respectively. Am I the only one who feels a strong need to share a secret with Nydia?

nydia the blind flower girl

12 Comments

  1. That’s neat that you have a ‘history’ w/her! I always want to run my hands all over marble statues when I see them. They look so smooth!

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    • Yes, Nydia and I are good friends, now. These sculptures of her are smooth perfection.

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  2. Love this post and seeing your “history” with Nydia. I have to look for her now!

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  3. I love the pictures! How fun that you have the same pose in all three pictures. I can totally see the desire to share a secret with Nydia. 🙂

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    • Oh, good, maybe I’m not the only one who greets her in this fashion!

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  4. Bette Norton

    It was very interesting to hear the story about this beautiful sculpture. I had never heard her story before. I will have to seek out Nydia at the MFA and tell her a secret!
    Love your pictures! A delightful post! 🙂

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  5. Nydia must know many secrets. (A story idea forms …) Love your pictures, Marcia!

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    • That does sound like a good idea for a story. Thanks for your comment, Claudine!

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  6. Gregg

    My wife fell in love oth this statue last week while we were in DC. I am trying to find a replica for her. I have not had any luck in my search Any ideas.

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    • Hi Gregg, I’ve just done a quick search and can’t find any small replicas to buy. Maybe a framed photograph of it? Good luck!

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