Poised to Hear More

"On that other side of her ear, this whole world around the sculpture came to life."—Jennifer Morris, actor

Randolph Rogers (American, 1825–1892). Nydia, the Blind Flower Girl of Pompeii, 1853–54; carved 1859. Marble. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of James, Douglas, 1899 (99.7.2). Learn more about this object.

How does the sculpted body communicate? Hear from Met experts, leading authorities, and rising stars, each with a unique viewpoint on the language of gesture, facial expression, and pose.

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Narrator: Two actors respond to this sculpture, Nydia the Blind Flower Girl of Pompeii. She is the heroine of a nineteenth-century story of doomed love set against the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

Jennifer Morris: I would say hearing the story behind that sculpture was really evocative for me. When I initially saw it, it sounded like she was being told a secret or something. But then on that other side of where she was cupping her ear, there was a city burning. All of a sudden, this whole world around the sculpture that's standing there came to life. As I took the pose, I was really picturing what was happening on the other side of the cupped hand, because I feel there was wind and air and movement and things crashing. And all of the energy of the sculpture is actually off-screen, kind of to the side. The closing of the eyes, the idea of her being blind, and this incredible catastrophe happening that she can only hear and feel, but she can't see, and how terrifying that must be. But then also the braveness that she's still going forward.

Quincy Tyler Bernstine: I was very moved by the aspect of her rescuing the man that she's in love with, who's in love with someone else.

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