The head was discovered in 1956 while excavating the site of a Roman theatre, between the so called “aula dei pilastrini” (pillars’ room) and the western entrance to the theatre.
It is a valuable and special object, even though the face is damaged especially around the nose, mouth and hair. The head was part of the colossal statue of a goddess, sculpted according to the technique of acroliths that are sculptures created from assembled pieces. Such technique was particularly diffused in the Greek and Roman world for cult statues of colossal size: only the naked parts of the body were made of marble, the remainder was a sort of wooden structure concealed by drapery - often in painted plaster - or by gilding.
Written sources from the 17th century – by Bernardino Faino (1630-1669) and Francesco Paglia (1660-1701) – record the excitement in front of Santa Giulia crucified in the new church of the Benedictine nuns. These sources also mention the artists: Giovanni and Carlo Carra, sons of Antonio, who owned the most important sculpture workshop in the 17th century Brescia and province. The Carras are responsible for the Ark of Saint Faustino and Giovita in the church in Brescia of ‘Santi Faustino e Giovita’ (1618-1626). When Antonio died (1632), Giovanni and Carlo – the third brother, Stefano, would succeed as an architect – followed the steps of their late father and worked in a sort of symbiosis. The only exception that is worth noting is when Giovanni proudly signs the Altar of Saint Benedict in the ‘Santi Faustino e Giovita’ church (1645-1648).
Therefore even the Santa Giulia in the City Museum is an output of that workshop – but before 1630, when Faino recorded it – though the delicacy in the marble descriptive technique, the fine expression and the gentle progression of shades on the sculpture reveal a different touch from that of Saint Benedict signed by Giovanni. Here the rough outline is sharper and the drapery very schematic, though fascinating. It is only a hypothesis, but Santa Giulia crucified may have been sculpted mainly by Carlo, who worked as only responsible for the building activities of Duomo Nuovo between 1621 and 1659, in the role of “inzegnero soprastante alla fabbrica” (responsible engineer). Carlo also signed the majority of the contracts that survived until today, thus marking his role as coordinator of all activities related to the family workshop.