Niobe is a character in Greek mythology who's name and narrative was first featured in Homer's Iliad and has since been a popular myth in numerous writings artworks.
There is little known about the provenance of this sculpture, though it is believed to originate from the collections and workshops of Pierre and Francois Lucas.
The myth of Niobe is centred on the consequences of hybris, a concept that follows the punishments which follow if you act with arrogance towards the gods.
Niobe had claimed, in a fit of arrogance, that her fourteen children were superior to Leto (the mother of Apollo and Artemis). The twins killed all of the children in front Niobe's eyes. Her husband soon after committed suicide and Niobe fled to Mount Sipylus. There she pleaded to the Gods to give an end to her pain. Zeus felt sorry for her and transformed her into a rock, turning her feelings to stone. However, even as a rock, Niobe continued to cry. Her endless tears poured forth as a stream from the rock and it seems to stand as a reminder of a mother's eternal mourning.