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Historic Images of the Greek Bronze Age: The Reproductions of E. Gilliéron and Son


Painted limestone funerary stele with a woman in childbirth

Early Hellenistic
late 4th–early 3rd century B.C.
Limestone, paint
H.: 29 in. (73.7 cm) Other: 4 3/8 in. (11.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Darius Ogden Mills, 1904
Accession Number:
  • Description

    The dying woman leans back, supported on either side by an attendant. Her torso and arms are naked, while two garments—one reddish and one pink—cover her lower body. The composition and subject of the painting derive from Classical Greek grave reliefs. This stele was found in the same underground tomb as the adjacent tomb marker and it probably once served as a funerary monument above ground.

  • Provenance

    Found in a tomb near Alexandria, Egypt, in 1884

    1884, found in a tomb in Alexandria, Egypt; 1884, purchased by Elbert E. Farman, New York; after 1887, purchased by Darius Ogden Mills from Elbert E. Farman; until 1904, collection of Darius Ogden Mills; acquired in 1904, gift of D.O. Mills.

  • References

    Gillett, Charles R. 1898. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Egyptian Antiquities in Halls 3 and 4. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 869, p. 59.

    Richter, Gisela M. A. 1953. Handbook of the Greek Collection. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, p. 132.

    Cook, Brian. 1966. Inscribed Hadra Vases in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Papers of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Vol. 12. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 12, 16-8.

    Leona, Marco and Dr. Seán Hemingway. 2009. "The Materiality of Art: Scientific Research in Art History and Art Conservation at the Metropolitan Museum." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 67(1): p. 7, fig. 6.

    Latini, Alexia, Paolo Moreno, Mario Grimaldi, and Elisa Chiara Portale. 2011. "Riflessi della mortalità neonatale e materna nella pittura ellenistica." Pittura ellenistica in Italia e in Sicilia, Linguaggi e Tradizioni: Atti del Convegno di Studi (Messina, 24-25 settembre 2009), Gioacchine Francesco La Torre and Mario Torelli, eds. Rome: Giorgio Bretschneider Editore, p. 65, fig. 25a.

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History