Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Marble grave stele of a woman

Period:
Classical
Date:
425–400 B.C.
Culture:
Greek, Boeotian
Medium:
Marble, Pentelic
Dimensions:
Overall: 62 1/4 x 38in. (158.1 x 96.5cm)
Classification:
Stone Sculpture
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1908
Accession Number:
08.258.42
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 156
The deceased, seated on a chair, holds a lekythos (oil flask) in her raised left hand and a large pyxis (box) on her lap. Although the stele is said to be from Attica, the simplified treatment of the pediment, the somewhat stiff pose of the figure, and the type of marble suggest that it was carved in Boeotia. A flat area at the upper right of the relief has been worked over with a claw chisel, leaving short, parallel, toothlike marks. Such marks would be unlikely on finished grave reliefs of the classical period, for they would have been smoothed with a flat chisel. The presence of the marks suggests that the stele was reworked at a later time. A number of stelai with similar reworked surfaces have been found at Thespiae, in Boeotia. During the Roman period, the Thespians reused ancestral gravestones from the late fifth and fourth centuries B.C. to mark the graves of their own dead. The reliefs were often slightly refurbished: surfaces might be reworked with a claw chisel, inscriptions replaced with new ones, and figures totally removed.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1917. Handbook of the Classical Collection. p. 209, fig. 125, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1927. Handbook of the Classical Collection. pp. 249-49, fig. 173, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1930. Handbook of the Classical Collection. pp. 249-49, fig. 173, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1936[1934]. A Guide to the Collections, Part 1: Ancient and Oriental Art, 2nd edn. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1950. The Sculpture and Sculptors of the Greeks, 3rd edn. pp. 99, 443, fig. 294, New Haven: Yale University Press.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1953. Handbook of the Greek Collection. pp. 138, 278, pl. 118b, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1954. Catalogue of Greek Sculptures. no. 75, pp. 50-51, pl. 61, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Robertson, Martin and Cambridge University Press. 1975. A History of Greek Art, Vols. 1 and 2. p. 366, Cambridge, England.

Harrison, Evelyn B. 1990. "Repair, Reuse, and Reworking of Ancient Greek Sculpture." Marble: Art Historical and Scientific Perspectives on Ancient Sculpture, Dr. Marion True and Mr. Jerry Podany, eds. pp. 173, 174, fig. 11a,b, Malibu, C.A.: J. Paul Getty Museum.

Clairmont, Christoph W. 1993. Classical Attic Tombstones, Vol. 1. no. 1.181, pp. 247-8, Kilchberg: Akanthus.

Harrison, Evelyn B. 2000. "Eumolpos Arrives in Eleusis." Hesperia, 69 (3): pp. 286-7, fig. 20.

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