Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Terracotta figure of a reclining youth

Late Classical or Hellenistic
4th–3rd century B.C.
Greek, South Italian, Tarentine
H. 15 1/8 in. (38.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1920
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 161
This group of works, of varying date but acquired together, illustrates a characteristic subject among Tarentine terracottas. Although the examples are fragmentary, they show male figures reclining in a context that probably has to do with the wine god, Dionysos. The figures who support themselves on their left arm and have their lower body draped evoke participants in a symposium. The youths on the backs of creatures real and mythological introduce another realm of reality. The identity and meaning of the subjects remain to be elucidated. The difficulty is particularly great because the iconography reflects not only long-standing Greek traditions but also funerary practices, mysteries, and other observances specific to Tarentum.
M.E.P. 1923. "Greek Terracottas." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 18(9): p. 214.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1953. Handbook of the Greek Collection. p. 80, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Karoglou, Kyriaki. 2016. "The Collection of Greek Terracotta Figurines at The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Les Carnets de l’ACoSt, 14: n. 29 [p. 8].

Related Objects

Terracotta statuette of a reclining figure

Date: 4th–3rd century B.C. Medium: Terracotta Accession: 20.214 On view in:Gallery 161

Terracotta statuette of a woman looking into a box mirror

Date: 3rd–2nd century B.C. Medium: Terracotta Accession: 12.229.19 On view in:Gallery 158

Terracotta statuette of a woman

Date: 2nd century B.C. Medium: Terracotta Accession: 30.117 On view in:Gallery 171

Bronze statuette of a veiled and masked dancer

Date: 3rd–2nd century B.C. Medium: Bronze Accession: 1972.118.95 On view in:Gallery 163

Bronze statuette of a rider wearing an elephant skin

Date: 3rd century B.C. Medium: Bronze Accession: 55.11.11 On view in:Gallery 163