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Terracotta statuette of an actor

Period:
Late Classical
Date:
late 5th–early 4th century B.C.
Culture:
Greek, Attic
Medium:
Terracotta
Dimensions:
H. 3 1/2 in. (8.9 cm)
Classification:
Terracottas
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1913
Accession Number:
13.225.19
  • Description

    Fourteen of these figures are said to have been found together in a burial in Attica. They are among the earliest known statuettes of actors and are superbly executed and preserved. Originally they were brightly painted. They document the beginning of standardized characters and masks, indicating the popularity not of a specific figure but of types—the old man, the slave, the courtesan, etc.—that appeared repeatedly in different plays. By the mid-fourth century B.C., Attic examples or local copies were known throughout the Greek world, from Southern Russia to Spain.

  • References

    Bieber, Margarete. 1939. The History of the Greek and Roman Theater. Princeton: Princeton University Press, pp. 85, 91, 93, fig. 135.

    Richter, Gisela M. A. 1953. Handbook of the Greek Collection. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, pp. 112, 253, pl. 93d.

    Pinney, Gloria Ferrari and Brunilde Sismondo Ridgway. 1979. Aspects of Ancient Greece Allentown, Penn.: Allentown Art Museum, p. 251.

    Levi, Peter. 1980. Atlas of the Greek World. Oxford: Phaidon Press, p. 147.

    Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 181, pp. 160, 438.

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
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