Marble head of Athena

Period: Hellenistic

Date: ca. 200 B.C.

Culture: Greek

Medium: Marble

Dimensions: H. 19 in. (48.26 cm)

Classification: Stone Sculpture

Credit Line: Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1996

Accession Number: 1996.178


The dynamic movement and passionate expression of this colossal head mark it as a rare example of monumental art from the late third to the second century B.C., when an exaggerated baroque style prevailed in some areas of the Mediterranean. The goddess originally wore a helmet of marble or bronze, added separately. The ears are pierced for metal earrings. The head comes from an over-life-sized statue that possibly represented the goddess striding forward. The statue may have stood outdoors, as a monumental votive image of the warrior goddess in her role as protectress of a city rather than within a temple as a cult statue.