Marble head from the figure of a woman

Period: Early Cycladic II

Date: 2700–2500 B.C.

Culture: Cycladic

Medium: Marble

Dimensions: H. 9 15/16 in. (25.3 cm)

Classification: Stone Sculpture

Credit Line: Gift of Christos G. Bastis, 1964

Accession Number: 64.246


This marble head was once part of a figure of the Spedos type, the largest variety of Early Cycladic figurative sculpture. Although very little pigment survives, there are clear traces indicating that some of the facial features originally were rendered in paint. This is especially noticeable where the right eye and pupil and lower edge of the left eye show in relief. The wide, open eyes with tapered corners and prominent pupils were painted with a blue pigment, most likely azurite with a thick binding medium, such as egg tempera or wax. Azurite, which has been cited as occurring on Cycladic objects, is best applied in multiple layers. The thick consistency of the pigment would naturally protect the marble surface from the erosion that occurred on the rest of the face.