Owls of a type that can still be seen flitting about the Akropolis of Athens were associated with Athena, whose sanctuary was on top of that high rocky plateau. For centuries, the principle coinage of Athens showed the head of Athena on one side and an owl on the other. Here the goddess stands relaxed, ready to let the bird fly.
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Title:Bronze statuette of Athena flying her owl
Date:ca. 460 BCE
Dimensions:H. 5 15/16 in. (15 cm)
Credit Line:Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1950
Probably from Athens
Early 1800s, acquired by Lord Elgin in Athens; until 1950, collection of Lord Elgin and descendants, Broomhall House, Fife, Scotland; 1933-1949, on loan to the British Museum; acquired in 1950, purchased from Edward James Bruce, 10th Earl of Elgin, 14th Earl of Kincardine.
Alexander, Christine. 1950. "A Marble Lekythos and the Elgin Athena." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 9.2: p. 59.
Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1950. Small Sculptures in Bronze: A Picture Book. p. 19, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Alexander, Christine. 1950. "A Marble Lekythos and the Elgin Athena." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 9(2): p. 59.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1953. Handbook of the Greek Collection. pp. 81, 221, pl. 61, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1970. Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries. New York: Dutton.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1970. "The Department of Greek and Roman Art: Triumphs and Tribulations." Metropolitan Museum Journal, 3: pp. 83, 87, fig. 27.
von Bothmer, Dietrich. 1978. Antichnoe iskusstvo iz muzeia Metropoliten, Soedinennye Shtaty Ameriki: Katalog vystavki. no. 42, pl. 8, Moscow: Sovetskii Khudozhnik.
Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC). 1984. Vol. 2: Aphrodisias-Athena. "Athena," p. 976, no. 205, pl. 728, Zürich: Artemis Verlag.
Mertens, Joan R. 1985. "Greek Bronzes in the Metropolitan Museum of Art." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 43(2): no. 24, pp. 40–41.
Bol, Peter C. 1997. Liebieghaus-Museum alter Plastik. Fuhrer durch die Sammlungen: Griechische und Romische Plastik. p. 78, Abb. 48, Frankfurt am Main: Liebieghaus Skulpturen Sammlung.
Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome no. 112, pp. 105, 428, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Simon, Erika and Fritz Graf. 2021. The Gods of the Greeks, Prof. H. Alan Shapiro, ed. pp. 222–23, fig. 194, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
Hemingway, Seán. 2021. How to Read Greek Sculpture. no. 14, pp. 32, 45, 80–83, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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