Large inlaid eyes once enhanced the fearsome appearance of this griffin head, one of several decorative attachments for the rim of a monumental bronze cauldron dedicated at the Greek sanctuary of Olympia. Amber, bone, and ivory were often used for inlays in bronze sculpture. Chromatic variation could also be produced using different metal alloys. Here, the copper beading and rivets along the edge of the griffin’s neck are made of a metal distinct from the rest of the head.
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Title:Bronze head of a griffin
Date:third quarter of the 7th century BCE
Dimensions:H. 10 3/16 in. (25.8 cm)
Credit Line:Bequest of Walter C. Baker, 1971
Chance find by Th. Karachalios, supervisor of the Olympia Museum, in the bed of the Kladeos river at Olympia, near the gymnasium, in December 1914; in 1937/38 published as no longer to be found at the Olympia Museum; [by 1936, with Theodore Zoumpoulakis, Athens and Paris]; [Summer 1936, purchased by Joseph Brummer from Th. Zoumpoulakis]; [1936-1948, with Joseph Brummer, New York]; January 15, 1948, purchased by Walter C. Baker from J. Brummer; 1948-1971, collection of Walter C. Baker, New York; acquired in 1972, bequest of Walter C. Baker.
1915. "Chalkos kephale gryos ex Olympias." Archaiologikon deltion, vol. 1: pp. 88–89.
Buschor, Ernst. 1936. Die Plastik der Griechen. pp. 19–20, Berlin: Rembrandt Verlag.
Kunze, Emil and Hans Schleif. 1937/38. "Kessel und Kesselteile." Bericht über die Ausgrabungen in Olympia, vol. 2. p. 114 n. 2, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter & Co.
von Bothmer, Dietrich and René d'Harnoncourt. 1950. Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities: An Exhibition from the Collection of Walter Cummings Baker, Esq. no. 8, p. 7, pl. 2, New York: Walter Cummings Baker.
Hanfmann, George M.A. 1954. Ancient art in American private collections : A loan exhibition at the Fogg Art Museum of Harvard University. no. 198, cover, Cambridge: Harvard Art Museums.
von Bothmer, Dietrich. 1961. Ancient Art from New York Private Collections: Catalogue of an Exhibition held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, December 17, 1959–February 28, 1960. no. 128, p. 33, pls. 44, 46–47, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
von Bothmer, Dietrich. 1975. "Greek and Roman Art." Notable Acquisitions (Metropolitan Museum of Art), No. 1965/1975: p. 118.
Mertens, Joan R. 1985. "Greek Bronzes in the Metropolitan Museum of Art." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 43(2): no. 9, pp. 20–21.
Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1987. Greece and Rome. no. 20, pp. 34–35, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Mattusch, Carol. 1988. Greek Bronze Statuary: From the Beginnings through the Fifth Century B.C.. pp. 36–37, fig. 3.8, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Mattusch, Carol. 1990. "A Trio of Griffins from Olympia." Hesperia, 59(3): pp. 549–60, pl. 91a–d.
Howard Kathleen. 1994. Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide: Works of Art Selected by Philippe De Montebello pp. 8, 13, 20–21, 30–31, 38, fig. 9, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Mertens, Joan R. 2002. "An Early Greek Bronze Sphinx Support." Metropolitan Museum Journal, 37: pp. 30–1, fig. 18.
Mertens, Joan R. 2002. "An Early Greek Bronze Sphinx Support." Metropolitan Museum Journal, 37: pp. 30–31, fig. 18.
Gehring, Ulrich. 2004. Die Greifenprotomen aus dem Heraion von Samos. p. 351, Bonn: Habelt.
Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome no. 36, pp. 53, 415–16, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Hemingway, Seán and De Abramitis. 2015. "The Use of Inlays in Early Greek Bronzes." Artistry in Bronze : The Greeks and Their Legacy : XIX International Congress on Ancient Bronzes, Jens M. Daehner, Kenneth Lapatin, and Ambra Spinelli, eds. pp. 118–19, fig. 14.4, Los Angeles: The Getty Conservation Institute.
Hemingway, Seán. 2021. How to Read Greek Sculpture. no. 4, pp. 54–55, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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