Marble head of Athena, Marble, Greek

Marble head of Athena

ca. 200 B.C.
H. 19 in. (48.26 cm)
Stone Sculpture
Credit Line:
Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1996
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 162
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.
[Until 1991, with Robin Symes, London]; [1992, with Brian Aitken, Acanthus Gallery, New York]; 1992, purchased by Morris and Camila Pinto from Acanthus Gallery; 1992-1996, collection of M. and C. Pinto, New York; 1995-96, on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art; acquired in 1996, purchased from M. and C. Pinto.
Schäfer, Thomas. 1996. "Gepickt und versteckt. Zur Bedeutung und Funktion aufgerauhter Oberflächen in der spätarchaischen und frühklassischen Plastik." Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, 111: p. 45 n. 81.

Picón, Carlos A., Joan R. Mertens, Elizabeth J. Milleker, and Ariel Herrmann. 1997. "Recent Acquisitions: A Selection 1996–1997: Ancient World." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 55(2): pp. 14–15.

Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome. no. 206, pp. 178–79, 443, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.