Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Fragment of a limestone relief with two standing figures

Late Classical or Hellenistic
4th–3rd century B.C.
Greek, South Italian, Tarentine
Overall: 13 x 17 3/4 x 3 1/4 in. (33 x 45.1 x 8.3 cm)
Stone Sculpture
Credit Line:
Purchase, Mrs. Sandy Brue Gift, 1996
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 162
The large fragment, framed on three sides, is the right end of an oblong relief. Shows two figures standing in a frontal position at a cavelike opening which is set against the outer edge of the panel. A woman dressed in a chiton, with her himation pulled over her head and around her waist, stands quietly near the cave extending her right hand to a tall nude male figure with a cloak slung over his shoulder and a round form behind his shoulder which may represent a petasos tied around his neck. The man reaches with his right arm toward whatever was represented next to him on the right and apparently extended his other arm to hold the woman's hand. A ribbon-like form appears to flutter near his right arm and above it the remains of a rounded shape can be seen close to the upper rim of the relief. Since such reliefs are known to come from funerary monuments it is tempting to see the cave as an entrance to the Underworld. The nude figure may well have been Hermes, conductor of souls to Hades. The god is often shown wearing a wide-brimmed traveling hat, holding a deceased person by the hand.
#1232. Overview: Tarentine Case
For Audio Guide tours and information, visit
Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1997. "One Hundred Twenty-seventh Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year July 1, 1996 through June 30, 1997." Annual Report of the Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 127: p. 17.

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