On loan to The Met The Met accepts temporary loans of art both for short-term exhibitions and for long-term display in its galleries.

Marble female figure


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 151

Technical analysis: Multiband imaging, optical microscopy, X-ray radiography, Raman spectroscopy,

This reclining female figure with flat back slightly protruding buttocks and bent knees is complete, with repairs at the neck and knees. The lyre-shaped head is tilted back with a broad chin, flat crown and long, fine, well-centered nose in relief. Traces of once painted details may suggest a hat (polos) or scarf on the crown and strands of curly hair along the right side and back of the head. A rounded incision delineates the long, upward-tapering neck from a long torso with deeply sloping shoulders. The upper arms curve inward and project slightly at the sides. The forearms are folded left above right beneath widely-spaced, conical breasts and over a slightly rounded belly. Each hand has five fingers indicated by fine grooves. A thin groove separates the belly from lightly curved hips with arched grooves at the tops of the legs to indicate the pubic triangle. The co-joined legs are bent at the knees with incised grooves to indicate knees and ankles. The feet have finely incised grooves to indicate five toes each and are separated from each other at the ankles. The marble is heavily and homogeneously dissolved along calcite grain boundaries, giving the surface a sugary appearance. It is also deeply pitted in some areas. An orange-colored, thin patina containing iron, copper, zinc and lead covers the entire figure, and might be the result of an intense cleaning or surface treatment

This is one of the largest of the more than 50 figures attributed to the Goulandris master named for the N. P. Goulandris Collection in Athens that contains two complete figures, including the largest, by the same hand. All are sturdy female figures carved in the Spedos type and characterized by the classic lyre-shaped head with a shallow chin, narrow arms, small, widely spaced breasts, and a broad abdomen above a small pubic triangle.(1)

Sandy MacGillivray, Dorothy Abramitis, Federico Carò, Elisabeth Hendrix

(1) See Getz-Preziosi, Pat. 1985. Early Cycladic Sculpture: An Inted.ction. Rev. ed.. p. 74, figs. 62 and 63, Malibu: Getty Museum; Getz-Preziosi, Pat. 1987. Early Cycladic Art in North American Collections. cat. no. 78, Goulandris Master, Richmond: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; Very similar to Thimme, Jürgen, ed. 1977. Art and Culture of the Cyclades: Handbook of an Ancient Civilisation. cat no. 168, Karlsruhe: C. F. Müller.

Marble female figure, Marble, Cycladic

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.