Exhibitions/ Art Object

[The Calf-Bearer and the Kritios Boy Shortly After Exhumation on the Acropolis]; Danseuse du Temple de Bacchus

ca. 1865
Albumen silver print from glass negative
Mount: 12 in. × 10 7/8 in. (30.5 × 27.7 cm) Image (a): 10 7/8 × 8 9/16 in. (27.7 × 21.8 cm) Image (b): 10 9/16 × 8 1/4 in. (26.9 × 21 cm)
Credit Line:
Gilman Collection, Gift of The Howard Gilman Foundation, 2005
Accession Number:
Not on view
From 1833, when the Turkish garrison was withdrawn, until 1882, when systematic excavations were begun, the Acropolis was the site of somewhat random investigation. As the Turkish buildings were cleared and the principal temples re-erected, the debris yielded inscriptions that were incorporated into the walls as they were reconstructed and fragments of sculpture that were casually grouped together outdoors or in the Propylaea. In 1863 it was decided that a museum was required. While digging its foundation in 1864, workmen discovered additional fragments, among them a headless Athena (at the left in the photograph) and the Calf-Bearer (thought to be a goat-bearer until the animal's head was found). The torso of the Kritios Boy was uncovered the following year, although his head, like the feet of the Calf-Bearer, did not emerge until the late 1880s.
It is ironic that none of these statues would have been saved had the Persians not burned the Acropolis in 479 B.C. At first the Athenians could not bring themselves to rebuild, but they changed their minds and determined to make the place of the gods even more splendid than before. Making a clean sweep, they buried the debris in pits beneath the surface of the new temple compound. Thus, when the Calf-Bearer (ca. 570 B.C.) and the Kritios Boy (ca. 490 B.C.) were photographed, the sun had not shone upon them for some thirteen hundred years. The picture is about the excitement of their discovery--a jumbled and still-fragmentary revelation of the archaic antecedents of classical Greek art.
Inscription: Image (a): Inscribed in pencil on mount, recto BC: "Gr. Arch., Le Moscophore lors des fouilles de l'Acropole en 1865 - p. 108."; image (b): Printed in black ink on mount, verso BC: " Danseuse du Temple de Bacchus"
[Galerie Texbraun, Paris]; Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York, May 25, 1981

Museum of Modern Art, New York. "From the Gilman Collection: Photographs Preserved in Ink," November 15, 1984–February 26, 1985.

Palais de Tokyo, Paris. "Procédés, Procédés," October 7, 1987–November 30, 1987.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," May 25, 1993–July 4, 1993.

Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," August 7, 1993–October 2, 1993.

National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," June 19, 1994–September 11, 1994.

Carrousel du Louvre, Paris. "Constructed Views: Photography and Architecture," November 19, 1998–November 23, 1998.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "As It Happened: Photographs from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," May 7, 2002–August 25, 2002.

Apraxine, Pierre. Photographs from the Collection of the Gilman Paper Company. Reeds Springs, Mo.: White Oak Press, 1985. pl. 41.

Hambourg, Maria Morris, Pierre Apraxine, Malcolm Daniel, Virginia Heckert, and Jeff L. Rosenheim. The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993. no. 71.

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