Exhibitions/ Art Object

Reproduction of the "Great S-spiral frieze" fresco

By Emile Gilliéron père, 1911 or early 1912.
Late Helladic III
ca. 1400–1200 B.C.
watercolor on paper
Overall: 36 x 26 1/2 in. (91.4 x 67.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Dodge Fund, 1912
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 171
Excavated 1884 west of the Great Forecourt of the Tiryns palace.

Ornamental spiral friezes have a long history in Minoan art. The version seen here with alternating up-and-down spirals and fan-shaped papyrus lotus blossoms became the favored ornate band frieze used to decorate most of the Mycenaean palaces. It has been suggested that the wide distribution of such a complicated pattern supports the idea of a traveling guild of fresco painters operating on the Mycenaean mainland. E. Gillieron, pere was hired in 1910-1912 by the Germans excavating at Tiryns to assist with the reconstruction of the many fresco fragments found at the site.

The original is in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens.
Schliemann, Heinrich. 1885. Tiryns: The Prehistoric Palace of the Kings of Tiryn. pp. 298-300, pl. V, VII, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.

Schuchardt, Karl. 1891. Schliemanns' Excavations: An Archaeological and Historical Study. pp. 118-9, London: MacMillan.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1912. "Reproductions of Minoan Frescoes." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 7(12): p. 117.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1927. Handbook of the Classical Collection. p. 33, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Evans, Arthur J. 1935. The Palace of Minos: A Comparative Account of the Successive Stages of the Early Cretan Civilization as Illustrated by the Discoveries at Knossos, Vol. 4 Pt. 2. pp. 874-6, London: Macmillan & Co.

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