An aristocratic girl


Altes Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Altes Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

The grave monuments of Archaic Athens typically took the form of a slender stele, occasionally more than 4 metres high, usually showing only one figure in profile. In the late sixth century BCE, however, in addition to the numerous stelai with one figure, some represented two. The Berlin fragment, with the wonderfully tender head of a young girl, belongs to such a monument of 540-530 BCE, most of which is now in New York. Above the grave of his two children, who belonged to the aristocratic Athenian family of the Alkmeonidai, the father erected a slender grave stele about 4.10 metres in height, showing the adolescent boy and his younger sister together. While in the New York fragment a small oil flask on the youth's arm identifies him as an athlete, his little sister, in tunic and mantle, is represented as a miniature kore, without any childish traits. Like many of her free-standing sculptural precursors, she holds a flower in her raised left hand, while her brother in New York holds a pomegranate. The subtle modelling of the girl's face with its almond-shaped eyes – still depicted frontally – and the precisely stylized rendering of the hair, show that this is the work of one of the finest sculptors of Late Archaic Athens. Clearly visible traces of red paint in the eye and hair are a reminder that the intended effect of this very flat relief relied very much on the colour. Crowning the stele is the guardian of the tomb, a slim crouching sphinx on a capital with double volutes.

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  • Title: An aristocratic girl
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: -540/-530
  • Location: Attica
  • Physical Dimensions: h57 cm
  • Type: Fragment
  • Medium: Marble with traces of paint
  • Inv.-No.: Sk 1531
  • ISIL-No.: DE-MUS-814319
  • External link: Altes Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Copyrights: Text: © Scala Publishers / Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Andreas Scholl || Photo: © b p k - || Photo Agency / Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Johannes Laurentius
  • Collection: Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz


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