Artemis is wearing a long garment (peplos) belted beneath her breasts and an elaborately draped mantle (himation). The quiver strap which runs diagonally across her chest allows her identification as the goddess of the hunt; the quiver itself was probably made of metal, as suggested by the dowel hole above her right shoulder-blade. The right hand, which has been broken off, is said to have been extant at the time the statuette was found and to have held the recognisable remains of a torch. Artemis is resting her left arm on a female figure with a high, basket-like headdress(kalathos); the figure is wearing the attire of late Archaic korai, familiar to us as votive offerings at the Acropolis in Athens. This small statue likely depicts a female cult servant or the ancient cult idol of the goddess herself. The motif of the goddess standing quietly, emphasised by the heavy, vertical folds on the right side, contrasts with the dynamic rhythm of the body. An additional contrast is provided by the stiff posture of the supporting figure and its deliberately different clothing, a throwback to an earlier style. The painterly effect of this statuette is based to a considerable extent on these contrasts and was originally further enhanced by a rich use of colour. The traces of it that remain were more clearly evident at the time the statuette was found. The Artemis of Larnaca is a Hellenistic masterpiece of the late 2nd century BC. Given the grace of the elegant facial features and of the entire composition, it is not surprising that it was long assumed that the statuette reflected the immediate influence of the school of Praxiteles, who in classical antiquity was considered a master in the depiction of charis (grace), beguiling charm and human emotion.
© Kurt Gschwantler, Alfred Bernhard-Walcher, Manuela Laubenberger, Georg Plattner, Karoline Zhuber-Okrog, Masterpieces in the Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities. A Brief Guide to the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna 2011


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