Votive Relief to Demeter and Kore

Unknown425–400 B.C.

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

Demeter, the goddess of fertility and agriculture, sits on a rock, wearing a polos, or crown. Her daughter Kore (Persephone) stands behind her holding the key to a temple. The two deities are connected with the Eleusinian Mysteries, an annual festival at Eleusis that offered to its initiates both the promise of good harvests and the possibility of a better afterlife. The importance of the Eleusinian Mysteries endured into the fourth century A.D., and numerous Roman emperors were among the initiates.

In front of the seated goddess, the lower legs are all that remain of the figure of Triptolemos, a young Eleusinian hero. Demeter entrusted him to spread knowledge of agriculture to mortals. At the far right of the scene, on a lower level and at a smaller scale, are the lower legs of a figure, probably belonging to a human worshipper.

The relief is most likely to be Roman in date, incorporating stylistic features – such as the rendering of the hair and drapery - that evoke the late fifth and fourth centuries B.C.


  • Title: Votive Relief to Demeter and Kore
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 425–400 B.C.
  • Location Created: Greece
  • Physical Dimensions: 53 × 53 × 3.9 cm (20 7/8 × 20 7/8 × 1 9/16 in.)
  • Type: Relief
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Marble
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 73.AA.124
  • Culture: Greek
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California
  • Creator Display Name: Unknown
  • Classification: Sculpture (Visual Works)

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