The AMICA Library
AMICA Library Year:
European; Southern European; Mediterranean
Ancient Greece Early Western World,Ancient Mediterranean,Ancient
Funerary Stele (Grave Marker)
Late Classical Period, c. 330 B.C.
Creation Start Date:
Creation End Date:
Materials and Techniques:
The architectural framework of the relief stele has been lost; the three-figure composition is not unusual. The standing male with bowed head and the seated male are stock types; they shake hands in a gesture of farewell that is common enough to be banal. Three-quarter and intermediate views, receding planes, details of folds and tucks of drapery, and the contrast of cloth with flesh are confidently handled by the sculptor. The head of the standing male is entirely in the round. More unusual is the gesture of the female figure, whose right hand is laid flat against the garment over the standing male's left shoulder; this, too, may be a signal of farewell. The irregular bunching of drapery atop her left arm is also rare, while the emotional intensity of her gaze contrasts sharply with the calm detachment of the other two figures. Though badly damaged, this stele is a fine example of Attic sculpture of the middle years of the fourth century B.C.
H.: 152 cm ( 60 in.); W.: 111.8 cm (44 in.)
The Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago, Illinois, USA
The Art Institute of Chicago, Alexander White Collection
Marble relief sculpture was used by the Greeks from the sixth century B.C. to decorate public buildings, most notably temples, with mythological and heroic stories arranged on friezes or in pedimental groups, for votive offerings to the gods, and for grave markers. The most well-known example of architectural sculpture in relief is doubtless the frieze that decorated the Parthenon at Athens. A substantial series of votive reliefs and numerous examples of funerary reliefs have also been found in Athens. This Attic funerary stele dates to the fourth century, when such stelae were produced in great numbers.
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