A GREEK MARBLE FEMALE HEAD
A GREEK MARBLE FEMALE HEAD

CLASSICAL PERIOD, CIRCA MID 4TH CENTURY B.C.

Details
A GREEK MARBLE FEMALE HEAD
Classical Period, Circa Mid 4th Century B.C.
Over-lifesized, sculpted in the round, her head turned slightly to her left, with center-parted hair, the strands pulled back in waves over the tops of the ears and flowing in a thick mass along the back of her neck, a shallow groove above the forehead locks, perhaps for the addition of a separately-made taenia, the locks at the crown of her head impressionistically rendered, with a spade-shaped forehead and almond-shaped lidded eyes beneath finely-modeled brows that merge with her slender nose, her small fleshy lips slightly parted, the top row of teeth visible, with a square jaw and round, dimpled chin, her earlobes perforated for attachment of now-missing earrings, her neck with two "Venus" lines
13¼ in. (33.7 cm) high
Provenance
South German Private Collection
Acquired in the 1930s and by descent to the previous owner
Antiquities, Christie's New York, 9 December 1999, lot 328

Lot Essay

This over-lifesized head, although sculpted in the round, was likely from a large-scale sculptural group, perhaps a pediment or a funerary monument. The treatment of the hair and neck along the proper left side, ever so slightly less refined then on the right, indicates that the head was positioned facing to her left, and that the sculptor either could not or needed not access that area. The idealizing features of the face and the treatment of the hair find their closest parallels on Attic funerary monuments of the 4th century B.C., when increasingly more elaborate groups were erected, including over-lifesized figures positioned within a naiskos. For the hair, see for example numbers 2.343 and 2.436 in Clairmont, Classical Attic Tombstones. If from an Attic funerary monument, then it must date before 317 B.C., when Demetrios of Phaleron prohibited the erection of sumptuous grave monuments.
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