Shield Strap Fragment

Object Details

Title:

Shield Strap Fragment

Artist/Maker:

Signed by Aristodamos of Argos (Greek (Argive), active 590 - 570 B.C.)

Culture:

Greek (Argive)

Place:

Argos, Greece (Place created)

Date:

about 575 B.C.

Medium:

Bronze

Object Number:

84.AC.11

Dimensions:

16.2 × 8 × 1.5 cm (6 3/8 × 3 1/8 × 9/16 in.)

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Once sewn to the leather strap on the inside of a shield, this small bronze relief bears one of the earliest known signatures of a Greek artist, Aristodamos of Argos. At the top edge of the lower square, the signature of the bronzeworker is written retrograde (from right to left): "Aristodamos the Argive made [this]." In fact, the strap depicts two myths that were favored in that region of Greece. The upper panel represents the recovery of Helen of Troy by her husband Menelaos, king of Argos. Athena, protectress of the Greeks, stands watching to the right. The lower scene shows the Centaur Nessos abducting Deianeira, the wife of the hero Herakles. The names of the figures are inscribed beside them.

The ancient Greeks considered shields to be valuable religious dedications, and shield straps are often found in the excavations of sanctuaries. Many such examples come from the Sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia, where worshippers left elaborate bronze shields as gifts to the gods. The city of Argos in southern Greece was the major production site of this art form. Because the maker of this shield strap, Aristodamos, names himself as an inhabitant of Argos, this work can be taken as important evidence for the style of Argive art in the early Archaic period.

Provenance
- 1984

Fritz Bürki & Son (Zurich, Switzerland), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1984.

Exhibitions
Polyklet (October 1, 1990 to January 1, 1991)
  • Liebieghaus (Frankfurt am Main), October 1, 1990 to January 1, 1991
Beyond Beauty: Antiquities as Evidence (December 16, 1997 to January 17, 1999)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), December 16, 1997 to January 17, 1999
Ancient Art from the Permanent Collection (March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004
The Centaur's Smile: The Human Animal in Early Greek Art (October 11, 2003 to May 16, 2004)
  • Princeton University Art Museum (Princeton), October 11, 2003 to January 18, 2004
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, February 22 to May 16, 2004
Bibliography

Gaunt, Jasper. "Toward the Derveni krater: on the rarity of large bronze vessels of the Archaic and Classical periods bearing large figural registers." In Artistry in Bronze: the Greeks and their Legacy (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2017).

"Acquisitions/1984." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 13 (1985), pp. 166-67, no. 12.

Bol, Peter C. Antike Bronzetechnik. Kunst und Handwerk antiker Erzbildner. Munich: 1985, fig. 38 b.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 1st ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986), p. 40.

Bol, Peter Cornelis. Argivische Schilde (Olympische Forschungen, vol. XVII) Berlin, New York: 1989, pp. 52, 52, 70, 76, 89, 100.

Beck, H., P. C. Bol, and M. Bueckling (eds.). Polyklet: der Bildhauer der griechischen Klassik. Ausstellung Liebieghaus-Museum alter Plastik, Frankfurt am Main. Mainz: P. von Zabern, 1990, pp. 507-8, ill. (P. C. Bol).

Jeffery, L.H. The Local Scripts of Archaic Greece. Rev. ed. with supplement by A.W. Johnston (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990), p. 444, B, pl. 74.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1991), p. 29.

Rolley, Claude. "Les bronzes grecs et romains: Recherces recentes," Revue Archeologique 1991, 2, pp. 281-296, p. 286. Cited without accession number.

Velasco, Francisco Diez de. "Nessos." In Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae VI (1992), pp. 838-847, p. 843, no. 97; pl. 551.

Frel, Jiří. "The Portraits of Demetrios Polioketes by Lysippos and Teisikrates." In Studia Varia (Rome: Bretschneider, 1994), "Fragment of a Shieldband," p. 12. Wrongly cited as 83.AC.111.

Bodel, John, and Stephen Tracy. Greek and Latin Inscriptions in the USA: A Checklist (New York: American Academy in Rome, 1997), p. 9.

Towne Markus, Elana. Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Antiquities. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 30.

Wachter, Rudolf. Non-Attic Vase Inscriptions (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), p.111.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection (Los Angeles: 2002), p. 33.

Despini, Aikaterini. "Ein eisernes Ochanon eines Schildes aus Sindos," in Dimitris Damaskos (ed.), Epitymvion Gerhard Neumann (Athens, 2003), p. 72, n. 24.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007), p. 12, ill.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010), p. 34.

Scott, David A. Ancient Metals: Microstructure and Metallurgy (Los Angeles: Conservation Science Press, 2011), vol. 1, pp. 162-163, figs. 9.79-9.82.

Mattusch, Carol C. Enduring Bronze: Ancient Art, Modern Views (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2014), pp. 60-61, fig. 37.