Shield Strap Fragment

Object Details

Title:

Shield Strap Fragment

Artist/Maker(s):

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

Culture:

Greek (Argive)

Place(s):

Argos, Greece (Place created)

Date:

about 575 B.C.

Medium:

Bronze

Dimensions:

16.2 x 8 cm (6 3/8 x 3 1/8 in.)

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Vivid scenes drawn from Greek mythology decorate the small surviving portion of this thin bronze strip. The top panel shows Menelaos, king of Sparta, reclaiming his wife Helen after the Trojan War, which had been caused by Helen's desertion of Menelaos for her lover Paris, prince of Troy. At the right, looking on, is the goddess Athena, identified by the name written beside her in Greek. The lower panel shows the centaur Nessos abducting Deianeira, the wife of the hero Herakles.

This piece comes from a strap on the inside of a shield. In the early 500s B.C., the leather strap on a shield's interior was often decorated with strips of bronze showing mythological scenes or monsters. Many such straps come from the Sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia, where worshippers left elaborate shields as dedications or gifts to the gods. The city of Argos in southern Greece was the major production site of this art form. Although many shield straps include writing that identifies the mythological figures, the lower panel of this strap displays the artist's signature, a rarity in this medium and one of the earliest such occurrences in all of Greek art.

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

"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).

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," Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae VI (1992), pp. 838-847. p. 843, no. 97; pl. 551.

Frel, Jirí. Studia Varia. Rome: Bretschneider, 1994. "Fragment of a Shieldband," p. 12. Wrongly cited as 83.AC.111.

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: J. Paul Getty Museum, 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. Ancient Metals: Microstructure and Metallurgy Volume 1 (Los Angeles: Conservation Science Press, 2011) 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.