Male Harp Player of the Early Spedos Type

Object Details

Title:

Male Harp Player of the Early Spedos Type

Artist/Maker:

Unknown

Culture:

Cycladic

Place:

Cyclades, Greece (Place created)

Date:

2700 - 2300 B.C.

Medium:

Marble

Dimensions:

35.8 × 9.5 × 28.1 cm (14 1/8 × 3 3/4 × 11 1/16 in.)

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As one of just ten known Cycladic harpists in the world, this figure is quite unusual, and is unique in the Museum's collection. Sitting erect on a simple four-legged stool, the harpist lifts his head, perhaps in song. His left hand holds the frame of the harp; his right hand rests on its sound box. Originally, the sculpture's visual impact would have been quite different, because the figure's eyes and hair were once added in paint.

The instrument held by the musician, a frame harp, originated in the Near East and is the ancestor of the modern harp. At the top of the harp is an extension in the form of a swan's head, a common feature on ancient stringed instruments. The swan's elongated neck facilitated the projection of the sound of the harp.

Provenance
by 1981 - 1985

Maurice Tempelsman (New York, New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum through Robin Symes (London, England), 1985.

Exhibitions
Early Cycladic Art in North American Collections (November 9, 1987 to September 25, 1988)
  • Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (Richmond), November 9, 1987 to January 10, 1988
  • Kimbell Art Museum (Fort Worth), February 13 to May 15, 1988
  • M.H. De Young Memorial Museum (San Francisco), June 25 to September 25, 1988
Rings: Five Passions in World Art (July 4 to September 29, 1996)
  • High Museum of Art (Atlanta), July 4 to September 29, 1996
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
Silent Witnesses: Early Cycladic Art of the Third Millennium B.C. (April 4 to June 30, 2002)
  • Onassis Cultural Center (New York), April 4 to June 30, 2002
Prehistoric Arts of the Eastern Mediterranean (February 11, 2003 to May 4, 2003)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), February 11 to May 4, 2003
Bibliography

Getz-Preziosi, Pat. "The Male Figure in Early Cycladic Sculpture," Metropolitan Museum Journal 15 (1981), pp. 5-33. pp. 5-33, pp. 22-25, ill.

Getz-Preziosi, Pat. Early Cycladic Sculpture. Malibu: 1985. pl. IV b; figs. 24 and 25; cover.

Armstrong, A. H. Classical Mediterranean Spirituality. 1986. p. 202, fig. 16, ill.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 1st ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986) p. 27.

"Acquisitions/1985." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 14 (1986) p. 179, no. 1.

Fernandez, I.G. "J. Paul Getty Museum," Revista de Arqueologia 115, Nv (1990), pp. 48-56. pp. 48-56, p. 50, ill.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1991) p. 19.

Theodorou, J. "Cycladic Art at the Getty," The Greek American, July 25, 1992, pp. 8-9, 14. pp. 8-9, 14, p. 8, ill.

Vallera-Rickerson, I. and M. Korma. "Merika ellenika ekthemata tou Mouseiou Getty", Archaiologia 43 (1992), pp. 84-87. pp. 84-87, p. 84, fig. 1.

Gill, David W. J., and C. Chippendale. "Material and Intellectual Consequences of Esteem for Cycladic Figures," American Journal of Archaeology 97, 4 (October 1993), pp. 601-659. pp. 601-59, pp. 608, 619, 645, figs. 3a-c.

Getz-Preziosi, Pat. Early Cycladic Sculpture. Revised edition. Malibu: 1994. pl. IV b, figs. 24-25, 79.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 4th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997) p. 17.

Towne Markus, Elana. Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Antiquities. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997) pp. 8, 16.

Schaik, Martin van. The Marble Harp Players from the Cyclades. Utrecht: 1998. pp. 18, 55, passim; pl. 7.

Brand, Helmut. Griechische Musikanten im Kult: von der Frühzeit bis zum Beginn der Spätklassik. (Dettelbach: J.H. Röll, 2000), pp. 11, 174, cat. Kykl 6.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001) p. 17.

Doumas, Christos G. Silent Witnesses: Early Cycladic Art of the Third Millenium B.C. Exh. cat., Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation (USA), April 9-June 15, 2002. New York: 2002. p. 76, no. 22.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2002) p. 8.

Pasetti, Anna. Non arguta sonant tenui psalteria chorda (Bologna: UT Orpheus Edizioni, 2004) pp. 46-47, fig. 47.

Baxter, John. "The Entrance to a World: Helen Pinkerton's 'Bright Fictions'." Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature vol LIX, no 3 (Spring 2007) pp. 160, 179 (photo).

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007) p. 4, ill.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010) p. 8.

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    Audio: Male Harp Player (Descriptions)