Statue of a Standing Siren

Object Details


Statue of a Standing Siren




Greek (South Italian,Tarantine)


Tarentum (Taras), South Italy (Place created)


330–300 B.C.


Terracotta with white slip and polychromy (red)

Object Number:



140 × 48 × 68 cm (55 1/8 × 18 7/8 × 26 3/4 in.)

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The upper half of the Siren’s body is human, while the lower half features a bird’s tail, legs, and talons, which grip a small, rocky base. The bird part is identical to a second Siren (76.AD.11.2), both of which compose a group with a seated poet, possibly Orpheus (76.AD.11.1). The Siren wears a thigh-length chiton with an apoptygma (cape-like fold) that clings to her body, forming “windswept” pleats. A sash is wrapped high around the chest and two shoulder straps cross over the bust, in the opposite direction relative to those of the other Siren. Her left hand is held in front of her chest, and her right arm stretches further out, a pose that suggests singing or dancing. Her face, turned proper right, has features resembling those of the seated poet: well-defined, almond-shaped eyes with a low eyebrow ridge; straight nose with a rounded tip; clearly defined, fleshy lips and prominent chin. Her short neck is marked by a “Venus ring.” Roughly modeled, short curls, most of which have broken off, are applied to her head. There are three holes on the rocky base and beneath her tail. Sirens were mythological creatures whose singing lured sailors to their deaths. While the precise identity of the seated poet is uncertain, the imagery of the sculptural group is funerary in nature and may have decorated a tomb.

Related Works
- 1976

Bank Leu, A.G. (Zurich, Switzerland), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1976.

Ancient Art from the Permanent Collection (March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004)
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