The J. Paul Getty Museum

Statuette of a Seated Comic Actor

Object Details


Statuette of a Seated Comic Actor




Greek (South Italian, Tarantine)


Apulia, South Italy (Place Created)


400–200 B.C.


Terracotta with white slip

Object Number:



10.3 × 4.1 × 6.4 cm (4 1/16 × 1 5/8 × 2 1/2 in.)

Credit Line:

Gift of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman

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Object Description

This theatrical character is depicted sitting with his legs crossed, right arm folded under his chest, and left hand propped beneath his chin in a pose of reflection; the original seat is missing. The figure wears a short tunic with sleeves and belt, a short cloak, a section of which hangs below the left shoulder, and T-strap sandals. The face is broad; the eyebrows are prominent and asymmetrical and join at the middle of the forehead, creased by wrinkles; the snub nose has a broad base. The mustache and short beard form a trumpet shape around the wide-open mouth, whose lips and gums are visible. The hair is arranged into a speira, a compact, rolled style around the face and temples. This figure depicts the leading slave (hegemòn therapon), a key character of New Comedy and a protagonist in amorous intrigues, often described and portrayed in lively, mocking poses.


Private Collection [sold, Fine Antiquities, Christie's, London, July 8, 1992, lot 121, to Charles Ede.]


Charles Ede, Ltd. (London, England)

1992 - 1996

Barbara Fleischman and Lawrence Fleischman, American, 1925 - 1997 (New York, New York), donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1996.

A Passion for Antiquities: Ancient Art from the Collection of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman (October 13, 1994 to April 23, 1995)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), October 13, 1994 to January 15, 1995
  • The Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland), February 14 to April 23, 1995
The Art of Ancient Greek Theater (August 26, 2010 to January 3, 2011)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa (Malibu), August 26, 2010 to January 3, 2011

Christie's, London. Sale cat., Fine Antiquities. July 8, 1992, lot 121.

True, Marion, and Kenneth Hamma, eds. A Passion For Antiquities. Ancient Art from the Collection of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman, exh. cat. (Malibu: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 1994), pp. 234-35, cat. no. 117.

"Museum Acquisitions Between July 1, 1996, and June 30, 1998." The Report of the J. Paul Getty Trust (1997-98), p. 67.

Spivey, Nigel and Squire, Michael. Panorama of the Classical World (Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2004), p. 266, fig. 419.

Ferruzza, Maria Lucia. Ancient Terracottas from South Italy and Sicily in the J. Paul Getty Museum. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2016), no. 27, ill.