The J. Paul Getty Museum

Grave Stele of Herophanta and Posideos

Object Details

Title:

Grave Stele of Herophanta and Posideos

Artist/Maker:

Unknown

Culture:

East Greek

Places:

Asia Minor (Place Created)
Smyrna, Turkey (Place Found)

Date:

about 150 B.C.

Medium:

Marble

Object Number:

71.AA.288

Dimensions:

151.4 × 57 × 11.5 cm (59 5/8 × 22 7/16 × 4 1/2 in.)

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Object Description

The Greek city of Smyrna, on the coast of modern Turkey, honored prominent citizens at their death by erecting monuments. The form of a stele, or grave marker, with figures set in a shallow naiskos topped by honorific wreathes and an architectural pediment is typical of the monuments made at Smyrna.

This stele honored Herophanta, who was a priestess of Demeter, the goddess of fertility, and her husband Posideos. Herophanta stands to the right of the large central torch, a symbol of Demeter, while her husband and two children stand on the left. Her husband Posideos is shown as a cultivated man, in a pose used earlier to depict philosophers and oraters. The inscriptions name both individuals: "The demos honors Posideos, son of Demokleios" and "The demos honors Herophanta, daughter of Timon."

This monument is unusual, because unlike most civic stelai, it includes not only Herophanta but also her family. By the 100s B.C., when this stele was made, the family emphasis found on earlier gravestones had largely disappeared and was replaced by figures that stand frontally like statues without interacting.

Provenance
Provenance
before 1715

Found: Smyrna, Turkey (first recorded in Lucas 1720)

after 1848/by 1872

William Lowther, second earl of Lonsdale, English, 1787 - 1872 (Lowther Castle, Cumbria, England), by inheritance to his heirs, 1872.

1872 - 1876

Henry Lowther, third earl of Lonsdale, 1818 - 1876, by inheritance to his heirs, 1876.

1876 - 1882

St George Henry Lowther, fourth earl of Lonsdale, 1855 - 1882, by inheritance to his heirs, 1882.

1882 - 1944

Hugh Cecil Lowther, fifth earl of Lonsdale, 1857 - 1944, by inheritance to his heirs, 1944.

1944 - 1953

Lancelot Edward Lowther, sixth earl of Lonsdale, 1867 - 1953, by inheritance to his heirs, 1953.

1953 - 1969

James Hugh William Lowther, seventh earl of Lonsdale, 1922 - 2006 (Lowther Castle, Cumbria, England) [sold, Sotheby's, London, July 1, 1969, lot 134, to Royal Athena Galleries.]

1969 - 1971

Royal Athena Galleries (New York, New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1971.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
Selected Works from the Ancient Art Collection of the John Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, California, (May 29 to July 10, 1971)
  • Hetzel Union Gallery (State College), May 29 to July 10, 1971
Bibliography
Bibliography

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Selected Works from the Ancient Art Collection of the John Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, California, exh. cat. (University Park: The Pennsylvania State University College of Arts and Architecture, 1971), no. 8.

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