Grave Naiskos of a Seated Woman with Two Standing Women

Object Details

Title:

Grave Naiskos of a Seated Woman with Two Standing Women

Artist/Maker(s):

Unknown

Culture:

Greek

Date:

about 340 B.C.

Medium:

Marble

Dimensions:

110 x 100 x 25.2 cm (43 5/16 x 39 3/8 x 9 15/16 in.)

See more

See less

Three women fill this naiskos, or small funerary shrine. The arrangement of the figures is fairly standard for such monuments in the mid 300s B.C. At the right, a seated woman reaches out and shakes hands with a woman standing at the left. The handshake was a frequent gesture on Greek grave monuments of this time, symbolizing a continuing connection between the deceased and living family members. The third woman, carved in low relief in the background, probably once held her hand to her cheek in a gesture of mourning. Her long-sleeved dress identifies her as a slave.

Although this grave monument follows current fashion in its overall form and placement of figures, the unknown sculptor has still conveyed some sense of individual identity. The wealth of the family is suggested by the details of clothing, the cloth laid over the chair seat, the presence of the slave, and the rolls of flesh on the seated woman's neck. These marks, called "Venus rings," represented the health and fertility that wealth provided. The monument lacks an inscription, which would have indicated for whom it was intended.

Bibliography

Sotheby's, London. Sale cat., July 12, 1971. lot no. 133.

Frel, Jirí. Antiquities in the J. Paul Getty Museum. A Checklist. Sculpture I. Greek Originals. Malibu: May 1979. p. 20, no. 77 (where wrongly cited as 73.AA.91).

Frel, Jirí. Antiquities in the J. Paul Getty Museum. A Checklist. Sculpture II. Greek Portraits and Varia. Malibu: November 1979. p. 46. Concordance: wrongly cited as 73.AA.91.

Clairmont, Christoph W. Classical Attic Tombstones. Kilchberg, Switzerland: 1993. vol. 3, pp. 308-9, no. 3.407 (= p. 364, no. 3.437a).

Bergemann, Johannes. Demos and Thanatos. Untersuchungen zum Wertsystem der Polis im Spiegel der attischen Grabreliefs des 4. Jahrhunderts v.Chr. und zur Funktion der gleichzeitigen Grabbauten. Munich: 1997. p. 171, no. 503; cat. 3.407; pl. 29, 3.4.

Grossman, Janet Burnett. Greek Funerary Sculpture. Catalogue of the Collections at the Getty Villa (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001) pp. 42-43, cat. no. 14.