Statue of a Seated Poet (Orpheus?)

330–300 BC

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Object Details

Catalogue Number 1
Inventory Number 76.AD.11.1
Typology Statue
Location Taranto region
Orpheus with chair, footstool, and slab (overall): H: 104 cm; W: 56.8 cm; D: 100.6 cm
Footstool rest: H: 6.7 cm; W: 29.7 cm; D: 24 cm
Footstool rest, flat slab: H: 3 cm; W: 44.9 cm; D: 34.1 cm


Light orange in color, slightly purified with more intense shade (Munsell 7.5 yr 8/3–8/5); the surface is covered by a white slip of calcium carbonate. Preserved pigments.

Footstool (76.AD.11.4): Upper surface, sparse orange-gold pigment. The sides of the footstool show a greater preservation of the orange-gold pigment layer as well as some black pigment. The base (76.AD.11.5) has a reddish tone.

Chair: Little pigment preservation on the sides; the legs were brightly colored in a gold-yellow pigment; the center panel of the chair back is also a gold color, similar to the legs, while the areas between the upper posts of the chair and the panel were red, indicating Orpheus’s garment.

Orpheus: The head reveals traces of two colors in two layers: a red color layer partially covered with a layer of brown pigment. The drapery area is covered with a red pigment. The skin is pink.


The musical instrument and the middle finger of the left hand are missing.  The figure was reassembled from a number of fragments prior to its acquisition by the J. Paul Getty Museum. The legs, the head, and several sections of the himation were reattached. Missing sections were filled in, especially on the chair in the area of the backrest and the rear portion of the torso. During this interval, for which no specific documentation exists, it is likely that invasive cleaning also damaged some of the ancient polychromy. Recent investigations have helped clarify that the obscuring encrustations were probably added at this time, especially on the body and the head, in order to conceal break lines and areas of fill and to give the figure a more uniform appearance overall. The interior of the statue was also widely consolidated and reinforced with an added material, except in several sections where the clay is still visible. As a result, there are only a few places where the original marks of the modeling and the fingerprints of the coroplast can be observed. In 1983 exploratory cleaning on a limited portion of the footstool and chair was performed by the Getty’s Antiquities Conservation Department, revealing some of the original polychromy and the presence of footprints on the upper surface of the footstool.


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


Getty 1987, pp. 48–49; Frel 1979 , pp. 25–26, nos. 99–101; Getty 1980, p. 34; C. C. Vermeule, Greek and Roman Sculpture in America: Masterpieces in Public Collections in the United States and Canada (Malibu, 1982), pp. 150–51, no. 118; M. L. West, The Orphic Poems (Oxford and New York, 1983), p. 25, fig. 4; C. Mattusch, “Field Notes,” Archaeological News 13, 1/2 (1984), pp. 34–35, illus. p. 35; Getty 1986, p. 33; Hofstetter-Dolega 1990, pp. 11, 260–61, no. W 24, pl. 36; Getty 1991, p. 41; P. G. Guzzo, “Altre note tarantine,” Taras 12, no. 1 (1992), pp. 135–41; Bottini and Guzzo 1993; J. Neils, “Les Femmes Fatales: Skylla and the Sirens in Greek Art,” in The Distaff Side, ed. B. Cohen (New York and Oxford, 1995), pp. 175–84. fig. 51; Getty 1997, p. 43; E. Towne Markus, Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Antiquities (Los Angeles, 1997), pp. 88–89; Hofstetter 1997, p. 1101, no. 97, pl. 742; Leclercq-Marx 1997, pp. 37, 38, 288, no. 23, fig. 27; M. L. Ferruzza, “Il Getty Museum e la Sicilia,” Kalos, Arte in Sicilia 9, 3 (May–June 1997), pp. 4–11, fig. 8; D. Tsiafakis, He Thrake sten Attike Eikonographia tou 5ou aiona p.X. (Komotini, 1998). p. 231, pl. 74; Bottini 2000, pp. 135–37; D. Tsiafakis, “Life and Death at the Hands of a Siren,” Studia Varia from the J. Paul Getty Museum 2 (2001), pp. 7–24; fig. 2; Getty 2001, pp. 42–43; Getty 2002, pp. 116–17; A. Bottini, “La religiosità salvifica in Magna Grecia fra testo e immagini,” in Settis and Parra 2005, pp. 140–50, esp. pp. 141–42; F. Graf and S. Iles Johnston, Ritual Texts for the Afterlife: Orpheus and the Bacchic Gold Tablets (London, 2007) p. 65; Ferrarini and Santoro 2010, pp. 47-87, esp. 70-71, fig. 16; Getty 2010 , p. 114; Ferrarini and Santoro 2011, pp. 559–69, esp. p. 565, fig. 11; C. A. Faraone and D. Obbink, eds., The Getty Hexameters: Poetry, Magic, and Mystery in Ancient Selinous (Oxford, 2013) p. 176, pl. 5; Getty 2015, p. 26.


The male figure is shown sitting on a klismos (seat). The seat, with a broad, rounded backrest, is set on a low rectangular platform composed of two distinct sections. The first section has a concave outer edge and is an integral part of the chair, serving as its base; the second section is composed of a movable element with a convex edge that fits flush and snug against the first section. The rectangular openings on either side of the chair may have been used either to lift the figure or to provide ventilation during firing.

The body is wrapped in a mantle that covers his left shoulder and part of his left arm, leaving his chest bare and showing wrinkles around the navel and the armpit. The mantle drops on either side with deep folds, covering the figure’s legs to the calves. The legs are slightly spread, so that the clay of the garment forms thin, deep folds. The right foot rests on the footstool, while only the tip of the left foot touches it. The figure is wearing flat sandals with thongs that cross on the top of the feet. The footstool is made of a rectangular slab with moldings and two lateral elements with a rounded shape, terminating in four corbels.

The figure’s head is erect and turned toward the right. The face is rounded; the mouth, with its fleshy, carefully modeled lips, is partially open, revealing the upper dental arch; a dimple marks the point where the lower lip meets the prominent chin. The curling of the lower lip and the half-open mouth are both signs that this character was probably portrayed in the act of singing. The nose is straight, the nostrils are rounded, and the almond-shaped eyes have distinctly portrayed eyelids, with clearly depicted tear glands. The supraorbital arch, broad and close to the eye, runs directly into the upper part of the nose. The hair must have been painted, as was determined by a careful analysis of the nape of the neck, but it is possible that the head was partially covered by a headdress, as the modeling of the upper part of the forehead seems to suggest. The ears are well modeled.

The right arm, its elbow resting against the torso, is bent, reaching forward to hold a plectrum, while the left hand was probably plucking the strings of a kithara. A trace of the instrument survives in the concavity where it must have rested on the left leg.

Group Discussion

Group of a Seated Poet (Orpheus?) and Sirens (cats. 1–3)

This discussion is reproduced on each of the individual object pages.

An investigation conducted with endoscopic instruments revealed a great deal about the execution of this sculptural group.1 The figures must have been the product of a complex process of modeling. One possible hypothesis is that some parts of the group could have been made by hand and then assembled around supports or an armature, most likely made of wood, which kept the fresh clay from collapsing.2 The system of internal supports was used to establish the overall structural integrity of the finished statue and might also have extended toward the exterior for certain parts, such as the sirens’ tails, Orpheus’s arms, the arms of Siren B, and the seat of the klismos. It is likely that, as was frequently done in antiquity, several parts—such as the head, arms, and legs—were molded separately, with individual components then dovetailed together or affixed by either the barbotine method, before firing, or using additional mortar. This procedure not only facilitated the working process but also reduced the risk of breakage during firing.3 Working from the bottom up, artists likely constructed the rough figure around the framework, over which the various parts were modeled. The drapery and a number of elements on the short chitons worn by the sirens—such as the sash around the waist and the shoulder straps—were made with strips of clay applied to the figure and then carefully shaped and worked with special tools. This is documented by marks left where the shoulder strap detached from the right shoulder of the pensive Siren A. A molded head was then added to the body. X-radiographs of the figures show that the head was inserted deeply into a cavity in the body and that the hands are hollow up to the point where the fingers were attached. The breasts, too, are hollow and were modeled from within. Perhaps the sirens’ framework might have consisted of a vertical structure that held the figures upright while work was proceeding. The framework for Orpheus, on the other hand, was probably a support that roughly approximated the form of the chair, around which the various parts were shaped and assembled. Then the mass of the body was modeled up to the neck and shoulders, possibly continuing to follow the guide of the internal support. The legs, which were propped against the front face of the klismos, must also have been modeled by hand and, despite the fact that they were to be covered by drapery, were modeled as far up as the thighs. This manner of working made it possible to achieve a more consistent treatment of movement and a more organic relationship between the figure and the drapery, which was shaped over the structure of the body. When examining the interior of the Orpheus figure, one sees that in the area around the chair seat, where the mass of the body rested, the sculptor created a series of small cavities, probably to accommodate the structural supports. These served to reinforce a section that was evidently considered to be especially fragile. Likewise, on the interior of the rocky bases on which the sirens are perched it is possible to see evidence of reinforcements arranged around the central cavity.

A subsequent phase focused on working in the iconographic details, such as the plectrum, the kithara, the hair, and the ears, which are perforated, as is the mouth. The facial features were defined before the firing. Next came retouching with pointed tools when the clay was in a leathery state, followed by firing.4 The surfaces of the statues were covered by a white engobe slip; this strengthened and protected the surfaces and provided a uniform preparation surface for the polychromy. The white slip is well preserved at a number of points, and it renders the exterior surface very smooth and purified in appearance.

This group constitutes one of the most unusual compositions in the art of Magna Graecia. In the past, because of its uniqueness, the anomaly of its iconography, and its purchase on the antiquities market, many scholars believed it to be a forgery. Tests performed on the clay and polychromy, however, have attested to its authenticity, though before the Getty’s acquisition all the figures in the group had been subjected to a substantial and in many respects inappropriate process of restoration and cleaning that altered the surface and original polychromy. Since the group had been acquired through the antiquities market, there is no information about its place of discovery. It was only through an exegetic and stylistic analysis that hypotheses could be formulated as to its intended placement, significance, function, and findspot.5

The seated figure has been identified as Orpheus, the poet son of Oeagrus (or Apollo) and the muse Kalliope. He could charm humans and subdue animals with his song. The shamanistic power of his art and its ties to mystery religions constitute a central theme in the ancient thought on and the iconography of the poet.6

In the Classical period, Orpheus was portrayed as a beardless youth playing a kithara or lyre, as in the Nekyia in the Lesche (council) of the Knidians at Delphi, where Polygnotos painted him dressed in Greek style beneath a willow tree and playing the lyre, surrounded by other mythological characters.7

In Attic red-figured vase-painting, in addition to images of the poet among the Thracians, there are also depictions of his murder at the hands of the Thracian women and the episode in which his head continues to sing and prophesy even after being severed from his body. Orpheus among the Thracians is depicted with a mantle wrapped around his hips or dressed in a rich Eastern costume, an identifying feature as well as a sign of ethnic affiliation that is found especially in the subsequent repertory of Apulian vase-painting.8

The Getty character’s seated position, the presence of the klismos, and the mantle that softly envelopes his figure, leaving his torso partly uncovered, are also distinctive features of the iconography of poets and philosophers. Such figures were sometimes accompanied by a volumen (papyrus scroll), in keeping with an iconographic scheme that was formulated as early as the fifth century BC, but which was more widely adopted beginning in the second half of the fourth century BC.9

One slightly later comparison for this statue is a sculpture portraying Pindar, found in the so-called Exedra of the Philosophers in the Serapeion (Serapeum) of Memphis at Saqqara, built in the third century BC and linked to a Dionysian cult. In that statue, the poet is seated on a klismos and partly covered by his mantle as he plays the kithara.10 The same iconographic scheme is adopted for the type of the Apollo Kitharoidos, as documented in vase-paintings and statuary. In this scheme, the seated deity almost always wears a mantle draped over his left shoulder and has an elaborate hairstyle. In the case of the Getty Orpheus, the head shows traces of pigments, but that does not rule out the possibility that there was once a headdress or hairdo that extended over the hairline.11

The klismos, which is especially well represented in works of the Hellenistic period, is an element that would appear to identify the social status and intellectual gifts of the character who was being depicted in the role of Orpheus, as was also typical in the Attic repertory.12

In the context of Magna Graecia, it is difficult to establish close comparisons. Apulian red-figured vases provide extensive documentation of Orpheus’s chthonic role, with painters often choosing to depict the episode of the katabasis, or descent to the Underworld, rather than other events in his mythology. This episode is featured in a group of Apulian vases decorated with scenes from the afterlife that has been extensively studied. In these vases Orpheus is the principal character, standing in the presence of Hades and Persephone, often close to or inside a naiskos (small temple), which could be interpreted as a synecdoche for the Palace of Hades. He is surrounded by inhabitants of the Underworld, such as Sisyphus, Cerberus, or the Furies, or next to a deceased person holding a scroll; the scroll may be an allusion to the religious text that accompanies him into the Underworld, as attested, for instance, on the amphora by the Ganymede Painter in Basel. With the sound of his kithara, an attribute that appears in all of these scenes, it would seem that Orpheus saves the initiate from the demons of Hades by showing him the path of salvation.13

The Getty figure, seated and in all likelihood once holding a stringed instrument (now lost), evokes other iconographies of the intellectual milieu but not specifically linked to Orpheus. In fact, this figure does not wear the elaborate Eastern costume with Phrygian cap that usually identifies the poet in Hades in Apulian vase-painting. All the same, there are some, albeit few, Apulian vases in which Orpheus or a figure very like him does appear wearing a simple mantle and holding a kithara, though the absence of any explicative inscriptions leaves a margin of doubt as to his identity.14

In light of a preliminary analysis, it is possible to propose that this statue is not a depiction of Orpheus but rather a portrayal of a deceased individual depicted with a number of elements linked to the mythical milieu of Orpheus. These elements include the stringed instrument, used to emphasize the lyrical and poetic context of the poet-intellectual; and the presence of the sirens, with their clear funerary references.

Orpheus’s connection with the world of the dead would have been well known to any contemporary who viewed this group of figures. Through the shamanistic power of his art, Orpheus had succeeded in not only subduing the forces of the afterlife but also restoring souls to the world of the living. This achievement is narrated in the renowned episode in which he nearly rescues his bride, Eurydice, from the Underworld. In it he takes on the role of intermediary between the world of mortals and that of the afterlife, serving also as a guarantor of the rites of purification required in the Underworld.

The chthonic connection of this group is emphasized by the presence of the two sirens standing on bases, which, with their rocky appearance, clearly allude to the sirens’ origin as demons linked to the marine world. The two figures are imagined in an outdoor setting, as suggested by the movement of the folds on the sides of their short chitons, evoking gusts of sea breeze. Of the two figures, one is characterized by a melancholy, pensive expression, while the other, her arms flexing upward, is caught in a pose that seems to allude to song.15

The archaeological and literary evidence provides for the siren a complex profile and a number of different aspects, both positive and negative, that while chiefly linked to the enchantment of music and poetry, are also tied to erotic seduction and nature’s life force. Yet the funerary nature of these creatures, which are evoked in many literary sources in the context of mourning, seems to be their prevalent trait. In Euripides’s Helen (169–75), for example, the sirens, companions of Persephone in Hades, are invoked and urged to accompany funerary lamentations with their lyres.16 In funerary contexts, the sirens assume expressive poses and gestures linked to lamentation, in some cases accompanying their laments with the sound of the kithara and the aulos. That is how they are presented, as early as the late fifth century BC, on a number of Attic funerary stelae. This iconography was to persist throughout the Hellenistic period in various parts of Greece, where sirens appeared, in pairs, on funerary monuments of prominent women or illustrious men endowed with intellectual virtues. One such example is the famed tomb of Sophocles; another is the tomb of the Sophist Isocrates. In both tombs the sirens’ special relationship with poets and orators is emphasized.17

In many funerary stelae of the fourth and third centuries BC, sirens appear, invariably in pairs, posed symmetrically at either extremity of the slab, supporting the inscription with the name of the deceased. In some cases, they are shown with their hands on their heads or holding stringed instruments.18

The sirens also served as decorative motifs on the capitals of funerary monuments in the area of Taranto between the end of the fourth century and the first half of the third century BC; they were often depicted with one arm tucked under the breasts and a hand supporting the inclined head in a pose commonly used to indicate melancholy, like that of Siren A in the Getty group.19

Sirens were portrayed in the Archaic period with birds’ bodies and women’s heads; such was the case in Corinthian vase-painting, where they were a recurring motif in animal friezes. In Attic vase-painting, by contrast, they were portrayed as protagonists of the Homeric narrative, or else as musicians, as witnesses of heroic deeds, or in scenes of funerary mourning and lamentation. Beginning in the Classical period, they underwent a progressive and radical humanization, as did other mythological figures such as the gorgon. Over the course of the fourth century BC, in fact, the sirens would gradually take on a female appearance in the entire upper half of the body, as is documented with crude realism in the above-mentioned funerary stelae and, in the context of Magna Graecia, in images painted on South Italian vases and in the coroplastic art.20 In the previously mentioned Exedra of the Philosophers in the Serapeion of Saqqara, alongside figures of poets and intellectuals, there was also a pair of standing sirens, each with bird claws and a humanized bust, wearing melancholy expressions, their heads tilted to one side, and small kitharas in their arms.21

Thus the sirens are, in general terms, figures that foreshadow death and accompany the dead into the Underworld. Their role as psychopomps was already suggested in the Archaic period by askoi (wine vessels) in the form of sirens, used primarily for funerary purposes.22 In order to reconstruct the function of the sirens within the Getty group, however, a more precise interpretation of their iconography and possible semantic values must be sought.

One of the primary activities of sirens, attested by both the pose of Siren B and a copious literary tradition, is singing in an insidiously seductive manner. Their singing could prove fatal to those caught unawares, those who tended to follow their instincts and the allure of the senses. As mentioned above, the sirens’ song in the Homeric tradition is linked to an ambiguous persuasive power; they are liminal creatures between the past and the future, between Earth and the gates of Hades, set in a flowering meadow scattered with human bones. They promise a broad body of knowledge but a deceptive one, as men are lured toward another world that coincides with death. In this context, only a wise man or someone who can summon the forces of reason and thought might hope to pass their terrible test, as the Homeric story makes clear. The redeeming lesson is that only the initiate who attains wisdom through concerted intellectual and ethical striving can aspire to overcome the human condition of suffering and to achieve immortality.23

The siren represents this challenge—a crucial aspect of the relationship between Orpheus and the sirens, and a necessary step in the attainment of wisdom and knowledge—and also our natural fear of death and the unknown, the otherness that extends beyond the limits of humanity.24

If the central character in the Getty group represents a deceased person who has been assimilated to the wise or skilled Orpheus, the two sirens would find a consistent placement beside him and be assimilated with him sub specie aeternitatis. With the harmonious sounds of his musical instrument, he can not only triumph over wild creatures of an ambiguous nature but also, through the wisdom or skill and harmony evoked by the sound of the kithara, he can successfully face the final voyage and achieve eternal salvation. In this context, the depiction of the sirens in an outdoor setting, perched on rocks, harks back to literary tradition and such works as the Argonautica of Apollonios of Rhodes, where in the contest between Orpheus and the sirens there is an emphasis on an opposition between harmful and beneficial music.25

The Getty group would thus seem to evoke, in a fantastic and ideological synthesis, the figure of an initiate of Orphism who, through the contest and harmony of music and philosophical thought, has controlled the emotional forces of instinct and resisted the enticing song of Siren B. Siren A, in her turn, seems to express the attainment of a new condition, identifying an eschatological prospect for the man.26 Substantial ambivalence characterizes both creatures.

It is worthwhile to consider the hypothesis that the sirens could be an expression of a positive tone, clearly present in the complex of Orphic and Pythagorean beliefs. However, one should be wary of suggesting too narrow a correlation between figures and philosophical ideas in a sculptural group that lacks all context. Nevertheless, referencing Apulian culture of the second half of the fourth century BC is essential in proposing a functional reconstruction of the group.

Music (mousike) and the study of harmony were central to Pythagorean philosophy, which partly correlates with Orphism, a doctrine that was followed in Taras (modern Taranto) by the circle of Archytas (fl. ca. 428–350 BC), but which, as is extensively documented, was also widely popular in Magna Graecia during the Hellenistic period. For instance, a series of metal lamellae found in graves in Magna Graecia, Crete, and Thessaly are generally interpreted as Orphic documents containing instructions on how to successfully complete the journey to the Underworld.27 Although the connections between Orphism and Pythagoreanism in the dynamic panorama of the Hellenistic period are complex and problematic, one should keep in mind that philosophical and religious doctrines could manifest within various cultural and geographic milieux, in a network of interactions and analogies that makes rigid classification difficult.

According to the philosophical beliefs of the Pythagoreans, the study of music was fundamental to paideia (physical and mental training) and ethos (guiding standards or ideals), the source of inspiration for political behavior in the quest for sophrosyne (temperance) and eurhythmia (harmonious bodily health). Likewise, the perfect harmony and geometry of music, amplified in the vision of the cosmos, were models for the creation of civil society. Harmony established the sense of proportion and restraint, in opposition to excess and abuse of power. Plato recognized in mousike an indispensable tool for the education of the citizenry and the harmonizing of the civic spirit, because harmony has “motions akin to the revolutions of our souls.”28 The political value of musical education is a central concept in Plato’s Laws as well, due to the shaping power that music has on the soul. The kithara was considered an especially effective pedagogical instrument in this context. In striving for a pure sound, the teacher was supposed to ensure that the instrument’s sound was in unison with that of the voice. Musical performance, moreover, demanded a complete involvement, inasmuch as it was accompanied by recitation and bodily movement.29

During the mid-fourth century BC, Taras, under the command of Archytas, became the main center of Pythagorean philosophy and Orphism. According to Aristoxenus, a musicologist and intellectual of the fourth century BC, Archytas—philosopher, mathematician, and statesman—was an ideal representative of the bios pithagorikos, in which “good music” inspired a political practice that strove for a wise economic equilibrium among the social classes and in which philosophical reflection and political practice enjoyed an optimal synthesis. The idea of apatheia—which implies not the elimination of passions but rather their moderation through the practice of virtue—is present in the Platonic model and was later also expressed in Peri nomo kai dikaiosinas (On Law and Justice), a treatise by Pseudo-Archytas.30 It is intriguing to hypothesize that Siren A expresses the attainment of apatheia in the moment of detachment from earthly experience and the awareness acquired through the good music produced by the deceased Orpheus, and that Siren B expresses musical and singing virtue that is attained in harmony with the sound of the kithara. This interpretation can be traced more precisely to Pythagorean thought, which viewed sirens as creatures linked to the transition from life to death but also as privileged guardians of wisdom and guarantors of cosmic harmony. This concept was borrowed by Plato as well; it is expressed in the myth of Er in the tenth book of The Republic, in which he writes that the sirens coordinate the harmony of the celestial spheres. It is significant that the central theme of this myth is precisely the individual liberty of man in the choice between good and evil, the freedom to place oneself in the realm of dispersal and oblivion or else to become first a dialectical unit and then a “political being.”31

While it has already been cautiously suggested that Archytas or someone from his immediate circle was the likely recipient of the Getty group, it should be considered that the work must have been commissioned by someone of great influence living in Apulia during the first half of the fourth century BC: someone who was close to the Orphic milieu (though it would not be safe to associate it with a specific context).32 As for the original purpose of the group, a funerary placement seems most likely, considering the previous iconographic analysis and the possible identification of the male character as a deceased person. One hypothesis would place the group inside a naiskos set atop a tomb. This would be in keeping with a Tarentine architectural typology after the middle of the fourth century BC, during a revival of more lavish funerary customs and a return to the use of the chamber tomb. On large vases, probably used as semata (tomb markers), there are depictions of naiskoi within which appear individual characters and groups of figures, perhaps in imitation of real statues. However, the funerary statues inside the naiskoi tended to be made of limestone or marble rather than the less impressive or durable terracotta.33 The reconstruction of naiskoi and their architectural decoration remains somewhat problematic, for though a large volume of naiskos architectural fragments have been recovered, few have been found in their original locations; no naiskos has yet been discovered on the spot where it originally fell, much less in situ. Like the figures in the naiskoi on vases, the Getty group is configured as a mise-en-scène, reflecting the status of the deceased and probably forming part of a larger group. The use of naiskoi as semata, augmented with modeled clay decorations, is also attested in Greece as far back as the Archaic period, as Pausanias informs us. Nonetheless, archaeological evidence does not allow a comparative analysis between the types of funerary monuments mentioned by Pausanias and the situation in Taras in the Late Classical and Hellenistic periods. In Sparta as well there is documentation of many heroa (shrines dedicated to heroes), also in connection with leschai; funerary monuments comprising large numbers of votive statues have been found, attesting to the prestige of certain families.34

The presence in Taranto, in the area of the Fondo Giovinazzi, of a heroön dedicated to Orpheus was at one point proposed, but it has been repeatedly rebutted, in part because of the absence of literary sources.35 An alternative hypothesis would place this group in a chamber tomb, a type present in Taranto in the fourth century BC but widespread mainly in the indigenous context, during the period coinciding with the rise of an aristocratic class.36 This is also supported by a comparison with the tombs of Canosa, which in the fourth to third centuries BC featured terracotta statue groups, probably arranged around the funerary kline or dining couch, and with a chamber tomb in Cariati, in Calabria (Brettian territory), dating from the last quarter of the fourth century BC, in which the grave goods also included a life-size statue, of which only fragments have been recovered.37

It was in the indigenous population centers that Orphism and related eschatological belief systems were common, as Paolo Orsi had already suggested. This seems to be indicated by the fact that most of the Apulian vases with depictions of Orpheus were found not in Taranto but in places such as Ruvo, Armento, Altamura, and Canosa, where they were intended for an elite clientele.38 In connection with this hypothesis, Angelo Bottini has analyzed the attestations of salvation theology and has pointed out that beginning at least in the fifth century BC, a rage for re-elaborated and diversified Orphic and Pythagorean cults swept through the indigenous centers, especially among the localities that were directly involved culturally and commercially with the cities of Magna Graecia.39

A third hypothesis is that the Getty group was created for a purely religious context. The most pertinent point of reference, the Exedra of the Poets and Philosophers in the Serapeion of Memphis, is however quite difficult to imagine in Apulia or Taras, where the Orphic cults were conducted in keeping with more secluded rituals. One must keep in mind that, according to the literary sources, particularly Pausanias, there were a number of sculptural groups depicting Orpheus, now lost, in votive settings.40

Stylistically, the figures in the Getty group have some of the formal traits of late fifth-century BC Tarentine plastic arts. These are characterized by a fondness for fully rounded volumes; eyes with a well-shaped, symmetrical outline and distinctly modeled eyelids; fleshy mouths; robust necks; heavy jaws; and solid cranial structures. Such features can also be found in a number of Tarentine marble heads, mostly from funerary statues datable to the end of the fifth century through most of the fourth century BC. They are evidence of the artists’ determination to preserve the most distinctive characteristics of the local production, in which the iconographic types and the formal traits of the Late Classical Attic school can be clearly identified.41

The Orpheus figure, with his distinct features and the solid plasticity of the face, seems to be reminiscent of such prototypes as the marble head of Athena in Brescia, which is a copy of a Classical original thought to have once formed part of the bronze sculptural group by Phidias at Delphi. In addition, the head of the so-called Orpheus recognizable in the basanite example at the Munich Glyptothek, an Augustan copy of a Greek original dating from 460 BC (but assigned by Paul Zanker and Brunilde Ridgway to the Late Hellenistic period), can be compared to our male head.42

The general aspect and facial features of the Getty Orpheus also recall the acrolithic marble head of Apollo from the Temple of Apollo Alaios at Cirò, datable to the same period (440–430 BC).43

The Getty figure is closely comparable with a number of terracotta pieces attributed to a coroplast or a circle of artists that has been called the circle of the Master of the Singers of Taras, so named because most of the figures seemingly produced by this workshop feature a half-open mouth, as if they were in the act of singing. This workshop is thought to have been active in the second half of the fourth century bc. The accuracy of the individual details of these sculptures suggests that they used first-generation molds inspired by works from the Classical period, perhaps in bronze; this is indicated by certain technical and iconographic traits, such as the type of finish and the shape of the eyes, with their lamellar eyelids, and the curve from the lip to the teeth. The workshop is believed to have specialized in figures of banqueters or poets associated with Orpheus. Many pieces can be linked to this group; unfortunately most of them have been sold on the antiquities market and thus dispersed. They depict male characters, often wearing bands and caps typical of banqueters, or soft, pointed caps reminiscent of the Phrygian cap of Orpheus. Though they differ in dimensions and diverse iconographic details, these figures all feature the same masculine type and physiognomic and technical details. It is debatable whether they were the work of a single workshop. In any case, they demonstrate not only the artistry of the coroplasts in Taranto, but also of their technical prowess, such as the creation of a patrix (pattern or die) or parallel patrices from which molds were produced and reused, resulting in works diversified in type and iconography but associated by a certain resemblance.44 It remains to be seen whether the numerous Tarentine heads with half-open mouths depicted poets and whether they can therefore be correlated with the figure of Orpheus or with Orphic doctrines.

Outside of Taranto, the most interesting parallels in terracotta votive busts come from Ariccia, which can probably also be traced back to Tarentine workshops and dated to the end of the fourth century. These works have affinities in formal elements: clear evidence of the circulation in an Italic context of models that were also present in Magna Graecia and Taranto.45

In the absence of a documented findspot, the group can only be generally dated to the last thirty years of the fourth century BC based on style, iconography, and the hypothetical connection with the cultural climate of Apulia in the second half of the fourth century BC. Interpretation based on style alone may well be misleading, given the persistence of Late Classical traits even into the middle of the fourth century BC.


Thermoluminescence of the clay body, X-ray fluorescence (XRF), polarized light microscopy, and ultraviolet–visible spectroscopy analysis of the polychromy were performed. They all attest to the group’s authenticity.

Results of the pigment analysis:

Orpheus figure

  1. Yellow/gold: yellow ocher, lead white, chalk
  2. Red: yellow ocher, burnt sienna
  3. White ground: chalk (or lead white)
  4. Pink: cinnabar, lead white, chalk
  5. Red/brown: iron earth red, chalk

Orpheus footstool

  1. Orange: yellow ocher, red ocher
  2. Black: lampblack
  3. Pink: red ocher, chalk


  1. See the report by the Antiquities Conservation Department in the appendix to this entry. Detached curls and other fragmentary elements of the group have the inventory numbers 76.AD.11.6–76.AD.11.304. 

  2. This modeling technique was also used in the Hellenistic period for statues in terracotta. See, for example, the female bust from Falerii (third century BC) in the Musée du Louvre: F. Gaultier, “L’Ariadne de Faléries: Une chef-d’oeuvre retrouvé,” in Damarato 2000, pp. 288–97. The technique was also used during the Renaissance and in modern times. On this, see M. G. Vaccari, ed., La scultura in terracotta (Florence, 1996), in particular the study by G. Gentilini, “La scultura fiorentina in terracotta del Rinascimento: Tecniche e tipologie,” pp. 64–103. 

  3. The clearly visible line of the seam in Siren B’s left hand might show where the hand was attached to the arm. On “the technique of added pieces,” see Tomei 1992, pp. 176–77; this technique is well depicted in a kylix by the Foundry Painter in Berlin, q.v. Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, Berlin Antiquarium 1, pl. 72–73. The circular cavities found in terracotta fragments from the Palatine, thought to have been made from molds, may have been made by a support used during the assembly phase. The same procedure was identified at Olympia, for instance, in the group of Zeus and Ganymede: see A. Moustaka, Grossplastik aus Ton in Olympia, Olympia Forschungen 22 (Berlin, 1993), pp. 64–97, pls. 33–39. 

  4. For the process of firing in separate parts and subsequent assembly, see also W. Deonna, Les statues de terre cuite dans l’antiquité (Paris, 1908), pp. 20–25. 

  5. Suspicion of their authenticity has been heightened by the singular nature of some parts of the figures, such as the claws of the sirens, which elude criteria of standardized production, and by the absence of comparisons for the figures as a group due to the rarity of nonarchitectural terracotta sculptural groups. The improper restoration and reckless cleaning done before the Getty purchased this group—exemplified by the application of artificial incrustations on some sections—has contributed to the anomalous appearance of the figures. 

  6. For the genealogy and the iconography of Orpheus in general, see Garezou 1994

  7. Pausanias’s apparent astonishment as he describes Orpheus’s Greek appearance can lead us to believe that he was more commonly depicted in Eastern dress. For a reconstruction of the painting by Polygnotos (Pausanias 10.30.6), see M. D. Stansbury O’Donnell, “Polygnotos’ Nekyia: A Reconstruction and Analysis,” AJA 94 (1990), pp. 213–35. 

  8. For the iconography of Orpheus in Attic vase-painting, see Garezou 1994, in particular nos. 7–14, 23–26 for Orpheus dressed in Greek style among the Thracians; no. 16 for Apulian vases, especially those produced between 340 and 310 BC, in which Orpheus appears dressed in Greek style; and nos. 20–21, 72–84 for Orpheus in Hades, a theme treated almost exclusively in Apulian vase-painting. 

  9. On this aspect, see R. Von den Hoff, Philosophenporträts des Früh- und Hochhellenismus (Munich, 1994), pp. 23–33; P. Zanker, The Mask of Socrates: The Image of the Intellectual in Antiquity (Berkeley, 1995), pp. 52–57, 113–22; and J. J. Pollitt, Art in the Hellenistic Age (Cambridge, 1986), pp. 63–69. For examples of philosophers or poets in Greek portraiture, including the portrait of Euripides in the Louvre, probably derived from the statue erected in Athens by Lykourgos between 340 and 336 BC, see G. M. A. Richter, The Portraits of the Greeks, vol. 1 (London, 1965), pp. 137–39, figs. 760–61. 

  10. Lauer and Picard 1955, pp. 48–68. For a comparison with the statue of Pindar, see also Bottini and Guzzo 1993, pp. 43–52, nn. 22 and 23. 

  11. For Apollo Kitharoidos, see W. Lambrinoudakis and O. Palagia, s.v. “Apollon” LIMC 2.1 (1984), pp. 199–213; Flashar 1992, pp. 114–23; and D. Castaldo, Il pantheon musicale: Iconografia nella ceramica attica tra VI e IV secolo a.C. (Ravenna, 2000), pp. 15–22; for statuary, see M. Mertens-Horn, “La statua di Apollo citaredo della galleria delle statue nel Vaticano,” in Castoldi 1999, pp. 32342. For vase-painting, also consider the image of Apollo seated on the klismos, partly wrapped in a mantle, crowned with a laurel wreath, and playing the seven-string kithara, depicted on a vase by the Shuvalov Painter, from 435–425 BC: L. Massei, “Le ceramiche del pittore di Shuvalov rinvenute a Spina,” MÉFRA 85, no. 2 (1973), pp. 437–81, fig. 10. For Apulian vases, see also the Apulian pelike (wide-mouthed jars) by the Chamay Painter, in which Apollo, seated and partly wrapped in a mantle, plucks a kithara, in D. Paquette, L’instrument de musique dans la céramique de la Grèce antique (Paris, 1984), C48 and C49. For numismatics, see the seated figure of Apollo playing the kithara on a coin from Metaponto (440–430 BC), in S. P. Noe, The Coinage of Metapontum, part 2 (New York, 1931), p. 96, no. 431. See also the head of the Apollo of Cirò in which hair, probably of metal leaf, was inserted, in Settis and Parra 2005, pp. 259–62; and M. Mertens-Horn, “Resti di due grandi statue di Apollo ritrovati nel santuario di Apollo Aleo di Cirò,” in Santuari della Magna Grecia in Calabria 1996, pp. 261–65. 

  12. Beschi 1991, pp. 39–55; for the klismos and the type of footstool, see G. M. A. Richter, The Furniture of the Greeks, Etruscans and Romans (London, 1966), pp. 37–38 and 49–52. A terracotta chair with a backrest topped by two winged creatures was discovered at Taranto in a tomb in the Via Argentina: see De Juliis and Loiacono 1985, p. 387, no. 475. 

  13. For the iconography of Orpheus in Apulian vases, see M. Schmidt, “Orfeo e orfismo nella pittura vascolare italiota,” Orfismo in Magna Grecia 1975, pp. 105–38, pl. VIII; see also Pensa 1977, pp. 23–31, pl. V, fig. 1, and pl. X. 

  14. This imagery might derive from a pictorial prototype such as the renowned Nekyia by Nikias: see G. Becatti, s.v. “Nikias,” EAA 5 (1963), pp. 476–82. See the conclusions of Bottini 2000 and also Pensa 1977, pp. 46–47, no. 146, pls. VII and IX for two volute kraters, one from Armento, now in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples, the other of an unknown findspot, now at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, in which the poet is depicted as a youth wearing a mantle and holding a kithara. 

  15. For a general treatment of the iconography of the sirens in chthonic contexts, see Hofstetter 1997. For the expression of Siren A, see S. Settis, “Immagini della meditazione, del pentimento e dell’incertezza nell’arte antica,” Prospettiva 2 (1975), pp. 4–17. 

  16. In Andromache by Euripides (936), the expression “Sirens’ words” is used pejoratively, while in Alexandra by Pseudo-Lycophron (714–27), phonosymbolic effects are also used to reproduce the allure and seductive power of their song. As early as the seventh century BC, the poet Alcman placed the Muses and the sirens on an equal plane in terms of their musical abilities: Greek Lyric, vol. 2, trans. D. A. Campbell (Cambridge and London, 1988), pp. 418–19, no. 30. 

  17. On the presence of sirens on funerary monuments in general, see Hofstetter-Dolega 1990, pp. 151–83; on the funerary monuments of Sophocles and Isocrates in particular, see Hofstetter-Dolega 1990, pp. 26–28. For the Sirens in the Serapeion of Memphis at Saqqara, see Hofstetter 1997, no. 88. For funerary statues of sirens from the fourth century BC, from the Kerameikos cemetery in Athens, see S. Karouzou, National Archaeological Museum: Collection of Sculpture (Athens, 1968), p. 106, no. 2583 and p. 122, nos. 193 and 775. Sirens also appear in Attic funerary stelae; see examples in M. Comstock and C. C. Vermeule, Sculpture in Stone: The Greek, Roman and Etruscan Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston, 1976), nos. 66, 67, 72. On the presence of sirens performing music in funerary contexts, see Beschi 1991, p. 40. Also Leclercq-Marx 1997, pp. 36–40; Woysch-Méautis 1982, pp. 91–99. 

  18. P. M. Fraser and T. Rönne, Boeotian and West Greek Tombstones (Lund, 1957), pp. 191–94, pl. 31, nos. 2–3 from Apollonia, pls. 7–10 from Thebes. See also pl. 25, no. 5; pls. 26–27. For the pose, see the funerary statue depicting a female figure from Taranto, datable to the third century BC, see De Juliis and Loiacono 1985, p. 104, no. 85. 

  19. See the examples of capitals in Wuilleumier 1939, pls. 1–3; the weeping siren in a limestone capital datable to 300–250 BC in C. C. Vermeule, Sculpture in Stone and in Bronze: Additions to the Collections of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Art, 1971–1988, in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston, 1988), p. 26, no. 15; and the siren in a capital from Taranto (inv. 96.AA.245) at the J. Paul Getty Museum, possibly originally from a naiskos and datable to about 330 BC: Grossman 2001, no. 55, pp. 146–47. 

  20. On the humanized image of the siren, see, for Southern Italy, the Apulian volute-krater from 330–320 BC in Hofstetter 1997, no. 45; a Campanian hydria with siren with long bird claws in A. D. Trendall, The Red-Figured Vases of Lucania, Campania, and Sicily (Oxford, 1967), p. 376, no. 121; and the Apulian loutrophoros at the J. Paul Getty Museum by the Painter of Louvre MNB 1148 (inv. 86.AE.680), in D. Tsiafakis, “Life and Death at the Hands of a Siren,” Studia Varia from the J. Paul Getty Museum 2 (2001), pp. 7–24, fig. 4. For examples in terracotta, see the statuette of a siren dated around ca. 460 BC said to have found in the region of Taranto: K. Deppert, “Jahres-berichte Kestner Museum 1973–1976,” Hannoversche Geschichtsblätter 30 (1976), pp. 287–89, no. 18; see also from Myrina the statuette of a siren with a bust of a woman in Breitenstein 1941, pl. 58, nos. 463–64; and examples in Besques 1963, pl. 92, dated from the end of the third century BC. 

  21. In this connection, see Lauer and Picard 1955, pp. 216–27. 

  22. For the function of the psychopomp, see L. Breglia Pulci Doria, “Immagini di Sirene nella Crotoniatide,” in Santuari della Magna Grecia in Calabria 1996, pp. 239–40. 

  23. Breglia Pulci Doria 1987, p. 43; L. Breglia Pulci Doria, “Le Sirene, il confine, l’aldilà,” in Mélanges Pierre Lévêque 4 (Paris, 1990), pp. 63–78. 

  24. On this interpretation consider the review by F. Gilotta of Hofstetter-Dolega 1990 in Prospettiva 67 (1992), pp. 83–85; also Giangiulio 1986, pp. 101–54; and B. D’Agostino, “Le Sirene, il tuffatore e le porte dell’Ade,” AION 4 (1982), pp. 43–56. 

  25. G. Iacobacci, “Orfeo argonauta: Apollonio Rodio I,” in Masaracchia 1993, pp. 77–92. Compare the analysis in M. L. West, The Orphic Poems (Oxford, 1983), pp. 25–26, 29–33. 

  26. For this interpretation, see Bottini 2000, pp. 136–37. 

  27. For Orphism in general, see the bibliography in Tra Orfeo e Pitagora 2000; for the complex issue of relations between Orphism and Pythagoreanism and for Plato’s view on Orphic thought, see M. Tortorelli Ghidini, “Da Orfeo agli orfici,” in Tra Orfeo e Pitagora 2000, pp. 11–41; also P. Bourgeaud, ed., Orphisme et Orphée, en l’honneur de Jean Rudhardt (Geneva, 1991); and W. K. C. Guthrie, Orpheus and Greek Religion (Princeton, NJ, 1993). For the Orphic laminae, see G. Pugliese Carratelli, Le lamine d’oro orfiche (Milan, 2001); and Pugliese Carratelli, “L’orfismo in Magna Grecia,” in Pugliese Carratelli 1988, pp. 159–70, with previous bibliography. 

  28. Plato, Timaeus 47d; see also Republic 2.376e. 

  29. Plato, Laws 7.812 and Republic 3.398–400. On the value of music in the context of Orphic and Pythagorean theories, see L. Beschi, “La prospettiva mitica della musica greca,” in Religion, Mythologie, Iconographie, ed. L. Kahil, MÉFRA 103, no. 1 (1991), pp. 39–43; and L. E. Rossi, “Musica e psicologia nel mondo antico e nel mondo moderno,” in Synaulia: Cultura musicale in Grecia e contatti mediterranei, ed. D. Musti, A. C. Cassio, and L. E. Rossi, AION 5 (2000), pp. 105–10. See also F. Cordano, “La città di Camarina e le corde della lira,” PdP 49 (1994), pp. 418–26; L. Todisco, “Nuovi dati e osservazioni sulla tomba delle danzatrici di Ruvo,” AttiMGrecia 3, n.s. (1994–95), p. 135, n. 96; G. Pugliese Carratelli, “L’orfismo in Magna Grecia,” in Pugliese Carratelli 1988, pp. 159–70. 

  30. Although the text itself is problematic, it contains a number of elements that can be linked to the activity of Archytas. See A. Visconti, “Musica e attività politica in Aristosseno di Taranto,” in Tra Orfeo e Pitagora 2000, pp. 463–85; for the pseudo-Archytan Pythagorean treatises, see also B. Centrone, “Il perì nomo kai dikaiosinas di Pseudo Archita,” Tra Orfeo e Pitagora 2000, pp. 487–505; also A. Mele, “I pitagorici e Archita,” in Storia della Società Italiana 1 (Milan, 1981), pp. 269–98; A. Barker, “Archita di Taranto e l’armonia pitagorica,” in Tra Sicilia e Magna Grecia: Aspetti di interazione culturale nel IV secolo a.C., Atti del Convegno, Napoli 1987, ed. A. Cassio and D. Musti (Naples, 1991), pp. 157–78; and F. Cordano, “Sui frammenti poetici attribuiti ad Archita in Stobeo,” PdP 26 (1971), pp. 299–300. 

  31. Plato, Republic 10.614–621; Breglia Pulci Doria 1987, p. 43; for the sirens and the cosmic music linked to them, see W. Burkert, Lore and Science in Ancient Pythagoreanism (Cambridge, MA, 1972), pp. 350–68; also Giangiulio 1986, pp. 101–54. 

  32. For the group and the figure of Archytas, see P. G. Guzzo, “Altre note tarantine,” Taras 12, no. 1 (1992), pp. 135–41. For the political career and the death of Archytas, see G. Urso, “La morte di Archita e l’alleanza fra Taranto e Archidamo di Sparta (345 BC),” Aevum 71 (1997), pp. 63–70. 

  33. For naiskoi in the context of necropoleis of Taranto, see A. Pontrandolfo, “Semata e naiskoi nella ceramica italiota,” AION 10 (1988), pp. 181–202; for the relationship between iconography in vase-painting and archaeological reality, see Lippolis 1994, pp. 109–28, and E. Lippolis, “Taranto: Forma e sviluppo della topografia urbana,” pp. 119–69 in AttiTaranto 41 (2002). For an overall analysis of Tarentine necropoleis, see E. Lippolis, “Organizzazione delle necropoli e struttura sociale nell’Apulia ellenistica: Due esempi: Taranto e Canosa,” in Romische Graberstrassen: Kolloquium in München vom 28. bis 30 Oktober 1985, ed. H. von Hesberg and P. Zanker (Munich, 1987), pp. 139–54. On Macedonian influence on Tarentine funerary sculpture from the end of the fourth through the third century BC, see E. Lippolis, “Ricostruzione e architettura a Taranto dopo Annibale,” in Sicilia ellenistica, consuetudo italica: Atti del Convegno, Spoleto, Complesso monumentale di S. Nicolò, 5–7 novembre 2004, ed. M. Osanna and M. Torelli (Rome, 2006), pp. 211–26. 

  34. Pausanias 3.12.8–9 and 3.25–27; for funerary monuments in Sparta from the Archaic period, see S. Raftopoulou, “Contributo alla topografia di Sparta durante l’età geometrica ed arcaica,” in AttiTaranto 41 (2002), pp. 25–42; also Nafissi 1991, pp. 321–22, 331–34. 

  35. On the supposed heroön of Orpheus, see Lippolis 1982, esp. 126–28. 

  36. In this connection, see Lippolis 1994, pp. 41–66. The context of a chamber tomb might have ensured better preservation of the group than a naiskos; archaeological studies have revealed that naiskoi were already being dismantled in Roman times, with resulting dispersal and fragmentation of the material. 

  37. P. G. Guzzo and S. Luppino, “Due tombe fra Thurii e Crotone,” MÉFRA 92, no. 1 (1980), pp. 821–914, figs. 18–19. 

  38. See Bottini 2000; also L. Todisco, “Nuovi dati e osservazioni sulla tomba delle danzatrici di Ruvo,” AttiMGrecia 3 (1994–95), p. 138, n. 112, and Pensa 1977, pp. 83–88. 

  39. Evidence would include materials placed in the tomb, not just signs of prestige but also objects that affirm religious or social behaviors. See, for instance, the small golden lamina found at Caudium (modern Montesarchio) in a tomb from the fourth century BC and the discovery of tombs such as the one in Ruvo del Monte that yielded a red-figured calyx krater showing the abduction of a young man by Eos, which can be interpreted as a metaphor for the hope of winning a new life after death. Similarly, the reference to Orphism, more allusive in the indigenous centers, can be viewed in the context of a theme of redemption and salvation, with reference to the myths of Boreas and Helen as well. Historical and philological studies have revealed the participation of indigenous personalities in Pythagorean life; in this connection, see A. Bottini, Archeologia della salvezza (Milan, 1992), pp. 104–15; P. Poccetti, “La diffusione di dottrine misteriche e sapienziali nelle culture indigene dell’Italia antica: Appunti per un dossier,” in Tra Orfeo e Pitagora 2000, pp. 91–126; Bottini 2000; and A. Mele, “Il Pitagorismo e le popolazioni anelleniche,” AION 3 (1981), pp. 61–96. 

  40. See F. G. Cavarretta, “Diffusione diacronica dell’iconografia di Orfeo in ambiente occidentale,” in Masaracchia 1993, pp. 399–407. Pausanias mentions a statue of Orpheus on Mount Helikon, surrounded by statues of animals (9.30.4); at Therae in Laconia in the Temple of Eleusinian Demeter, there was a xoanon (cultic image) of Orpheus (3.20.5), and at Olympia, in the donarium of Mikythos, there was a votive statue of Orpheus from 460 BC (5.26.3). 

  41. For Tarentine marble sculpture, see Belli Pasqua 1995, pp. 3–8; for the connections with Attic production, see pp. 45–46; see, in particular, the head of Athena from the first half of the fourth century BC, derived from a prototype of the last third of the fifth century BC, pp. 47–48. On the cultural ties between Taras and Athens in the fifth century BC, see E. Lippolis, “Taranto e la politica di Atene in Occidente,” Ostraka 6, no. 2 (1997), pp. 359–78. 

  42. For the head of Athena in Brescia, see A. Giuliano, “I grandi bronzi di Riace, Fidia e la sua officina,” in Due Bronzi di Riace: Rinvenimento, restauro, analisi ed ipotesi di interpretazione, BdA, ser. speciale 3 (Rome, 1984), pp. 297–306, figs. 4–5. The head of Orpheus in Munich has been identified on the basis of its very close resemblance to a small bronze statue of Orpheus with a kithara at the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg: see file no. 15, by R. Wunsche, in I marmi colorati della Roma imperiale, exh. cat., ed. M. De Nuccio and L. Ungaro (Rome, Mercati di Traiano, 2002), pp. 315–16. 

  43. See Settis and Parra 2005, pp. 259–62. 

  44. The term “Master of the Singers of Taras” was proposed by Bonnie M. Kingsley in an unpublished study, which I was able to read. Some examples with similar features could be attributed to this workshop’s production: (1) a male bust wearing a pointed cap in the Sackler Museum at Harvard University (inv. 1943 1085); (2) two heads with a band and a wreath at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, published in L. D. Caskey, “Greek Terracottas from Taranto,” Bulletin of the Museum of Fine Arts 29, no. 17 (1931), nos. 2 and 10; (3) a bust of a banqueter from the antiquities market in Basel, cited in Münzen und Medaillen AG (Basel), sale cat., August 1962, pp. 23–24, no. 55; (4) a bust of a bearded figure from the collection of Thomas Virzì, which became part of the collection of the Antikenmuseum Basel, in Herdejürgen 1982, no. 105 (it should be noted that the distinctive curls on the heads of the sirens were also sometimes used by the Tarentine coroplasts for beards); (5) a bust in the Museo Nazionale Archeologico di Taranto (inv. 20.003); and (6) a head in a Phrygian cap, in Fischer-Hansen 1992, no. 53, dated to 430–410 BC. See also the mold of the front section of a male head in the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire in Geneva, in Deonna 1930, pp. 67–74, fig. 4, and the head of a banqueter with cap and partly finished head in D. von Bothmer, Ancient Art from New York Private Collections, exh. cat (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1959–60), no. 179, pl. 62. 

  45. For the terracottas of Ariccia, see Carafa 1996, in particular the bust in fig. 2 and M. Papini, Antichi volti della Repubblica: La ritrattistica in Italia centrale tra IV e II secolo a.C. (Rome, 2004), pp. 222–24.