Draped Female Statue
Period: Eastern Greece (Lydia?), second-third quarter of the 5th century B.C. (460-430 B.C.)
Dimensions: Height: 130 cm
Ex-Eastern Europe private collection, acquired in 1979, then in the family by inheritance
Good state of preservation. Headless statue, the feet, hands and left forearm are lost; minor chips. Beautiful white marble with gray veining and uniform beige-gray patina.
A statue of a life-size standing woman, seen frontally (the back is completed, but only with superficial details, without the volumes of the front). The weight of the body is supported by the left leg, while the right leg is slightly bent, resulting in an apparent gentle swaying motion, especially visible from behind. The left arm was bent and directed towards the viewer, the right is bent and raised: no trace of any attribute is preserved.
The woman is dressed in: a) a long linen chiton finely pleated on the neckline, on the right shoulder and on the ankles; b) a thick woolen cloak (himation) that wraps her entire body, passing under the right armpit and covering the opposite shoulder, while, passing under the left arm, the edge of the fabric falls vertically and terminates in undulate folds: despite the chronological lag, this way of wearing the himation still recalls the ancient korai (statues of young women) dressed in the Ionian style; c) a thin veil which covered the head, whose folds and edges are visible on the shoulders and behind the neck. Only two finely twisted braids falling to the breast are left from the hair.
This work is of the highest artistic level, characterized by correct proportions, by the well rendered position and, from a stylistic point of view, by a rich and precise study of the arrangement of the folds. Seen in profile, the statue lacks depth, despite the moving arm and the slightly raised leg, as if the sculptor had chosen to emphasize the importance of the frontal view in the structure of the work.
On the neckline and on the right shoulder, the play of folds is rich and diversified, its low relief revealing the delicacy and transparency of the linen. The thick wool of the himation, however, is translated by the deep curves that diagonally cross the body of the woman and form regular curves under the right arm.
Stylistically, this statue can be related to a group of works sometimes known as Cyclado-Ionic, in which one recognizes strong eastern Greek influences and which mostly includes funeral reliefs and steles coming from Thessaly, from Boeotia and from the Ionian world, up to Lydia: with other chronologically close Thessalian steles of the National Museum of Athens, one can especially mention, among the closest parallels, a stele from Sardis (the capital city of ancient Lydia), now housed in Izmir, dated to the middle of the 5th century B.C. It represents the image of a worshipper (cf. gesture of the right hand) rather than a priestess, in an attitude similar to that of our statue, wearing the same type of garments.
BIESANTZ H., Die thessalischen Grabreliefs: Studien zur nordgriechischen Kunst, Mainz/Rhine, 1965, pl. 22, K7; pl. 2, K10; pl. 4, K29
HANFMANN G.M.A. and RAMAGE N.H., Sculpture from Sardis: The Finds through 1975, Cambridge (Massachusetts), 1978, pp. 27 and 157, no. 233, fig. 403
JOHANSEN K.F., The Attic Grave-Reliefs of the Classical Period, Copenhagen, 1951, pp. 133-135, fig. 67-68