Grave stele with a family group, ca. 360 b.c.
Found in Attica, Greece
Date: 360 B.C.
Museum: Metropolitan Museum
Found in Attica, Greece this marble sculpture depicts four people shown together as in a family portrait. A bearded man seated on a diphos (chair without a back) holds a staff in his hand. He is centered and seems to be the head of this family. Behind him stands a veiled and robed woman, seemingly his wife, holding the hand of a much younger girl who is facing towards the viewer whereas everyone else is in a profile view. Facing these three figures is a fourth character. She is touching the seated man, but it is as if she is being unacknowledged by anyone else in the portrait. All staring straight ahead as if she weren’t there. As if she were invisible the fourth member of this family seems to be deceased. Work like this Grave stele of a family group is very consistent with other Ancient Greek Classical Art. It is not uncommon to find these relief sculptures on grave markers for example another found in Athens in Metropolitan museum of Art depicts a little girl holding a dove. Children’s Grave reliefs often show the child’s pet. Also statues become very popular in the Classical period of Greek Art. Other than Funeral Statuary, statues were used to depict power during this time, for example the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, and the statue of Athena housed in the Parthenon in Athens. These statues were likely used to represent the power in the gods, and the souls of those in the afterlife. I believe that during the Classical period of Greek Art you find many sculptures portraying the gods such as Zeus, Athena, and Aphrodite. Most of which were found around religious temples such as the Parthenon and Temple of Zeus. Also as depicted from the grave steles they represented the dead. Hence I believe the subject matter is typical due to its underlying...