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Greek Sculpture Grave Stele Of A Woman

1223 words - 5 pages

When we think of a tombstone today, we often think of a simple rectangular sort of stone coming up from the ground. There is generally an inscription that might relay some information about the deceased's life and those whom he or she left behind. Sometimes, depending on a person's wealth and status, there may be a more detailed or elaborate gravestone. If a person is extremely wealthy or has very high status, there may even be a statue or monument placed as a gravestone. The Greeks, however, in line with the magnificence of their empire, made a practice of elaborate funerary sculpture. Instead of engraving letters and words in remembrance of a person's life, they sculpted pictures that one could read as a story. Not only do these grave markers tell the story of those who are buried below them, but they also speak of the beauty of Greek art and the continued effort of the Greeks to represent humans as conscious individuals through delicate naturalism. A perfect example of this is the Grave Stele of a Woman found in Attic, Greece.First of all, the physical sculpture itself needs to be examined. The grave marker appears to be between four and five feet high and about three to four feet wide. It is in relatively good condition. Some pieces of the noses and hands, as well as some other minor details, appear to have worn off or fallen off. There are some cracks through the women's hand and the back of her chair where, it seems, missing pieces have been replaced. But again, the sculpture is generally good condition considering it is from about 375-350 BC. It is sculpted of marble and the surface appears to have a smoothness overall. There are some rough areas but that could again be attributed to wear. At a quick glance, the sculpture can be described as a woman seated on a chair holding the hand of a man who is standing in front of her and reaching his hand out to hers. There is another woman in the background with her hand reaching up toward her own mouth. A small child stands next to the man. In one hand, he is holding a tiny bird and with the other hand, he is reaching up toward the seated woman. Most likely, this is a representation of the deceased saying goodbye to her family before she dies. Her husband and child are reaching out to touch her for one last time. The woman in the background might be a caretaker watching on. Finally, there are three figures outside of the picture and standing above the top border. The two on either end are similar statuettes of what appears to be winged lions. The one standing in the middle seems to be some type of angel, which is half woman and half animal.To get into more detail, this is a grave marker, so, of course, it is a relief. It is a very high relief with a great deal of undercutting; much of the seated women's head is not even attached to the gravestone. Yet, the carving is still very delicate. This is seen is some of the small details, such as the bird that the child is holding as well as in the hand...

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