Funerary monument for an athlete

Greek
Archaic Period
about 550 B.C.


Place of Manufacture: Greece, Boiotia

Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 016; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 106 (additional published references); Highlights: Classical Art (MFA), p. 120.

Dimensions

Overall (Thighs): 58.5 x 38.5 cm (23 1/16 x 15 3/16 in.) Overall (Right hand): 20 x 12 cm (7 7/8 x 4 3/4 in.) Overall: 349.3 kg (770 lb.) Overall (Head): 50 x 35 cm (19 11/16 x 13 3/4 in.) Framed (Steel channel H-frame with steel plate attached at the bottom): 248.9 x 28.3 x 24.1 cm (98 x 11 1/8 x 9 1/2 in.) Block (Object and frame dimensions): 248.9 x 62.9 x 24.8 cm (98 x 24 3/4 x 9 3/4 in.)

Accession Number

08.288

Medium or Technique

Marble from Mt. Pentelikon, Greece, and modern plaster restoration

On View

Greek Archaic Gallery (Gallery 113)

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Sculpture

A youth in profile to the right has his left foot advanced. He wears an olive wreath with fruit and leaves, and he holds up two pomegranates on a stem in his raised left hand. The flexed right arm and hand (with wrist muscles preserved) held an aryballos suspended from a leather strap. Hair is rendered as a smooth mass, except for the row of spiral curls over forehead and temples. Tongues on the shoulder, lotus flowers and buds around the body, and crescents radiating from the bottom are carved in low relief on the aryballos.

Above the youth’s head are the remains of an inscription that runs vertically upward. It gives the first two letters of his name, (“Tho”).

Five fragments, three large and two small, are preserved, but a considerable portion of this stele of a young athlete is missing. Fragment A comprises the head and left forearm of the youth, with the lower part of the panel above. B is the right hand with the strap of the aryballos. C includes the body from the waist to the right knee, with the remains of the aryballos. D is the right ankle, and E is a bit of spiral molding and fillets from the top of the shaft. Sides and back of the stele are smoothed, while the background of the relief is hollowed out into a curving surface above and at the sides. Save where there are damages (notably to the aryballos), the surfaces are in excellent condition. They have an even yellow patina.

Scientific Analysis:
Harvard Lab No. HI264: Isotope ratios - delta13C +1.67 / delta18O -3.19, Attribution - Probably Pentelikon, Justification - Fine grained marble.

Inscription

Above the youth's head are the remains of an inscription that runs vertically upward. It gives the first two letters of his name, ("Tho").
ΘΟ

Provenance

By 1900: with Edward Perry Warren (according to Warren's records: From Thebes, 1900); by 1908: Fiske Warren Collection; gift of Fiske Warren to MFA, May 28, 1908

Credit Line

Gift of Fiske Warren