Pair of figures, probably Zeus and Hera
about 750–700 B.C.
Greek, Etruscan, & Roman Bronzes (MFA), no. 002; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 117 (additional published references).
Height: 8 cm (3 1/8 in.)
Medium or Technique
Not On View
The two figures are cast together with a small base to form a single votive offering. Although their identity is in question, they may represent divinities, possibly Hera and Zeus. The male figure wears a heavy belt and long, pointed cap, and the female sports a domed, brimmed hat. Dark green patina.The costumes and the “amusing stop-sign hand” are characteristics of early bronze figurines from the sanctuary at Olympia.
“The man’s backward-curving headgear is worn by numerous Geometric bronze figures, looking sometimes like a crested helmet and sometimes, as here, like a floppy felt cap, although the figure’s abstract style does not permit such a literal interpretation. His belt, horizontally divided by two grooves, is also standard gear among Geometric figurines, particularly those who wear a back-curving helmet. His outflung arm recalls the “epiphany” gesture of the early male bronze series at Olympia and one in particular from the Athena Chalkioikos sanctuary at Sparta. The appliqued breasts of his companion resemble those of Cretan Geometric figurines. Her rounded cap is not precisely matched on any other Geometric bronzes but must be a variation of the polos. This millinery attribute, her gesture to her breast, and his arm pose all signify that the couple are divine.” Susan Langdon, From Pasture to Polis, 1993, p.131
Date unknown in the 19th century: acquired in the nineteenth century by Mr. Hastings' grandfather, possibly from Olympia; by date unknown: Leslie Hastings, Esq. Collection; 1958: loaned by Leslie Hastings to MFA; year-end gift of Leslie Hastings to MFA, December 31, 1963
Gift of Leslie Hastings, Esq.