Three-sided relief

Classical Period
about 450–440 B.C.

Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 030; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 107 (additional published references); Highlights: Classical Art (MFA), p. 088-089.


Overall: 82 x 161 cm (32 5/16 x 63 3/8 in.) Framed (Rolling steel pedestal/ removable top steel pallet): 100.3 x 186.7 x 95.3 cm (39 1/2 x 73 1/2 x 37 1/2 in.) Weight: 1587.59 kg (3500 lb.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Marble, Dolomitic from the Greek island of Thasos

On View

Greek Archaic Gallery (Gallery 113)


The Ancient World


Architectural elements

A three-sided relief cut from a single block. Seated on the right is Demeter with her head veiled in mourning for her daughter Persephone. Aphrodite is seated opposite consulting with her son Eros at the center who holds the scales (made from a separate piece of marble) to determine how long Persephone will stay in the Underworld.
Short sides: a boy with a lyre; an old nurse.
Perhaps, the relief served as an enclosure for an outdoor altar.

“Sculpture in Stone” no. 30, pp. 20-25

Portions of the surface have been carefully cleaned, but some incrustation remains, especially on the garment of the figure on the left wing, and marks left by the roots of plants are visible in places. The Ludovisi relief and the Warren relief show similar flaws and the same light grayish-brown patina.

The reliefs themselves have suffered comparatively slight injuries. On the left wing the lower temination of the scroll, which in this case projected beyond the end of the slab, is lost, together with the ends of the old woman’s feet. The edges of the palmettes at the corners are broken off, and there are small breaks along the lower edges at the three sides, especially at the angles. The noses of all five figures, the toes of the winged youth, the plectron of the lyre-player, and the pegs of the lyre are damaged.

Certain other changes were produced, partly by accident and partly by design, in Roman times, when the relief was removed from its original position. As on the Ludovisi relief, marks made by crowbars, used to pry the monument from its pedestal, are visible at several places along the bottom, on both the outer and the inner faces. On the left wing an irregular groove runs across the bottom surface close to the corner, and continues obliquely upward across the face of the relief.

Scientific Analysis:
Marble has been scientifically tested with X-Ray Diffraction and determined to be Dolomitic.
Harvard Lab No. HI090: Isotope ratios - delta13C +3.48 / delta18O -3.06, Attribution - Thasos-Cape Vathy, Justification - Dolomitic by XRD.


1894: Found in Rome in a private villa on via Boncampagni in the same region as the Ludovisi relief, in the area of the ancient Gardens of Sallust (the Ludovisi Quarter) on the Pincian Hill; acquired successively by Valenzi, Jandolo, Martinetti, and Hartwig before being purchased by Edward Perry Warren in 1896; purchased by MFA from Edward Perry Warren, May 5, 1908, for $ 3,600.00

Credit Line

Henry Lillie Pierce Fund