Votive relief to Herakles Alexikakos

Greek
Classical Period
first half of the 4th century B.C.


Place of Manufacture: Greece, Attica, Athens

Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 077; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 108-109 (additional published references).

Dimensions

Height x width: 53 x 67.5 cm (20 7/8 x 26 9/16 in.)

Accession Number

96.696

Medium or Technique

Marble, from Mt. Pentelikon near Athens

Not On View

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Sculpture

The relief is topped by a simple molding and terminates below in a flat, roughly worked projecting band, which acts as a base for the figures. The heads of the two figures overlap the molding. Herakles points his right hand to the shrine beside him. A lion’s skin hangs from his left arm, and his left hand holds a club. Its end, chiseled off, rested on the floor of the shrine. The shrine comprises two unfluted Doric columns on a base of three steps and supporting an architrave with a projecting taenia at the top. A krater on a stand, resembling examples in bronze and ceramic, stands on the architrave. The second youthful figure, gazing at Herakles, wears only a chlamys, and a petasos hanging at his back. His left hand probably held a kerykeion, added in paint and confirming his identification as Hermes. Between the two figures are traces of a painted inscription, in which the name Herakles has been thought to be distinguishable. The top step of the shrine bears the inscription “Herakles Alexikakos” (ΗΡΑΚΛΕΟΣ ΑΛΕΞΙΚΑΚΟΣ), possibly added later, indicating a dedication to Herakles as Averter of Evil.

The edges of the slab are smoothed; the back is roughly worked, with an inset area at the bottom. This probably served to set the relief in its base. The upper right-hand corner has been broken off, and the crowning molding has been chipped in several places. The marble has acquired the usual yellow hue.

Scientific Analysis:

University of South Florida Lab No. 84011-12: Isotope ratios - delta13C +2.7 (fresh marble), 2.6 (surface) / delta18O -5.0 (fresh marble), -4.9 (surface)

Attribution - Mt. Pentelikon. Justification - C and O isotopes, fine grain, Attic style, from Attica

Inscription

ΗΡΑΚΛΕΟΣ
ΑΛΕΞΙΚΑΚΟΣ

Provenance

Said to have been found in a sanctuary in the Piraeus [see note]. By 1896, acquired by Edward Perry Warren (b. 1860 – d. 1928), London; 1896, sold by Edward Perry Warren to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 6, 1896)

Note: according to Warren’s records.

Credit Line

Catharine Page Perkins Fund