Votive relief to Herakles Alexikakos
first half of the 4th century B.C.
Place of Manufacture: Greece, Attica, Athens
Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 077; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 108-109 (additional published references).
Height x width: 53 x 67.5 cm (20 7/8 x 26 9/16 in.)
Medium or Technique
Marble, from Mt. Pentelikon near Athens
Not On View
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.
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
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.
Catharine Page Perkins Fund