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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
 

F. B. Tarbell, A History of Ancient Greek Art

The archaic period of Greek Sculpture. Second half: 550-480 B.C.

The ‘Harpy’ tomb

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PLATO

ARISTOTLE

THE GREEK OLD TESTAMENT (SEPTUAGINT)

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PLOTINUS

DIONYSIUS THE AREOPAGITE

MAXIMUS CONFESSOR

SYMEON THE NEW THEOLOGIAN

CAVAFY

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To illustrate these remarks we may turn first to Lycia, in southwestern Asia Minor. The so called "Harpy" tomb was a huge, four sided pillar of stone, in the upper part of which a square burial-chamber was hollowed out. Marble bas-reliefs adorned the exterior of this chamber. At the right is a seated female figure, divinity or deceased woman, who holds in her right hand a pomegranate flower and in her left a pomegranate fruit To her approach three women, the first raising the lower part of her chiton with her right hand and drawing forward her outer garment with her left, the second bringing a fruit and a flower the third holding an egg in her right hand and raising her chiton with her left. Then comes the opening into the burial-chamber, surmounted by a diminutive cow suckling her calf. At the left is another seated female figure, holding a bowl for libation. The exact significance of this scene is unknown, and we may limit our attention to its artistic qualities. We have here our first opportunity of observing the principle of isocephaly in Greek relief-sculpture; i.e., the convention whereby the heads of figures in an extended composition are ranged on nearly the same level, no matter whether the figures are seated, standing, mounted on horseback, or placed in any other position. The main purpose of this convention doubtless was to avoid the unpleasing blank spaces which would result if the figures were all of the same proportions. In the present instance there may be the further desire to suggest by the greater size of the seated figures their greater dignity as goddesses or divinized human beings. Note, again, how, in the case of each standing woman, the garments adhere to the body behind. The sculptor here sacrifices truth for the sake of showing the outline of the figure. Finally, remark the daintiness with which the hands are used, particularly in the case of the seated figure on the right. The date of this work may be put not much later than the middle of the sixth century, and the style is that of the Ionian school.

 

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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/ancient-greece/history-of-ancient-greek-art-25.asp