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A Marble Caryatid Figure of the Muse Melpomene, Asia Minor, Roman Imperial, circa 2nd Century A.D.
Estimate
250,000350,000
LOT SOLD. 605,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
31
A Marble Caryatid Figure of the Muse Melpomene, Asia Minor, Roman Imperial, circa 2nd Century A.D.
Estimate
250,000350,000
LOT SOLD. 605,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Antiquities

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A Marble Caryatid Figure of the Muse Melpomene, Asia Minor, Roman Imperial, circa 2nd Century A.D.
in partially archaistic style, standing on a rectangular base with the weight on her left leg and holding a tragic mask in her right hand, her left arm raised, and wearing sandals, bracelet, chiton, and a peplos-like dress falling from her right shoulder and draped across the breasts with an overfold hanging below, the hems of the garments indicated by a continuous groove, her hair falling in thick wavy locks over the shoulders, the back roughly worked, the lower part of the back carved flat and with two square mortises for attachment.
Height 48 1/2 in. 123.2 cm.
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Provenance

Hôtel Drouot, Paris, Antiquités égyptiennes, grecques et romaines. Les collections de feu M. Jean Lambros d'Athènes et de M. Giovanni Dattari du Caire, Paris, June 17th-19th, 1912, no. 269, pl. XXI (with its original head)
French private collection, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, prior to 2000
Spanish private collection, Madrid, 2000-2013

Literature

W.H. Buchler, Revue de philologie, de littérature et d’histoire anciennes, N.S., vol. 37, 1913, p. 330, pl. 2 (said to have been found at Thyateira in Asia Minor)
R. Heidenreich, “Bupalos und Pergamon,” Archäologischer Anzeiger, 1935, p. 693, fig. 12
Helga Herdejürgen, Thronende Göttin aus Tarent in Berlin, und zur archaischen und archaistischen Schrägmanteltracht., Waldsassen/Bayern, 1968, p. 86, no. 3
Andreas Schmidt-Colinet, Antike Stützfiguren. Untersuchungen zu Typus und Bedeutung der menschgestaltigen Architekturstütze in der griechischen und römischen Kunst, Frankfurt and Berlin, 1977, p. 37, W42
Evamaria Schmidt, Geschichte der Karyatide. Funktion und Bedeutung der menschlichen Träger- und Stützfigur in der Baukunst, Würzburg, 1982, p. 95
Mark Fullerton, “Archaistic Statuary of the Hellenistic Period,” Mitteilungen des Deutschen archäologischen Instituts. Athenische Abteilung, vol. 102, 1987, p. 271 and note 52 (as “location unknown”)
s.v. “Mousai,”Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, vol. VII, Zurich and Munich, 1994, p. 993, no. 174

Catalogue Note

The original head, which has been lost since the 1912 photograph was taken, had deeply drilled centrally parted hair and was surmounted by a flaring polos.

For two larger but clearly related antithetical figures of Melpomene originally decorating the stage building of the theater at Aphrodisias, each holding a mask, similarly draped in a somewhat archaistic style, and probably with one arm formerly raised, see K.T. Erim and R.R.R. Smith, “Sculpture from the Theatre: A Preliminary Report,” Aphrodisias Papers 2, Ann Arbor, Mich., 1991, p. 70, figs. 4 and 5. In the reconstruction suggested by the excavators in the Aphrodisias Museum, the two figures of Melpomene flank a torso of the god Apollo which was also found in the central part of the stage.

According to the LIMC article, the two statues at Aphrodisias and the present one, possibly from Thyateira (see Buchler, op. cit.) all reflect the same prototype designated as the “Melpomene Aphrodisias/Tyatheira” (also see B. Ridgway, Hellenistic Sculpture III: The Styles of ca. 100-31 B.C, Madison, Wis., 2002, p. 150, note 3), which itself goes back to a 2nd Century B.C. type represented by the caryatids from the theater at Miletus (illus. in Fullerton, op. cit., 1987, pl. 19-3-4).

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