Figurine of a standing woman (1)

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Greek, Boeotian 
About 300–275 BCE
Terracotta
13 cm
Yale University Art Gallery: Gift of Ambassador and Mrs. William Witman, II, B.A. 1935; 1993.46.47

This female figurine stands in a contrapposto pose, with her right leg bent and most of her weight resting on her left leg. Her arms are raised and extend slightly from her body, creating a contrast between the horizontal folds of drapery across her chest and the vertical folds of fabric extending from her waist to her feet. Her himation completely envelops her body and covers her hands. Her hair is divided into sections of twisted strands and gathered into a bun at the back of her head, in a popular late-fourth-century hairstyle known as the “melon” coiffure.

During this era, the production of small terracotta figurines flourished on the Greek mainland, particularly in the region of Boeotia. These terracotta figures are often referred to as Tanagra-style figurines, due to their prevalence in tombs excavated near the Boeotian city of Tanagra. Many of these female Tanagra figurines depict standing women or girls wrapped in elaborate drapery that often covers their heads, hands, and faces in a gesture of modesty. Remnants of pigments on a variety of Tanagra figurines also suggest that these figures were painted with bright, water-soluble paints after firing.

This label was prepared by Mellon Special Projects intern Katelyn Burgess, class of 2013.

Related exhibitions

Beyond Aphrodite: Interpreting Portrayals of “Real” Women in Ancient Greece

 

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