Marble Stele of a Little Girl

Marble grave stele of a little girl

Period: Classical
Date: ca. 450–440 B.C.
Culture: Greek
Medium: Marble, Parian
Dimensions: H. 31 1/2 in. (80 cm)
Classification: Stone Sculpture
Credit Line: Fletcher Fund, 1927

Ancient Greek art is something to be admired; the accuracy of the figures, compared to Egyptian art is commendable. The art works show great depths of emotion and detail. The “Marble grave stele of a little girl” carved with parian marble was found on the island of Paros in 1775 and consists of a young girl wearing a woolen garment with her head bowed giving her farewell to two pet doves. The young girl’s facial expression is strong, yet somber while she holds one dove close to her serene face, while the other dove rests on the young girl’s left hand.
The figure is in strict profile, which possibly suggests a Greek sculptor, in addition to the intricate detail and the contrapposto. Egyptian sculptors did not have the anatomical accuracy of human figures that the Greek artists did. The girl has her left leg slightly bent while the other appears to remain straight, suggesting the shift of weight onto the right leg. The arch in her back shows a relaxed stance, along the presence of the contrapposto. Because of this sculptor’s knowledge with the contrapposto, this relief could have been made around 500-400 B.C.E. 
The relief was made between 500-400 B.C.E., but to be specific, ca. 450-440 B.C.E. The relief was incised into marble, Parian marble. Looking at the relief in person, it appeared to be two feet, but it is almost three feet: exactly 31 1/2 inches. The girl’s face appeared sad and serious but historians believe it to be “serene and strong.” It seems obvious that she is wearing a cloth like material yet it is actually a “woolen garment” called a peplos. Silk did appear by the 5th century B.C.E, however; it was not yet popular in clothing.7 The dove’s missing head is indicated to be staring in her direction. The detail from the...