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  • image M218

Fragment of a large Attic grave relief

Early 4th century BC to mid 4th century BC

Pentelic marble

Height: 56cm
Width: 32cm
Thickness: 28cm

Museum number: M218

Vermeule catalogue number: Vermeule 296help-vermeule-catalogue-number

Not on display

Curatorial note

The lower right hand area of a large grave relief; the lower part of a male left leg and bare foot, a ledge(?) and a bit of vertically hanging drapery or another rock (?) remain, at the right. The leg is well carved, and from its articulated muscles and the position of the foot, the figure appears to have been somewhat turned and striding to his own left.

The similarity is striking between this fragmentary leg and the figure of the warrior on the stele (gravestone) of Aristonautes in Athens1, where, however, there is no drapery beside the lower limb. The warrior's left leg is set in a manner similar to this Soane fragment, and from it we see that the Soane warrior(?) was stepping to the left, probably also with the body partially turned to the front. The Artistonautes stele shows the ground behind and to the right, and just beyond, as here, appears the square pillar of the aedicula2.

The fact that, unlike the Aristonautes relief, the leg(s) are carved in high relief rather than in the round might argue the precursive development to what now seems to be a technical innovation of the fourteenth century BC, but an even closer parallel, a fragment of a Greek tomb relief with a battling warrior, in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (Copenhagen) has been dated to shortly before 350 BC on its stylistic similarity to the reliefs from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus3.

The forerunner of this type of figure in striding or walking pose, left to right, is to be seen about 420 to 410 BC in the stele of Chairedemos and Lykeas in the Piraeus Museum from Salamis near the head of the Saronic Gulf. These two warriors most certainly fell in the Peloponnesian War4. The leaning men in high relief of about 325 to 317/6 BC can have such feet, with drapery around them5.

1 S. Reinach, Répertoire de Reliefs Grecs et Romains, 3 vols, Paris, 1909-12, II, p. 377, 3; S. Reinach, Répertoire de la Statuaire Grecque et Romaine, vols 2-6,Paris, 1897?, II, p. 184; A. Conze, Die Attischen Grabreliefs, 4 vols, Berlin, 1893-1922, II, no. 1151, pl. CCXLV; A. V. Salis, 84. Programm zum Winckelmannsfest der Archaëologischen Gesellschaft zu Berlin.-Winckelmannsprogramm der Archaeologischen Gesellschaft zu Berlin, Berlin, 1841- , pl. 1, etc; H. Diepolder, Die Attischen Grabreliefs, Darmstadt, 1965, p. 52, pl. 50.
2 Compare also A. Conze, Die Attischen Grabreliefs, 4 vols, Berlin, 1893-1922, II, no. 1152, pl. CCXLVI in Bucharest , where the leg is outside the aedicula which is in shallower relief.
3 F. Poulsen, Das Helbig Museum der NN Carlsberg Glyptothek: Beschreibung der etruskischen Sammlung, Copenhagen, 1925, p. 148f., no. 206 and bibliography.
4 See W. Fuchs, Die Skulptur der Griechen, Munich 1969, pp. 488-489, fig. 572.
5 See W. Fuchs, pp. 497-500, figs. 579 and 581 (both examples in the National Museum, Athens: nos. 833 and 2574).

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