Greece, Tanagra, Boeotia, ca. 4th century BCE. A gorgeous example of a Tanagra figure, mold made from ceramic in the form of a woman, perhaps a goddess, her body nude aside from a himation that is folded gracefully and strategically around her hips, with drapes and folds beautifully portrayed by the artist who created the piece. Her body is youthful, with the musculature and breasts carefully depicted and posed in a lively manner - one foot upon a plinth, the knee bent, her torso leaning forward with her arms raised, her neck turned to one side. Her reddish hair is up in a knot at the back of her head, and the crown of her head is encircled by a ring of what looks like large shells or discs. Remains of white and red pigment are very clear on the figure. Size: 4.4" W x 10.1" H (11.2 cm x 25.7 cm); 11.5" H (29.2 cm) on included custom stand.
Inspired by historical knowledge such as that collected at the Library of Alexandria, prominent Hellenistic art collectors commissioned large pieces based on public statues from the earlier Classical Period. More available art forms like this one echoed the naturalistic, detailed classical style that reached a pinnacle in small statuary during the Hellenistic period. Artisans looked to inspiration not only from the past but also from what they observed around them. Terracotta figures like this one have been found in private dwellings where they may have been part of a shrine or had a religious purpose. Others decorate tombs and sanctuaries - in Tanagra, the site that this style of figure is named for, some of the over 10,000 graves found there have up to a dozen of these statuettes.
This piece has been tested using thermoluminescence (TL) analysis and has been found to be ancient and of the period stated. A full report will accompany purchase.
Provenance: ex-Richard Lombardi collection, Maryland, USA, acquired in the 1990s
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Repaired from multiple pieces, with repairs visible at neck, foot, and waist. Repairs are well done and generally unobtrusive. Beautiful remaining pigment and detail. Underside has remains of an older adhesive. TL drill holes on underside interior and under right armpit.