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Monday, March 31, 2014

Grave Stele of a Little Girl

Unlike the freestanding, impersonal Archaic kouroi grave markers, Classical Greek stelae focus on domestic scenes that usually include women or children saying goodbye or “living out” an important memory.  In this fashion, on the Grave Stele of a Little Girl created around 450-440 BCE, a young girl seems to be saying goodbye to her pet birds for the last time, even kissing one gently on the beak.  Her garment almost seems translucent, revealing her innocent, tender skin, a mark of the High Greek Classic period, similar to Athena fixing her sandal on the Temple of Athena Nike (link).  Her stance and garment is reminiscent of the Parthenon friezes which also were carved around the same period.  To further the intimacy of this scene, the stele would have been painted in color to enhance some details such as the birds’ feathers and the girl’s sandal straps.

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