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Identification and Creation
Object Number
1960.448
Title
Late Archaic Helmeted Head of a Young God, Goddess or Warrior, possible forgery
Classification
Sculpture
Work Type
head, sculpture
Date
possibly c. 510-500 BCE
Places
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe, Attica
Period
Archaic period
Culture
Greek
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/289232
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Limestone
Dimensions
actual: 24.1 cm (9 1/2 in.)
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Bequest of David M. Robinson
Accession Year
1960
Object Number
1960.448
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions

Published Catalogue Text: Stone Sculptures: The Greek, Roman and Etruscan Collections of the Harvard University Art Museums , written 1990
14 Late Archaic

Helmeted Head of a Young God, Goddess (Athena?), or Warrior

The piece is limestone, rather than poor Parian marble as first published. It is corroded, damaged, and weathered, and the nose is partly missing. A portion of the lower part of the chin has been broken and reattached. Some evidence suggests that the head was artficially corroded in a fire. The piece is evidently unfinished.

Material and parallels would suggest that this head came from a monument on the island of Cyprus. There is ample precedent for "upgrading" Cypriote sculpture by supplying provenances in the Peloponnesus or the Aegean islands.

However, if technical evidence is confirmed, this head is a forgery made in the early part of the 20th century after the sculptures found in the German excavations around the Temple of Aphaia on Aegina.

A group of figures of the young, beardless Herakles, with the lion's skin on the head instead of the helmet, come from the Idalion region of Cyprus and have the same style of hair, face and eyes, as well as the same Ionian cast to the mouth (Pryce, 1931, pp. 85-97, figs. 139-140). An especially close example, with finely carved eyelids and with a better preserved face emerging from the hero's lion skin cap, was long in the de Clercq collection in Paris and lately in that of Mr. Gilbert Denman, Jr., San Antonio. Its superlative Ionian style dates this head of Herakles about 510 BC (Hoffmann, 1970, pp. 8-11, under no. 3).

Cornelius Vermeule and Amy Brauer

Publication History

David Moore Robinson, "Unpublished Sculpture in the Robinson Collection", American Journal of Archaeology (1955), 59, pp. 19-20, p. 11, figs. 2,3

Fogg Art Museum, The David Moore Robinson Bequest of Classical Art and Antiquities, A Special Exhibition, exh. cat., Harvard University (Cambridge, MA, 1961), p. 27, no. 208

Karina Turr, Falschungen antiker Plastic siet 1800, Mann (Berlin, Germany, 1984), pp. 85-88, no. A 26

Cornelius C. Vermeule III and Amy Brauer, Stone Sculptures: The Greek, Roman and Etruscan Collections of the Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 27, no. 14

Exhibition History

The David Moore Robinson Bequest of Classical Art and Antiquities: A Special Exhibition, Fogg Art Museum, 05/01/1961 - 09/20/1961

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu