095. Kouros - Archaic

095. Kouros - Archaic

H: 36 cm (originally almost 2/3 life-size)
Allegedly from Ionia
South Ionian, Milesian?
c. 530 B.C.

Condition: the original whitish thick-grained marble flaked in places.

A large section centred above the right temple is sliced off. Much of the nose flattened and worn away. A longitudinal bow-like sliver chipped off the right breast. A piece of the the lower left upper arm missing, as well as both forearms and all the statue below the high waistline.

Incrusted with hard greyish limestone deposits and root marks.

The stance is uncertain: seated or standing?

The tilt of his head might favour the former, but the fold of his cloak over his left shoulder might then have fallen less straight in front, and it would certainly not be depicted on the back - as it is here - unless the throne or seat were backless which is unusual [1]. Unfortunately, the break is too high on the waistline and on the arms to give the answer.

The characteristics of this statue are South Ionian:
the spherical head; rounded volumes; the facial features, a compact harmonious whole, blending into and part of a profile that is a continuous curve; the thick lips.

This points definitely to a workshop in the region between Miletus and Ephesos.

A detail such as the rounded lower line of the eyes and two comparisons, an archaic head from Miletus [2] and the head from Kalymnos [3], which we think is Milesian, lead us to attribute him to Miletus.

1 Cf. the Branchidae seated figures. However the paucity of surviving sculptures from this region and in this period prohibit any generalizations.

2 Head (n. inv.): von Graeve, V.: Milet/Archaische Skulpturen, IstMitt 35, 1985, no. 1, p. 116 pl. 24,1+2: Von Graeve assesses that the complete Kouros would have been almost 2/3 life-size. It should be noted that the Dionyshermos, Louvre Museum MA 3600: Özgan, R.: Untersuchungen zur archaischen Plastik Ioniens (Bonn, 1978), ill. 31, 36, is slightly above half life-size.

3 British Museum B 323: Pryce, F.N.: Catalogue of Sculpture Vol. I Part I (London, 1928), pp. 153-155 fig. 193.