Fragment of the marble stele (grave marker) of a hoplite (foot soldier)

ca. 525–515 B.C.
Greek, Attic
Marble, Hymettian
Overall: 55 15/16 x 20 1/8 in. (142.1 x 51.1 cm)
Stone Sculpture
Credit Line:
Fletcher Fund, 1938
Accession Number:
  • Description

    This grave monument commemorated a soldier, who was shown facing to the right, holding a spear. His lower legs, protected by greaves (shin guards), are preserved. The scene in the panel below shows a warrior mounting a quadriga (4-horse chariot), while his charioteer holds the reins. Such vehicles were used by the Mycenaean Greeks of the second millennium B.C. and are described by Homer in the Iliad and the Odyssey. By the Archaic period, quadrigas were no longer used in daily life. They were driven in competition, however, for the most prestigious events at Greek games were chariot races. This scene may have been intended to recall a victory of the deceased in an apobates race in which an armed runner jumped on and off a chariot, or it may evoke the family's aristocratic lineage by depicting a legendary hero departing for the Trojan War. The panel is carved in extremely low relief; the many planes were originally differentiated with red and black paint. The greaves and spear of the large-scale figure were painted blue; the background was red. Traces of red, blue, black, and green remain on the interlaced curved lines that decorate the border of the shaft.

  • Provenance

    Said to be from Attica

  • References

    Richter, Gisela M. A. 1944. Greek Painting: The Development of Pictoral Representation from Archaic to Graeco-Roman Times. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    Richter, Gisela M. A. 1953. Handbook of the Greek Collection. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, pp. 135, 274, pl. 114a.

    Richter, Gisela M. A. 1954. Catalogue of Greek Sculptures. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, no. 16, pp. 13-14, pls. 19-20.

    Forsyth, William H. and The International Confederation of Dealers in Works of Art. 1974. "Acquisitions from the Brummer Gallery." The Grand Gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Sixth International Exhibition presented by C.I.N.O.A.. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 2.

    Reuterswärd, Patrik. 1980. Studien zur Polychromie der Plastik. Stockholm: Bokförlaget Svenska, p. 48, n. 86.

    Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 68, pp. 72, 419.

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History