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Bronze statuette of a veiled and masked dancer

3rd–2nd century B.C.
H. 8 1/16 in. (20.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Bequest of Walter C. Baker, 1971
Accession Number:
  • Description

    The complex motion of this dancer is conveyed exclusively through the interaction of the body with several layers of dress. Over an undergarment that falls in deep folds and trails heavily, the figure wears a lightweight mantle, drawn tautly over her head and body by the pressure applied to it by her right arm, left hand, and right leg. Its substance is conveyed by the alternation of the tubular folds pushing through from below and the freely curling softness of the fringe. The woman's face is covered by the sheerest of veils, discernible at its edge below her hairline and at the cutouts for the eyes. Her extended right foot shows a laced slipper. This dancer has been convincingly identified as one of the professional entertainers, a combination of mime and dancer, for which the cosmopolitan city of Alexandria was famous in antiquity.

  • Provenance

    Said to be from Alexandria (Thompson 1950, p. 379).

    Until 1948, collection of Joseph Brummer; September 14, 1948, purchased by Walter C. Baker from the estate of Joseph Brummer; acquired June 23, 1972, bequest of Walter C. Baker.

  • References

    von Bothmer, Dietrich and René d'Harnoncourt. 1950. Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities: An Exhibition from the Collection of Walter Cummings Baker, Esq. New York: Walter Cummings Baker, no. 46, p. 9, pl. 12.

    von Bothmer, Dietrich. 1961. Ancient Art from New York Private Collections: Catalogue of an Exhibition Held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, December, 17, 1959-February 28, 1960. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 144, pp. 37-38, pls. 44, 50-51.

    Robertson, Martin and Cambridge University Press. 1975. A History of Greek Art, Vols. 1 and 2. Cambridge, England, p. 564, pl. 179c.

    von Bothmer, Dietrich. 1975. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1965-1975, : p. 120.

    Picón, Carlos A. 1992. "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1991-1992." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 50(2): no. 237, pp. 202-3.

    1994. Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide: Works of Art Selected by Philippe De Montebello. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    Musée du Petit Palais. 1997. La Gloire d'Alexandrie. Paris: Musée du Petit Palais, no. 206, p. 265.

    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. 237, pp. 202-3, 451.

    Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2012. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, p. 72.

  • See also