Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Terracotta head of a woman, probably a sphinx

1st quarter of the 5th century B.C.
H. 8 1/8 in. (20.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1947
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 157
Terracotta sculpture of large scale and high quality is rare in Greek art of the mainland as against that of southern Italy, for example. The proportions and the break at the neck suggest that this exceptionally fine head belonged to a sphinx, possibly the akroterion of a small building. (Akroteria decorated the apex and corners of roofs.) Of particular interest also is the way polychromy is used for such details as the earrings and the headband.
Said to have been found near Olympia (Richter 1948, p.152).

Until 1947, collection of Joseph Brummer; acquired July 11, 1947, purchased from the estate of Joseph Brummer.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1946. "A Greek Terracotta Head and the 'Corinthian' School of Terracotta Sculpture." American Journal of Archaeology, 52(3): pp. 331-5, pls. XXXII, XXXIII.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1948. "A Greek Terracotta Head of the Late Archaic Period." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 6(5): pp. 150-3.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1949. Archaic Greek Art Against Its Historical Background; A Survey. pp. 190-1, fig. 297, New York: Oxford University Press.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1953. Handbook of the Greek Collection. pp. 69, 210, pl. 50a, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Forsyth, William Holmes 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.. p. 4, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Billot, Marie-Françoise. 1977. "Recherches sur le sphinx du Louvre CA 637." Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique, 101(1): pp. 384-5.

Walter-Karydi, Elena. 1987. Die äginetische Bildhauerschule: Werke und schriftliche Quellen, Vol. 2, pt. 2. pp. 116, 118, figs. 191-3, Mainz: Verlag Philipp von Zabern.

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

Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome no. 103, pp. 97, 425, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2012. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. p. 68, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Karoglou, Kyriaki. 2016. "The Collection of Greek Terracotta Figurines at The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Les Carnets de l’ACoSt, 14: n. 12 [p. 8].

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