Exhibitions/ Art Object
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Marble statue of an old woman

Period:
Early Imperial, Julio-Claudian
Date:
A.D. 14–68
Culture:
Roman
Medium:
Marble, Pentelic
Dimensions:
H. 49 5/8 in. (125.98 cm)
Classification:
Stone Sculpture
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1909
Accession Number:
09.39
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 162
Copy of a Greek work of the second century B.C.

During the Hellenistic period, artists became concerned with the accurate representation of childhood, old age, and even physical deformity. The range of subject matter was extended to include genre-like figures from the fringes of society. Fine, large-scale statues of fishermen, peasants, and aged courtesans became valued religious dedications, sometimes placed in a park-like setting within the
sanctuary of the god. Although this statue is known familiarly as The Old Market Woman, it probably represents an aged courtesan on her way to a festival of Dionysos, the god of wine. Her delicate sandals and the ample material in her thin, elaborately draped chiton are a far cry from the rough garb of a peasant woman. The ivy wreath on her head marks her association with Dionysos, and the basket of fruit and the two chickens must be dedicatory gifts to the god or simply her own provisions for a long day of celebration. Veneration of Dionysos was widespread
during the Hellenistic period, and ancient literary descriptions give an idea of the extraordinary processions and festivals held in his honor. The flattened composition of the figure is typical of sculpture created in the late second century B.C. The original work may have been dedicated in a sanctuary of Dionysos. The Roman copy could have decorated a garden.
Found in Rome, September 1907, on land belonging to the Congregazione degli Operai della Divina Pietà (Robinson 1909, p. 206).

September 1907, found on property belonging to the Congregazione degli Opera della Divina Pietà, Rome; after 1907, purchased by A. and A. Jandolo from the Congregazione; acquired in March 1909, purchased from A. and A. Jandolo, Rome.
Mariani, Lucio. 1907. "La Vecchia del Mercato." Bullettino della Commissione archeologica Comunale di Roma, 35: p. 257-66, pl. VII.

Vaglieri, Dante. 1907. Notizie Degli Scavi di Antichità, 9: p. 525, figs. 45, 46.

Robinson, Edward. 1909. "The Old Market Woman." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 4(11): pp. 201, 204-6.

Reinach, Salomon. 1916. "Quatre mille statues antiques." Répertoire de la Statuaire Greque et Romaine, Vol. 4. no. 7, p. 349, Paris: E. Leroux.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1917. Handbook of the Classical Collection. p. 235, fig. 144, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1927. Handbook of the Classical Collection. pp. 276-77, fig. 196, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1930. Handbook of the Classical Collection. pp. 276-77, fig. 196, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1932. Brunn-Bruckmnann's Denkmäler griechischer und römischer Sculptur, Paul Arndt and Adolf Fürtwangler, eds. pl. 730, Munich: F. Bruckmann Verlag, Munich.

Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1936[1934]. A Guide to the Collections, Part 1: Ancient and Oriental Art, 2nd edn. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1939. Guide to the Collections: Ancient and Oriental Art--Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Greek and Roman Far Eastern, Near Eastern Oriental Armor, Vol. 1, World's Fair Edition. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Waldhauer, Oskar Ferdinandovich. 1946. "Myron's Anus Ebria and the Drunken Woman in Munich." American Journal of Archaeology, 50(2): pp. 244-6.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1950. The Sculpture and Sculptors of the Greeks, 3rd edn. pp. 82, 420, fig. 219, New Haven: Yale University Press.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1953. Handbook of the Greek Collection. pp. 143, 284, pl. 124c, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1954. Catalogue of Greek Sculptures. no. 221, p. 111, pl. 154, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Bieber, Margarete. 1961. The Sculpture of the Hellenistic Age. p. 141, n 50, fig. 590, New York: Columbia University Press.

Richter, Gisela M. A. 1970. "The Department of Greek and Roman Art: Triumphs and Tribulations." Metropolitan Museum Journal, 3: pp. 75, 78, fig. 8.

Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1970. Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries. New York: Dutton.

Thimme, Jürgen. 1976. Kunst und Kultur der Kykladeninseln im 3. Jahrtausend v. Chr.: Ausstellung unter d. Patronat des International Council of Museums ICOM im Karlsruher Schloss vom 25. Juni-10. Oktober 1976. no. 54, pp. 10, 74W, Karlsruhe: Müller.

Vermeule, Cornelius Clarkson. 1980. Greek Art: Socrates to Sulla, from the Peloponnesian Wars to the Rise of Julius Ceasar. no. 121, p. 91, Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Laubscher, Hans Peter. 1982. Fischer und Landleute : Studien zur hellenistischen Genreplastik. pp. 8, 10, 32ff., 43, 86, 93ff., 116 n. 38, 121, pls. 26, 2, and 27, 1, 2, Mainz: Verlag Philipp von Zabern.

Bonacasa, Nicola. 1983. "Socialità e arte nel 'soggetto di genere' ellenistico." Alessandria e il mondo ellenistico-romano: Studi in onore di Achille Adriani, Vol. 1, Nicola Bonacasa, ed. p. 128, Rome: L'Erma di Bretschneider.

Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1987. Greece and Rome. no. 54, pp. 10, 74, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Wrede, Henning. 1991. "Matronen im Kult des Dionysos: Zur hellenistischen 'Genreplastik'." Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Römische Abteilung, 98: pp. 174 n. 72, 176-7, pl. 43, 1, 2.

Reusser, Christoph. 1993. Der Fidestempel auf dem Kapitol in Rom und seine Ausstattung: Ein Beitrag zu den Ausgrabungen an der Via del Mare und um das Kapitol 1926-1943. no. 9, pp. 185-96, 240-2, figs. 102-6, Rome: L'Erma di Bretschneider.

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

Bol, Peter C. 1997. Liebieghaus-Museum alter Plastik. Fuhrer durch die Sammlungen: Griechische und Romische Plastik. p. 188, Abb. 122, Frankfurt am Main: Liebieghaus Skulpturen Sammlung.

Abramitis, Dorothy H. 1997. "Statue of an Old Woman: A Case Study in the Effects of Restorations on the Visual Aspect of Sculpture." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 55(3): pp. 30-1, 33-7, figs. 1-3, 5-7.

Bober, Phyllis Pray. 1999. Art, Culture, and Cuisine: Ancient and Medieval Gastronomy. p. 140, fig. 79, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome no. 432, pp. 371, 490, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Leona, Marco and Dr. Seán Hemingway. 2009. "The Materiality of Art: Scientific Research in Art History and Art Conservation at the Metropolitan Museum." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 67(1): p. 7, fig. 7.

Cain, Hans-Ulrich. 2012. "Auf die Spitze getriebene Hellenisierung." Hellenismus. Eine Welt im Umbuch.. p. 112, Stuttgart: Konrad Theiss Verlag.

Stewart, Andrew F. 2014. Art in the Hellenistic World.. pp. 233, 235, fig. 140, New York: Cambridge University Press.

Picón, Carlos A. and Seán Hemingway. 2016. Pergamon and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of the Ancient World pp. 94-95, fig. 124, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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