ATHENIAN GRAVESTONES


 Graves -markers have two functions: a) mark place where deceased is
                                                               b) say something about him/her

 In 7thC. graves usually had massive amphoras on top; ( W. 3,4,6,9. B.211)

 From about 610 they had "STELAE", or sometimes kouroi (W.54,58; B.61)

 6thCbc the stele had: -rectangular base, sometimes with a relief
                                     -tall, thin slab with relief
                                     -a capital -often double volute -above relief
                                     -sphinx crouching on top, probably to guard the dead
                                         (in the round) (B. 71)(W .61)

 In the mid 6thC Athens' nobility was very wealthy; gravestones were placed along roads out of the city and impressed passers-by with the wealth of the family. Very high quality sculpture.

 About 530 sphynx disappears -partly because they were so expensive, partly because monsters had become unfashionable in art. Instead, the stele is
 crowned by a palmette -double volute at first, single one later.

 (For 6thC shapes see W.59)

 The relief:
not much more than a side view of kouros -left leg forward, and always seen from right side. Eyes seen as from front! Usually low relief; sometimes just incised, eg youth with flower (R.105). Details painted, including a dark background. More personal details than on a kouros;
    eg boxer has crooked nose, swollen ear, thongs on hands (W.60)
         athlete holds aryballos (oil-pot)(W.61)

Sometimes more than one figure: eg athlete accompanied by small girl (W.61)
See also stele of Aristion, partly armed (W. 63; B.72; R. 102)
                              mother and child (W.62)
                              base with chariot scene (R.74)
                              stele from Orchomenos: old man and dog (R.103)
                              hoplite (R.98)
C. 500 -430:
hardly any Athenian carved gravestones (but see R.130,131; B.115).
Probably a law passed as part of Cleisthenes democratic reforms to limit ostentatious display of wealth. Several old stones used in new city walls
in 479 8C. White- ground lekythoi became the common grave-markers: painted scenes were more intimate and domestic (hardly anyone would see them) W.217, 218

430 BC -
Gravestones now back in fashion -shorter and wider than before
2 influences: a) the domestic quiet scenes on lekythoi
                        b) the sculptured style of the Parthenon frieze.

                 .
Figures are often seated, sometimes alone, but often with others.
No sentimentality; simple direct poses.
Relief is usually crowned with triangular pediment (with palmette on top), and has antae (square pillars) on either side. Name of dead often inscribed.
(eg; W.211,212; R.167-169;171-2)

Fourth Century
Similar format to late 5thC., but some developments;

a) drapery more massive (compare W.211 and 230 and B.138)
b) emotions more obvious, eg clasping of hands (W.231-2)
c) deceased sometimes -by contrast with b) -is expressionless and isolated from mourner(s). (eg 'Ilissos stele', W.233; R.218)
d) relief carving becomes deeper.
(see also W.234; R. 217, 218; C.56)

317- 307; during this period another law was passed to ban gravestones.

nb. B. = Boardman, R. = Richter, W. = Woodford
C. Scupham