Monday, 24 October 2016

Cyrene: Small head of Alexander the Great

Small head from a statuette of Alexander the Great, 3rd century BC; mid to late Hellenistic. 

Limestone, height 17.5 cm, width 10.6 cm.

MPH: 0.175 H (chin to crown): 0.12 W: 0.106 MPDepth: 0.125
Fine grained, cream-colored limestone.








From the sanctuary of Demeter and Persephone outside Cyrene, Libya
Excavation inv. no. 76-222

Interpol Folder: 2000/31561-1.1
https://www.interpol.int/notice/search/woa/1004127

Publ.refs.: D. White, "Excavations in the Sanctuary of Demeter and Persephone at Cyrene 1976. Fifth Preliminary Report," Libya Antiqua 13-14 (1976-1977) Appendix no.8, pp. 322-23, pl.93 b, c; S. Kane, "Votive and Portrait Sculpture from the Sanctuary of Demeter and Persephone at Wadi bel Gadir, Cyrene (Shahat)" Libyan Studies 8 (1976-77) 15.

Head, broken at neck; Chipped or broken: tip of nose, forehead, chin, curls of hair on right side; surface worn, especially on left side of neck.

 This under life-size head represents Alexander the Great. The face is long, with a high forehead, prominent cheekbones, flat cheeks, squared chin, and strong jawline. From the front, the neck is strongly modelled, its twist indicated by the bulging sterno-mastoid muscles, yet from a side view, it appears especially thick and set onto the head at an awkward angle. Most attention is lavished on the hairstyle from the front. Two rows of short curls frame the face. At the top of the forehead they spring up on either side of a faintly suggested part in the well-known anastole. This elaborate treatment does not continue onto the rest of the head. Elsewhere, the hair is only impressionistically suggested by point and chisel strokes. The tool marks become progressively rougher towards the nape of the neck where the hair merges into a large strut.


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