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Class Name and Date

Art 230: Ancient Art. Fall 2015

Format Type


Time Period

Geometric Greek


Geometric Grave Markers




H: 1.79 m


550-540 B.C.

The Archaic kouros and kore are one of the most iconic pieces of archeological evidence from this period. These sculptures exhibit the beginning interest in human naturalism and the relationship between the drapery and body. However important the form of Archaic statuary, the function is equally important. The Phrasikleia Kore is an example, like many other kouros and kore that function as grave markers for wealthy elite.

The marble Phrasikleia kore is in particularly good condition as it was found buried underground.The condition of the kore gives the viewer a complete Archaic style statue to examine and understand. This kore is like many other draped maidens however it employs details that directly correlate to the deceased girl. She stands in a frontal and rigid pose as she gazes out towards the viewer. The right arm stiffly raises to present a closed lotus blossom in her closed hand, while the left pulls at her drapery. Her robe falls like a fluted column; one long piece of cloth that synchs at the waist. The drapery is decorated in Geometric shapes and design, giving it ornate detail. On her head she wears a flower crown made of lotus blossoms as hair falls down in rope like curls. With interest in creating a realistic and full face, she is shown with a slight smile that adds like to her cheeks.

Moving from the form of the Phrasikleia kore, its function was to stand as a grave marker for the deceased. She is identified as a grave marker based on context of where she was found as well as the inscription on the right side of the base. The inscription states: "I shall ever be called maiden, the gods allotting me this name in place of a marriage." Based on the inscription the viewer knows who the young girl was, the artist and that she died before she was married. Along with the inscription, the perfect preservation of this statue can give hints to who the young girl was. Kore usually stand erected above the buried body but this one was buried possibly to protect it from being mutilated. Speculations suggest that the Alcmaenoid family buried it to protect it from the Peisistraros family during a feud between the two elite units. Furthering this theory, the Alcmaenoid are known to have an interest in art and have erected other statues of this type.Details of this kind bring life to the kore and a narrative that distinguishes it from others.


Brinkmann, Vinzenz, Koch-Brinkmann, Ulrike, Piening, Henrich. “The Funerary Monument to Phrasikleia.” The Polychromy of Antique and Mediaeval Sculpture: Lieoiechaus Colloquium (2010): 189.

Hauser, Arnold. Social History of Art: Prehistoric, Ancient-Oriental, Greece and Rome, Middle Ages. New York: Alfred A. Knopf Inc., 1951.

Svenbro, Jesper. Phrasikleia: An Anthropology of Reading in Ancient Greece. New York: Cornell University Press, 1993.