A Greek Marble Helmeted head of Athena, Classical Period, Late 4th century BCE
A Greek Marble Helmeted head of Athena, Classical Period, Late 4th century BCE
A Greek Marble Helmeted head of Athena, Classical Period, Late 4th century BCE
A Greek Marble Helmeted head of Athena, Classical Period, Late 4th century BCE
A Greek Marble Helmeted head of Athena, Classical Period, Late 4th century BCE
A Greek Marble Helmeted head of Athena, Classical Period, Late 4th century BCE

A Greek Marble Helmeted head of Athena, Classical Period, Late 4th century BCE

GS2101

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"On her head [Athena] set her helmet of gold, with four plumes, and coming to a peak both in front and behind - decked with the emblems of a hundred cities; then she stepped into her flaming chariot and grasped the spear, so stout and sturdy and strong, with which she quells the ranks of heroes who have displeased her." Homer, Iliad II.5.663

Carved from fine white marble, this impressive marble head was originally from a figure of the highly revered goddess Athena. Goddess of wisdom, warfare, and the protector of Athens, Athena was the favorite child of Zeus. She emerged from his head fully formed and armor-clad, so magnificent that even the sun god Helios stopped the course of his chariot through the sky in awe. An excellent example of the Greek artistic canon from the end of the Classical period and the beginning of Hellenism, the goddess is portrayed wearing a Corinthian helmet pushed to the back of her head in the customary fashion.  Originally the sculpture was painted, so the helmet eye openings were probably once added in paint.   She has a perfectly oval face that portrays her serene and majestic countenance with full lips, straight nose, and soft almond-shaped eyes, her long hair flowing in wavy curls over the temples, was once gathered in a plait at the back. 

Cf. B. S. Ridgway, Greek Sculpture in the Art Museum, Princeton University, Princeton, 1994, pp. 53-56, no. 15, "The original of this type was probably made in the late fifth or early fourth century B.C. and belongs to a class of helmeted statues of the goddess that are derivative of the Pheidian Athena Parthenos, dedicated within the Parthenon in 438 B.C.".

Also, cf. M. B. Comstock and C. C. Vermeule, Sculpture in Stone; The Greek, Roman and Etruscan Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1976, p. 97, no. 150; and H. Hoffmann, Ten Centuries That Shaped The West, Houston, 1970, pp. 44-45, no. 14 for similar.

Condition: Overall excellent ancient surface patina. Ancient loss to the top helmet crest, tip of nose and tip of chin, small area at the back rejoined but otherwise intact. Mounted on a conservation block base. A truly lovely example.

Dimensions: Height: 3 3/4 inches (9.5 cm)

Published: K. Hamma, ed., The Dechter Collection of Greek Vases, San Bernardino, 1989, p. 83, no. 2, (not illustrated). Exhibited: San Bernardino, California State University; and Art Galleries, California State University, Northridge, The Dechter Collection of Greek Vases, 5 May-2 June 1989 and 26 February-30 March 1990.

Provenance: The Hanita and Aaron Dechter Collection, Los Angeles, acquired before 1989.

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