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Greek and Roman Art: Marble Stele

This marble stele of a youth and a little girl exudes grandeur and affluence because of its sheer size and material. More so, the elements including the sphinx and relief of the youth and the little girl have caught my attention. I like the way the sphinx was illustrated. During the archaic period, a sphinx was placed on top of a stele to protect and guard the dead. The contrast between the soft smile of the sphinx and its stiff body posture exhibited energy and audacity. The sphinx’s facial features of deep set eyes, protruding nose and arched lips which were framed by curly locks of hair created a lifelike figure.

Meanwhile, the rigid hips, twisted tail and raised wings showed the mythical side of the sphinx. Also, the capital with spiral ornamentation displayed a flowing movement to a geometrically shaped marble stele. Moreover, the treatment of the relief of the youth and the little girl suggested that the stele was a tribute to a young athlete because of the muscular details on the figure. The broad shoulders, large chest, defined biceps and calf muscles exposed his athletic background. Furthermore, the oil flask on his wrist was commonly used by athletes during that period and the pomegranate on his hand symbolized fertility and death.

The combination of these elements gave a brief description about the figures. The obvious difference in the height of the figures implied that the the taller one is older while the shorter one is younger in age. On the other hand, I also like the dash of colors in the sculpture. There were evidences of red, blue and black pigments that contributed to the beauty of the stele. In conclusion, this Greek and Roman sculpture represented the artistry of skilled Greeks and Romans and their beliefs mythology and the after life.

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