Art History

1 January 2017

In this paper i will compare and contrast two ancient sculptures from the metropolitan museum of art, one greek and one roman. The first sculpture is the marble grave stele of a little girl. The second sculpture would be Marble Relief of a dancing maenad. Both are made at about the same time period in the 5th century b. c. Marble grave stele of a little girl is known to be found at the little girls grave, which is sad because she looks so young and innocent with her doves which might of been the doves from the olympics being that she was never aloud to attend them or could of been her pets.

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The marble relief of a dancing maenad was probably hung somewhere to show her beauty. Their are different types of sculptures, but both are bas or low relief. This means they are a projecting image with an overall depth. These sculptures were made of two of the most finest marble. Grave stele of a little girl is dressed in a peplos. A simple woolen garment folded over at the top fastened at the shoulders, kinda reminds me of a robe of some sort. This little girl looks like she is growing into a young woman but sadly never made it their.

The peplos looks a little big for her as i saw it was draping under her sandal maybe it was her mothers or maybe it was made for her to grow into. Relief with a dancing maenad wore a similar robe called a diaphanous chiton . Maenad often wore animal skin. This woman’s clothing you can tell fit her very well by the way it was wrapped around her. Then again this was a way of the maenads. They were looked at for their beauty which might of been why it was fit so well. The way way she is moving in this dress can show a lot of her beauty.

Both sculptures show the aspects being kinda the same of their dressing to their facial expressions hair and eyes. The grave stele of a little girl is made of Parian marble which was considered one of the finest marbles for sculptures. The relief of dancing maenad was made from Pentelic marble. Pentellic marble comes from the quarries of mount Pentelikos near Athens Greece. Both were very high prized marbles and they were rivals. Parian is a fine-grained semi translucent pure white and entirely flawless marble quarried during the classical era on the greek island of Paros.

Pentelic marble is also flawless white albeit with a uniform faint yellow tint that makes it shine with a golden hue under sunlight. Bas relief is the kinda sculptures that grave stele of a little girl and marble relief of a dancing maenad are. The grave stele was put over the little girls grave that is on the sculpture. She is put on the sculpture with her doves to show that those were probably her pets. The dancing maenad was probably hung somewhere to show her beauty and dancing. Although both sculptures were in the 5th century B. C one is greek and one is roman.

The dancing maenad has such detail in all of it although it was a low relief it felt so real with the flowing of her i felt like she was just gonna jump out and start dancing in front of me. The grave stile of a little girl didn’t give me the same feel so much. Although the sculpting of both are amazing the dancing maenad was much more realistic. Both these sculptures look ilke pure marble. I do not believe they were painted at all. The dancing maenad just made me wanna feel it. Its crazy how without the technology and tools we have now they still were talented enough to make their own tools and create such extravagant works of art.

Also when i went to see these sculptures the first thing i realized was they were both looking down with almost the same exact facial expression. The grave stele of a little girl is bowing her head. This is very unusual for someone that young. You can see sorrow in her eyes as she looks down at the birds. In the second sculpture you can see sorrow in the Maenads eyes also as she looks down at the floor dancing. Maenads abandoned themselves and celebrated the rites of the god with song and dance and music in the mountains. This is what this maenad is doing.

I think the little girl is sorrow because it must of been hard to be a little girl and be happy to the fullest living under the societies view of women. In the marble relief of a dancing maenad the woman probably feeling the same way. She was just doing what men told her to do. This was what women were suppose to do in their society. They listened to their father husband or any other men in their lives. I think thats why in both sculpture their so sorrow because of unfairness to woman in those times. The marble grave stele of a little girl with doves is a symbol of how woman weren’t aloud to attend the olympics.

The olympic games ceremony closes with the release of doves which is why im pretty sure the birds are doves. This symbolizes how the little girl is sorrow about not wanting to give up her rights. Woman in ancient roman times were not only not allowed to participate in the olympics they couldn’t even watch or vote and were left home to perform religious duties. Olympics was a very big thing in ancient times and it must of really sucked to not be able to attend. In the marble relief of a dancing maenad you can tell she is just doing what she is told and what is expected of her although she does not want to.

Women were thought of as creatures only there for their beauty. They were not respected by men but instead viewed as objects. They were not aloud to be left to them sleeves because they were thought to waste away the day by playing, gossiping and day dreaming. Both sculptures show that woman were treated the same in a lot of the places in 5th century b. c. The people who sculpted these two pieces of art were very talented and into their work. Although i can only see the front of both of them i can imagine it was a real human just from the style and texture. These sculptures are not small which also makes them more realistic.

The grave stele of a little girl formal aspect refelcts its purpose. i think it was made to show the sorrow of the little girl. To show how she was a young girl who liked animals and had to say goodbye to them and not only them but to everyone being that this was her grave stone. The dancing maenad also reflected its purpose as to show the girls beauty. It shows how beautiful she dances and the twirling of her dress. I personally love the dancing maenad just because of the texture and feel of her. I can feel how she is feeling just from looking at her as she twirls her face with sorrow.

She’s probably thinking when she will be able to do what she wants and not have to follow what men told her. Its amazing how much you can find out about historical times by just looking at things they created. If it were not for art we would not no anything about the past. Looking at these sculptures and learning about them really made me realize how important art is to us. Its also amazing how in two different places these sculptures were made so much alike. Greek and Romans were very alike but so different at the same time. Both these pieces were very alike if i did not no any different i would think they were made by the same people.

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