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Fragment of a Funerary Stele
3rd quarter of the 4th century BC
H. 88 cm ; W. 51.5 cm ; D. 7.7 cm
Acquired by Rodin between 1893 and 1913.
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In the Greek world, particularly in Athens, the funerary stele, erected on the tomb of the deceased, was decorated with a carved relief. Here, the deceased is represented seated on a stool, clad in a tunic and cloak, and surrounded by her family.The loss of part of the relief has cropped the composition.
Standing behind the main figure, one can still identify a man leaning on a walking stick, in front of the head of a servant, whose hand is pressed to her face in sign of mourning.Traces of a child’s hand can be seen on the knees of the deceased.
Owing to the fragmentation of the scene, the focus now falls on the deceased, who stands out in high relief and, according to Rodin, assumes her full value in space.The fragments of the other figures, tapering upwards in weaker relief and offering relatively legible evidence of what has been lost, are now accidentally assembled in a new composition with the face and drapery of the deceased.