Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Tanagras Exhibit Featured At The Louvre

"Louvre visitors are now viewing displays of 240 statuettes of modestly draped and veiled matronly or maidenly figures found in thousands of graves from the era of Alexander the Great in cemeteries round the vanished hilltop city of Tanagra, about 20km east of Thebes in Viotia."

"The baked clay Tanagras are hardly more than 30 centimetres tall, about the height of a wine bottle. Some are thought to represent deities, but most realistically show figures, generally female, less often youths or children. They are above all marked by a charming grace."

Russian art historian GA Beloff once described them. "They spoke of the daily life of ancient Greece as expressed in a variety of poses and action full of grace and harmony. This ability to accentuate the beauty of the human figure, to model in clay resorting to all the artistic methods which had been perfected in time, is what makes the anonymous Tanagra sculptors genuine masters of plastic art, and the terracotta statuettes they made works of great artistic significance."