Central Greece, Boeotia, ca. 3rd century BCE. A wonderful example of a Greek Tanagra terracotta figure, her form elegantly wrapped in a thin himation and standing with her left hand gripping its flowing draperies and her right hand on her hip, though concealed by billowing fabrics. Sculptors of Tanagra figurines were known to vary the direction of the head and the positioning of the arms. So a single figure type might have several subtly different poses. Here, the lady's head is gently turned toward her right, slightly bowed and adorned with a plaited coiffure. An elegant example with extensive detailing and considerable remaining red and white pigment still gracing the surface. Size: 6.125" H (15.6 cm); 7.625" H (19.4 cm) on included custom stand.
Tanagras are named after the site in Boeotia, central Greece, where thousands of similar figures were unearthed in the early 1870s. Figures of men, children, and comic actors were also found at Tanagra, but standing female figures are the most numerous. The chief appeal of Tanagra figures lies in their exceptional artistic quality usually considered to be the finest of all Greek figurines. The ladies are normally depicted in casual poses and their clothes, which usually consist of a thinner undergarment, the chiton, worn beneath a thicker cloak or himation, are typically pulled and twisted in pleasing patterns which emphasize the form of the figure beneath. Most Tanagra figures are mold made, and sometimes have a vent cut in the back to ensure even distribution of heat in the firing. After firing, the figure was coated in a white slip, and then colors were added. The artists who produced these figures were known as coroplasts, literally meaning 'modelers of girls.'
Similar examples may be found in Reynold Higgins' "Tanagra and the Figurines" (Princeton University Press, 1987).
Provenance: private New York, New York, USA collection; ex collection Simone de Monbrison, Paris, France.
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