Key Information Monument Type- Grave Stele Material- Marble Date- c340 B.C. Height- 1.68m Technique- High Relief Style -Late Classical
Discovery Found at the bottom of the Ilissos river in Athens ( 2 nd of December 1874 ) The young mans arms and nose have been eroded away due to the river. The back of the old man has also been destroyed.
What is shown? Aged farther mourns Dog sniffing the ground behind his master Dead mans young servant ‘half asleep exhausted by the painful loss’ sits on the steps Young (now dead) man leans legs crossed against a pillar
Holes can be seen on either sides of the figures heads where it is thought metal wreaths would be put into place. Parian sculptor Skopas (or a sculptor from his workshop) is thought to be the creator of this relief.
Dead Young Man The young (now dead) man holds a Lagobolon (a club used in the hunting of hares) in his left hand. The fact that he may have been a hunter is reinforced by the dog bellow him sniffing the floor. The young man crosses his legs causing his left calf muscle to be pushed out, this technique conveys a realistic sense of movement of musculature. His stomach is relaxed as he rests against the wall however this realism is shattered by the fact that prominent groin muscles can be seen bulging. The crossing of the legs is also for me unrealistic and uncomfortable.
Influence Due to the grand stance and the nude state of the young man it is thought that the figure was influenced by a free standing statue of a hero. This would have been due to when creating a grave marker of remembrance it seems right to exaggerate the deceased as to immortalize them in a heroic flattering way. (Maybe link to another heroic statue done from the same time period?)
Old Man The fact that this figure is old is highlighted by the staff, old haggard face and beard. The bowing of the head conveys the weight of grief on his shoulders as he comes to terms with his ‘son’s’ death?. It is unfortunate that half of this characters body has been destroyed (presumably due to the effects of the river) and we can only guess what the rest of this stele would have held.
Young Boy (servant/slave?) The crouched figure of the young boy on the steps sums up the grief obviously felt by the family of the young man. I think that the many different characters seen in this grave marker could show just how loved the young man was.
Comparison A comparison can be made between this fetal grief stricken position and that of a marble grave stele of a youth from Aegina island or Slalamis island (430-420BC) where the slave is looking off into the distance distracted and distant. This lack of eye contact in the Ilissos stele could be seen as good or bad.
The Dog The use of a dog to convey death (seen in many other grave makers) shows that dead are being sensed. A dog can also connote loyalty The fact that three humans and a dog are seen in this relief clearly highlights the advantages of a relief as the sculptor has more room to explore the use of multiple characters.