Invented about 350 BC by the Athenian coroplasts (makers of terracotta figurines) in the tradition of contemporary statuary, the theme of a veiled dancer was used by the other Greek workshops in Greece in the Hellenistic period (330-31 BC). Although the first veiled dancers are sometimes identified as nymphs (associated with the god
Pan), they are also considered to be mere mortals, future brides dancing a sacred prenuptial dance. The clinging drapery would then be an excuse to reveal her curves.
Among the main coroplastic centres using this classic theme, the small coastal town of Myrina (in modern Turkey), whose necropolises yielded thousands of clay figurines in the 1880s, was distinguished from the second century on by works influenced by the flourishing sculpture schools in the vicinity. Pergamon, Rhodes, and Ephesus are bridgeheads for a deliberately theatrical, dynamic, even violent sculptural style, an echo of troubled times. With its deep folds, and whirling drapery, the strong thrust of her right arm and left leg, this dancer clearly belongs to this vein.
Although the interpretation cannot be entirely excluded, it is hard to see in her the modest fiancée of the early veiled dancers. The sphere she belongs to could have changed over time in Asia Minor taking on connotations we can only guess at, perhaps related to banquet entertainment.
Reproduction in hand patinated resin
- H. 19 cm (7,48"); L. 10 cm (3,94"); P. 6 cm (2,36") - 0,700 kg
- Beige marble
- Greece, Lemnos Island
- Material of the original
- 150-100 B.C.
- Paris - Musée du Louvre
- Theatre, music and dance
- Art movement
- Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities