Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Reclining Figure from Cyclades Islands

I know that I have a tendency to be all over the place, and today is no exception. When I studied art history, I was very taken with the art of the Cyclades Islands,* and a fine example of Cycladic sculpture is this figure of a reclining woman. Looks very modern, doesn't she? But she was carved in 2400 B.C.!

From To date, there are only twelve known sculptures that have been recognized as the work of a single artist today known as the Schuster Master, named after the previous owner of the present work, Marion Schuster. Most of Schuster Master’s works represent the female in a pregnant state. Like the sculptures by his contemporaries, the position of the feet pointing down indicates that the figures are meant to be perceived as reclining...

This exquisite marble female figure is the only complete work from the Schuster Master to survive. It is carved from a fine white marble with gray inclusions, and has survived in perfect condition. The surface has never been over-cleaned and it still exhibits a thin layer of calcarous incrustation that is typical of Cycladic marble sculpture.

This beauty was auctioned by Christie's in New York in December 2010. I don't know who made the winning bid (the price range was between $3 and $5 million), but I hope that after a reasonable time, the winner will donate it to a museum so that we can all enjoy this extraordinary piece of sculpture.

*The Cyclades Islands are located in the south of Greece. Only a small part of the 220 Cyclades islands are permanently inhabited. The most famous islands are Mykonos, Naxos, Paros and Santorini.

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