Large Terracotta Votive Head
Circa 2nd-1st Century BC
Description: Substantial terracotta votive head showing a youthful idealized female face in profile. The facial features are well defined and attractive. Modeled with a flat base at the bottom of the slender neck. The eye is slightly recessed and outlined in relief. Small lips are slightly parted. Thick curls of hair frame the face with strands indicated. A veil covers the head. Remains of red pigment in the hair and veil. The figure is hollow-cast from slightly coarse, heavy clay. The side opposite the face is flat and has a circular vent hole, necessary for firing, at eye level. Superb and very appealing, well-provenanced example of a rare type.
Height: 11.5 in. (28.5 cm)
Condition: Intact with features well preserved.
Provenance: Once Hurst Gallery, Cambridge MA. Formerly in the collection of Gyorgy Kepes (1906-2001). Kepes and his wife Julia emigrated from Hungary in 1943 eventually settling in Massachusetts. Kepes was an internationally renowned painter, sculptor, photographer and committed environmentalist. He taught at MIT for 27 years and founded MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies in an effort to fulfill one of his life’s dreams to break down the barriers between art and technology.
Reference: For a parallel, see Ancient Lives – Greeks, Romans and Etruscan Artefacts from the Collection of the National Museum of Antiquities at Leiden, The Netherlands, 1999. The author suggests that half-head types, such as the current example, are comparatively rare and are generally found in Tuscany. Also, see a similar example in the collection of the British Museum.
Price: $ 5,900