Kore 675 – Archaic Greek sculpture

kore 675

This Greek sculpture is absolutely wonderful! This is a small kore, only about 50 cm tall, is preserved in the Acropolis museum of Athens. Next to the sculpture there are several copies of it painted in different colors. Those copies are truly horrifying, if only because the material used doesn’t react to the colors the same way the marble does, but at least the curatorial staff tried to prevent the public from getting the wrong idea about the absolute white of Greek sculptures. This kore, called kore 675, was made between 520-510 and was found in the Perserschutt.

A kore is a sculpture depicting a young lady, usually with an offering. Kore 675 wears a chiton (which is a tunic in a light fabric) as well as a transverse himation (this clothing is used as a jacket and its fabric is thicker) hung to her right shoulder. With her left hand she moves the chiton so she can move her leg, while her right hand used to have an offering, such as the other korai (plural of kore). However, while the other korai have the offering closed to their chest, the kore 675 has her arm bend in front of her in a 45° angle which would have given the spectator a better look at the offering. The sculpture still has lots of polychromy, and you can see some of the decorative motifs added to the sculpted ones. Only the lower stripe of the chiton is painted, and the rest of the clothing has rosettes on it. If you look closely at the clothing, you will notice lots of different kinds of wrinkles. They are everywhere on the sculpture and their goal is to increase the decorative effect. This is enhanced by the locks, which give volume to the chest.

As well as the clothing, the hairstyle is very decorative. The forehead is quite large, and the arches of the eyebrows are neat and bloom towards temples. The internal and external angle of the eyes are inclined, one towards the top and the other one towards the bottom, and as a result the eyelids are sinuous. The cheekbones make up an horizontal line, and they are not too bony or striking. The whole face is animated by the lips that meet in the corners (which was not common at that time). The arc of the bottom lips mirrors the arc of the eyebrows. The chin is more striking than the cheekbones. Once again, you can observe the multiples decorative effects of this sculpture.

          kore 675 side    kore 675 face    kore 675 back

The most striking part in this sculpture is the back. While you can see all the decorative effects I have already discussed, the back is almost unsculpted. Specialists thought the sculpture was unfinished, but this is not completely true since it was polished and there no tools’ marks.

This sculpture, along with the other archaic sculptures, was probably standing on the Acropolis, possibly on a column. If you want to get a good idea of what the Acropolis area looked like before the Persian Wars, imagine all the korai, kouroi, and other masculines types of sculpture standing between the buildings that existed at that time (which we lost after the Acropolis was rebuilt in the Classical period). Imagine the marble sculptures all painted in very vivid colors, and imagine also bronze sculptures (some gold-like because of the patina) under the sun with all the light reflecting on them. Doesn’t it look great and quite amazing?


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