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Work Corinthian Kore

Department of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities: Archaic Greek Art (7th-6th centuries BC)

Corinthian Kore

© 1998 RMN / Hervé Lewandowski

Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities
Archaic Greek Art (7th-6th centuries BC)

Author(s):
Hasselin-Rous Isabelle

This kore figurine, with the colored garments typical of the archaic period, stands in the attitude of an offering bearer. It is a votive object of Corinthian origin, a typical example of the host of korai dating from this period, identical in style and in the color of the clay. It is perhaps one of the very first of these, distinguished by the addition to the molded figure of the right forearm, modeled separately before being attached.

A Kore Figurine

The figurine represents a standing woman, richly attired and wearing a low polos on her head. With feet set together on a rectangular base, she stretches out her right arm to present the fruit she holds, while the left arm hangs free of the body, its hand pulling up the side of the garment. The young woman, her face animated by a smile, is wearing a long chiton, white over the torso and dark red below. Over the chiton is a himation, also deep red in color, draped like a sash over the right shoulder and under the left arm. The black paint used for the hair and the detail of the eyes is also employed to emphasize the bottom edge of the chiton. In posture and general appearance, the figurine is typical of the host of korai produced in Greece in the archaic period.

A Votive Offering from Corinth

The finely levigated pale beige clay of this kore is the same as that used in similar votive offerings found at Corinth. The discovery of kore molds belonging to the same series in the potters' quarter of the city confirms that this figurine was manufactured there. In addition, the fact that Corinthian korai always have a polos on their head - while their Attic counterparts have a stephane - further confirms this attribution to the Corinthian workshops.

The Earliest in a Series of Archaic Corinthian Korai?

This type of Corinthian kore is most often found in archaeological contexts dating from the last quarter of the sixth century BC, but is also found in assemblages dating from the late fifth century BC. The long life of such types is explained by the long-lasting use of the molds. This figurine is something of an exception in having an outstretched right forearm, unlike most korai of the same type, which have the arm pressed against the breast. The addition of this separately modeled forearm to the cast from the mold would have increased the time necessary for production. This places this kore among the earliest works of this type, for to hasten production the potters then had the forearm straight against the body and molded with it. The emphatic smile on the face and the form of the eyelids are also unusual. These features, however, have their parallel in the women's faces applied to Corinthian pyxides dating from the 530s BC. Might this then justify placing the manufacture of this figurine in those same years, thus identifying it as the first in the long series of Corinthian korai?

Bibliography

A. Pasquier, "Une nouvelle corè d'argile au Musée du Louvre", in Revue du Louvre, 1997, pp. 31-38

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