The Peplos Kore is one of the most well-known and popular pieces of Archaic Greek art. Peplos refers to the type of robe or shawl-like fabric draped over the figure and Kore meaning a girl or young female. This white marble statue stands 1.17 cm high and was made around 530 BC and was originally colourfully painted. The figure was found, in three pieces, in an 1886 excavation near the Erechtheion on the Acropolis of Athens.
Historians and archaeologists are in a debate about whether this status is part of the Kori tradition of a mortal girl or is she a goddess. Her eyes are focused on a distant object, and her smile is referred to as an “archaic smile”. The body is sculpted in the round; however, only the front of the body displays any detail.
Many Kore statues survive from the Archaic period of 700-480 BCE. Kouros figures or figures of young males, survive as well. There are several differences between the two, with the most significant being that Kouros (male) statues were almost always portrayed in the nude, while Kore (female) were always clothed.
Historians think of the Kore and Kouros figures as an offering or consecrated in fulfilment of a vow for devotional purposes, most probably as commemorations of the dead because they are often discovered in the vicinity of cemeteries.
Explore Ancient Greek Masterpieces
- Mask of Agamemnon – 1550–1500 B.C.
- Statue of a Kouros – 580 BC
- Peplos Kore – 530 BC
- Artemision Bronze – 460BC
- The Parthenon Marbles – 440 BC
- Caryatids of Erechtheum – 420 BC
- Boy with Thorn – Original Greek ~ 3rd century BC
- Dying Gaul – Original Greek ~ 230 BC
- The Winged Victory of Samothrace – 200 BC
- Laocoön and His Sons – 200 BC (Greek Original)
- Title: Peplos Kore
- Date: 530 BCE
- Period: Archaic
- Findspot: Acropolis of Athens
- Dimensions: H. 1.17 m
- Discovered: 1886
- Museums: The Acropolis Museum
“There is nothing permanent except change.”
– Heraclitus, Philosopher of the 4th century BC
Photo Credit: 1) See page for author [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons 2) See page for author [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons