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Peplos Kore – the start of Greek Art that led to the Venus de Milo

Peplos Kore

Peplos Kore – inspired by Egyptian Art but now wholly Greek

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 means a girl or young female.

This white marble statue stands 1.17 cm high, was made around 530 BC and was originally colorfully painted.

The figure was found, in three pieces, in an 1886 excavation near the Erechtheion on the Acropolis of Athens.

Historians and archaeologists debate whether this status is part of the Kori tradition of a mortal girl or a goddess.

Her eyes are focused on a distant object, and her smile is referred to as the “archaic smile.” 

The body is sculpted in the round; however, only the front of the body displays fine detail.


Peplos Kore

Many Kore statues survive from the Archaic period of 700-480 BCE. Also, many Kouros figures or figures of young males survived.

There are several differences between the two, and the most significant is that Kouros (male) statues were almost always portrayed in the nude. The Kore (female) were always clothed.

Historians think that the Kore and Kouros figures may also be offerings in fulfillment of a vow for religious dedications.

Most probably as commemorations of the dead because they are often discovered in the vicinity of cemeteries.

Archaic Greece

The Archaic Greece period lasted from the eighth century BC to the second Persian invasion of Greece in 480 BC. This period was followed by the Classical period.

In the visual arts, the archaic period is characterized by a shift towards representational and naturalistic styles.

It was the period in which monumental sculpture was introduced to Greece. The early part of the archaic period saw distinctive orientalizing influences in sculpture.

Life-size human sculpture in stone began in the archaic period. This was inspired in part by ancient Egyptian stone sculpture.

Early Kouros sculptures correspond to the Egyptian rules of the proportion of human figures. In Greece, these sculptures best survive as religious dedications and grave markers.

The best-known types of archaic sculpture are the kouros and kore, statues which were first developed around the middle of the seventh century BC.

Over the sixth century, these figures from Attica become more lifelike and naturalistic. This Peplos Kore in the Greek culture would eventually lead to the Venus de Milo.

Peplos Kore

  • Title:                         Peplos Kore
  • Date:                        530 BCE
  • Period:                      Archaic
  • Findspot:                  Acropolis of Athens
  • Dimensions:             H. 1.17 m
  • Discovered:              1886
  • Museums:                The Acropolis Museum

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Peplos Kore at 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 (], via Wikimedia Commons  2) See page for author [CC BY-SA 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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