Striding figures have long been a part of the repertoire of Greek sculptors, but it was only in the late Classical and Hellenistic periods that they were imbued with a feeling of movement. This small bronze Athena is a beautiful example of this new development. Rather than depicting a static moment, she catches the viewer up in the quickness and confidence of her pose. Her garments flow from her movement and, perhaps, from an accompanying wind. Cast using the lost-wax technique, the sculpture’s bronze surface was masterfully finished and details were carefully added. The goddess’s facial features are meticulously defined, as is her costume. She wears a Corinthian helmet adorned with a sphinx; a peplos formed by a folded sheet and pinned at the shoulders; and a protective cape, called an aegis, which is decorated with a gorgon head. At one time, she also carried a shield on her left arm—the handle strap remains while the shield itself was separately formed and is now lost. She must have also held a weapon in her right hand, likely a spear.
Hellenistic period, ca. 325–200 BC
H. 6 1/8 in. (15.6 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 62.117.116