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Greece, Hellenistic Period, purportedly found in Centuripae, Sicily, ca. 3rd to 2nd century BCE. An amazing terracotta figure of a young man, Cadmus, naked, standing with legs crossed, in the act of strangling a serpent. The figure retains the remains of bright red gesso. Comes with custom stand. Size: 4.3" L x 5.4" W x 16.7" H (10.9 cm x 13.7 cm x 42.4 cm); height on stand: 18" (45.7 cm).
The sculpted details of the piece are amazing, showing off the Greek command of naturalistic sculpture and the human form - Cadmus is depicted in an ideal form, with the details of his musculature well-rendered and clear. The serpent has fine, scaly details and its sinuous curves further emphasize the artist's merit.
The figure tells the story of Cadmus, founder and first king of Thebes, who killed a serpent (a water dragon) protected by the war god Ares. On Athena's advice, Cadmus buried the teeth of the beast in the soil, releasing a legion of fierce men - the Spartoi, who helped Cadmus found the city of Thebes. Ares, angry at the killing of the serpent, demanded the Cadmus serve him for eight years.
Condition: Repaired from approximately nine original pieces with restoration over most of the breaklines. Old collection number affixed above the buttocks, and an early brass and ribbon collection tag around right ankle, embossed “Douaie Paris”.
Provenance: Ehe Breitbart Collection, acquired from the Estate of Dr. Jacob Hirsch, NYC. acquired from Joseph Ternbach, NYC, August 1964, with copy of letter from Ternbach. CIRAM TL test with this lot.