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Tall Cypriot Limestone Figure - Standing Male Youth

Ancient Greece, Cyprus, ca. 6th to 5th century BCE. A hand-carved limestone male youth, standing with elongated arms at his sides recalling Greek kouroi, carefully delineated fingers, and the left leg slightly advanced akin to the contrapposto of other Greek figures. He wears a close-fitting tunic and a loin cloth with ties that cross at the waist and faces front with a solemn visage comprised of almond-shaped eyes, an arched browline, a naturalistic nose, closed lips, full cheeks, and a rounded chin. While the verso of his buttocks is rounded, the back of his torso and head are flat in the fashion of a relief. Although scholars have not been able to identity these figures, some have proposed that they are young men of high rank in service to a deity. Size: 12.5" H (31.8 cm); 15.25" H (38.7 cm) on included custom stand.

Limestone sculpture had a centuries-long tradition in Cyprus; it flourished during the Archaic and early Classical periods before its decline in the fourth century BCE. Greek control over the island during most of that time period - as well as a less overt but still important Greek influence on eastern Mediterranean culture - meant that Cypriot sculptors often imitated Greek statuary, and the Greek veneration of male youths was an artistic constant. This piece comes to us from the period when Cypriot artisans produced limestone art. In time, the availability of marble and bronze statuary from other areas of Greek cultural influence, coupled with the ease with which artists could travel around the area during the relative peace of the Hellenistic era, meant that the native tradition of limestone sculpture would eventually come to a demise, replaced by works from outside the island.

See a similar Cypriot limestone youth in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Accession Number 74.51.2473) - https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/242025

See another similar Cypriot limestone youth in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Accession Number 74.51.2479) - https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/242031 - As in this example, the man is characteristically under life-size, beardless, and dressed in a close-fitting tunic, though his brief loincloth is decorated with rosettes, and his headband is also adorned with rosettes.

Condition: Losses to lower legs. Expected surface wear commensurate with age. Nice delineation of facial features, fingers, outlines of tunic and loin cloth. A very special and rare example.

Provenance: ex-private TS collection, San Diego County, California, USA acquired between 25 and 40 years ago

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