This is a lovely work of art made of orange-brown clay. It is much older than the average terracottas one encounters: it dates to the Greek Early Classical Period, and is probably Attic; it is therefore quite unusual and without many parallels.
Depicted is a naked youth who turns his head sharply to the left. He has almond shaped eyes, low, straight brows, small ears, a long, somewhat bent nose and slightly parted lips. His hair, which is adorned with a fillet, is indicated by delicate incisions. The young man shows an erect posture. In the 1962 publication of the piece it was suggested that it may have been a doll.
Details supporting a dating in the Early Classical Period are the elevation of the right shoulder and the slightly advanced right leg. In addition to this specialists have pointed at the pronounced turn of the head in contrast to the strict vertical plane of the frontally rendered upper body; this finds parallels in the central figure of Apollo in the west pediment and in several of the metopes of the temple of Zeus at Olympia (Cf. Heiner Knell, Mythos und Polis. Bildprogramme griechischer Bauskulptur (Darmstadt, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1990), p. 80 ff., figs. 115-117, 119-120, 124-125).
Herbert A. Cahn a.o., 120 antike Terrakotten. Sonderliste E (Basel, Münzen und Medaillen AG, 1962), no. 8 with illustration.
Circa 460-450 B.C.
Height: 12.6 cm; height including stand 21 cm.
Private Dutch collection; formerly Münzen und Medaillen AG, Basel, 1962; previously Auktionshaus H.H. Kricheldorf, Stuttgart, 1958, Auktion VI, no. 26.
Arms and lower legs missing; genitals damaged; head and thigh reattached; some minimal surface wear and encrustation as shown; mounted.