Anphora–loutrophóros of Polystratos
h. 118 cm
Funerary anphora-loutrophóros of Polystratos in Pen- telic marble, of large dimensions and coming from At- tic that can be dated to the middle of the 4th century BC. It is large-scaled object, in good state of preservation, as its pear-shaped body remains intact, while the foot, the handles and the upper part of the neck are missing. The center of the section devoted to the relief is taken up by the customary scene of funeral farewell with three well-preserved figures of standing men (in “Athena Nike: la vittoria della dea”, Rome 2013, p. 112-117). On the left there is an aged man, the father. The figure’s name POLUKRATHS (Polykrates) is inscribed above his head. The old man needed to be propped by a walking stick, which was originally painted over the marble – and thus no longer visible – as it is shown by the diagonal arrangement of the torso and by the position of the crossed legs, wearing a cloak crossing the chest diagonally. Polykrates is greetings his son Polystratos, the deceased-one, shaking his hand (dexíosis) to symbolize the affective bond between the departed and the living members of family, still united beyond the grave. He is a warrior of mature age, his dead son, who is wearing a short-sleeved chiton, an anatomical cuirass with pteryges and chlamys. The name POLUSTRATOS (Polystratos), appears above the head. A slave follows him, wearing a short chiton and a Phrygian helmet, carrying Polystratos’ arms, a large circular shield and a spear. In the reconstruction of the marble vase, here graphically recreated in color proposed, there is an attempt to portray the form and original appearance of the anphora-loutrophóros as perceived by the ancient Greeks: the ornamental elements on the neck, shoulder and lower part of the body correspond to set models also in terms of range of colours – comprising cinnabar red, Egyptian blue, yellow and ochre. Furthermore, only paint could be used on the loutrophóros to indicate certain details of the figures which weren’t realized in relief, such as the stick on which the aged figure on the left is leaning and the spear in the hand of the servant. Recent studies have shed increasing light on the role of paint in the finishing of funerary monuments. Sculpture and painter must have worked together, deciding in advance which elements were to be carved and then painted.