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Visual Flexibility: Votive and Funerary Banquet Reliefs in Late Classical Attica



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Miller, Holly 


Votive banquet reliefs featuring a reclining elder male employed a visual language that to ancient viewers unambiguously defined the nature and identity of a hero. This highly flexible language appears to have been quickly adopted in the heroising realm of funerary monuments by the end of the Late Classical period, ca. 400–323 BCE, and remained a desired aesthetic throughout the Hellenistic period, ca. 323–31 BCE. In this lesser known and smaller corpus of votive banquet reliefs, few examples retain any vestiges of polychromy or inscriptions. An unstudied and unpublished relief of this type from the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, however, exceptionally retains both. A close study of this relief provides insight into the aesthetic tastes of the Late Classical period, as well as an understanding of how banqueting iconography, originally reserved for a hero rather than heroised deceased, was emphatically adopted into the funerary sphere at the end of the fourth century BCE.



banquet reliefs, Late Classical and Hellenistic art, Athens

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Archaeological Review from Cambridge

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