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Grave Stele
Early 4th century B.C.
43 x 22 x 6 inches
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Museum purchase with funds provided by the Alice Pratt Brown Museum Fund


In ancient Greece, grave markers showed respect and affection for the deceased, and they also indicated family status and wealth. This fragment depicts a standing youth and seated female, possibly his mother, grasping hands in the traditional Greek gesture of farewell, dexiosis.

In death, the young man stands dignified and solemn.

This stele, or carved monument, conveys a sense of sadness for the loss of a life cut short. The carving is exceptionally fine, the figures ideal with classical proportions. The style is similar to that of the famous scenes depicted on the Parthenon in Athens.