Attica, Attica, Attica

To me, Attica has always been a prison in upstate New York where in the 1970’s there was a terrible riot over poor conditions, memorialized in Dog Day Afternoon where Al Pacino chants Attica over and over to rile the crowd outside of the Brooklyn bank he’s robbing.  Dang, I love that movie.

Who knew that Attica was also an area of Greece (Athens and its suburbs) back in the days before Socrates (the “Archaic Period” 800-480 BCE )?  I learned about some beautiful funerary-related art from Attica this weekend at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Our truly exceptional tour guide, Nancy Eder, led a special tour where we only viewed three pieces:  the first was what she called “The Metropolitan Kouros”.

A kouros is a life-sized (or even larger) statue of a standing, usually naked, “youth”.  According to Ms. Eder, experts are not entirely certain of the purpose of kouroi (plural). They think some were representations of gods but others were found in cemeteries and were likely used as tombstones!  Female Korai exist as well, always clothed.

The Kouros at the Metropolitan is one of the finest in existence. It is sculpted from marble and it would have been painted.  This kind of sculpting was revolutionary.  It was influenced by Egyptian carving of the time but this guy has open air between his legs, a huge innovation in the history of art!  Ms. Eder pointed out that the kouros has cracks at the knees, ankles and wrists, just where humans tend to wear out as well.

Check out his braids and headband and rear!


Ms Eder also showed us this remarkable 13 foot tall stele that stood over the grave of the son of a rich and powerful family from Attica.

It is the most complete grave monument of its type that exists from the Archaic period.  The Metropolitan collected pieces of it at various times.  The youth is holding a flask of oil (used by athletes after a workout) and a pomegranate (a symbol of fertility and death back then).

The third artwork we examined was Andy Warhol’s (15 feet tall) Chairman Mao.  Nothing to do with Estates, Trusts and Wills, but so cool!


2 Responses to “Attica, Attica, Attica”

  1. 1 Porsha Miller September 16, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Thank you for the insight on “Attica, and the related video. I found it enriching..

  1. 1 Our Grant From The National Endowment for the Humanities | The Dearly Departed Trackback on April 24, 2013 at 6:27 pm

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