From:Teece Museum of Classical Antiquities
Name/TitlePlaster cast of a bronze tragic mask
About this objectThis is a cast replica of an original ancient bronze sculpture in the form of a Greek theatre mask. The replica has been made with plaster, and painted green and orange to give the illusion of corroded bronze material.
The character is male and is depicted with a wide-mouthed tragic expression, a large triangular nose, large eyeholes with eyelids and exaggerated bags under the eyes, dramatic raised eyebrows and a large, highly detailed curly beard. The face also has high prominent cheekbones. The artefact is helmet-shaped, with a full detail of curly long hair at the back, and it is completely smooth and hollow inside. It is curious that the original sculpture is made of bronze and was formed as a helmet. This is an uncommon shape and medium for sculptures of theatre masks.
The creator of the original version of this mask was a sculptor named Silanion. He was one of the most well-known sculptors working in Greece during the 4th century BCE. His specialty was sculptures of heroes and portraits using the bronze medium.
The original of this mask was found in the ancient agora of Athens. An agora is a central community space that accommodated businesses, the arts, sports, religious and spiritual gatherings, and political life in the city. The Athenian agora did not have an amphitheater, so theatre performances in the space would have taken place out in the open. The original sculpture may have been a piece of decoration to commemorate the performances that took place there or perhaps was a votive offering.
MakerMinistry of Culture Archaeological Receipts Fund
Maker RoleCasting and Copying Workshop
MakerAttributed to Silanion
Date Made1988-1989 CE
Medium and MaterialsPlaster
Place MadeGreece; Athens
Style and IconographyHellenistic
Measurements308 x 380 x 340 mm
Chin to head = 395 mm
7.5kg (including mount and box)
Subject and Association KeywordsArt reproductions
Subject and Association KeywordsTheatre in art
Subject and Association KeywordsTheatre costume
Subject and Association KeywordsFigurative art
Named CollectionThe James Logie Memorial Collection, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Copyright LicenceAll rights reserved