Terracotta figurines are the most common sculpture type in Greek art. Often fairly crude in their rendering, they were clearly designed for use across all social strata, and provide insight into the everyday lives of Greeks. This statuette is a wonderful example of the polychromy that defined Greek sculpture. Traces of paint left on an artefact are usually too small to be detected by the human eye, and so require technology to be discerned. In this instance, however, the polychromy is clear, making the statuette an excellent and rare insight into how Greek statuary was intended to look, and would have appeared in its original form.
The term ‘contrapposto’ refers to a sculptural scheme originated in Ancient Greece around the 5th century BC, in which the human figure is poised so that the weight rests on one leg, whilst the other is free and bent at the knee. The weight shift and hip tilt suggest relaxation, making the sculpture more dynamic through a subtle movement that denotes life. Such scheme presents an evolution from the Kouros (κοῦρος) sculptures, figures rendered in a static advancing stance, with the weight evenly distributed on both legs.
To find out more about polychromy in ancient art, please refer to our relevant article: Polychromy in Ancient Greece.