Relief with Eurykleia, Odysseus, and Penelope

Collection: Athens, National Archaeological Museum
Title: Relief with Eurykleia, Odysseus, and Penelope
Context: From Thessaly
Findspot: Found at Thessaly, Gonnoi
Summary: Odysseus surprises his nurse, Eurykleia, while Penelope stands by her loom
Object Function: Votive?
Material: Marble
Sculpture Type: Stele, relief-decorated
Category: Single monument
Style: Late Classical/Hellenistic
Technique: Low relief
Original or Copy: Original
Date: ca. 350 BC - ca. 300 BC
Dimensions: H. 0.73 m; W. 0.77 m
Scale: Miniature (pictorial field)
Region: Thessaly
Period: Late Classical/Hellenistic

Subject Description: At the center sits Odysseus, seated to the left; he wears his chlamys over a chitoniskos, and a pilos, or conical helmet. While his left foot rests over a circular basin (in which his feet will be washed?), he reaches his right hand out to touch a woman, probably the nurse Eurykleia, who bends toward him, profile to the right. She wears a himation over a chiton. Behind Ocysseus stands Penelope, wearing a chiton over a peplos (?), with her back to the viewer, but with her head turned profile to the left (towards the other figures). She raises her left hand to her loom (which is indicated in very low relief in the background), and holds her distaff in her upraised right hand.

Form & Style: The relief occupies a sunken rectangle on a rectangular plaque, so that a thin border frames it on the bottom and both sides; the top is framed with a simple shallow pedimental form. A rectangular extension at the bottom would have been socketed into the ground or into a base.

Condition: Intact

Condition Description: The frame is slightly chipped, and broken off on the left edge; the figures lack heads, but most other details are intact; the frame and relief surface has both sustained scratches and stains.

Sources Used: Karouzou 1968, 154-55; Svoronos 1903-12, 633, pl. 134