Votive Relief, Side B: the god Men and worshippers, detail of Men

Votive Relief, Side A: Helios in chariot, detail of head of horse

Votive Relief, Side A: Helios in chariot, from left

Votive Relief, Side B: the god Men and worshippers, from left

Votive Relief, Side B: the god Men and worshippers, general view

Votive Relief, Side A: Helios in chariot, detail of chariot team

Collection: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Title: Two-sided Votive Relief to Helios and to Men
Context: Possibly from Attica
Summary: On one side, Helios driving the four-horse chariot of the sun; on the other side, Men seated side-saddle (?) on a large ram at an offering table to which four worshippers approach
Object Function: Votive
Material: Marble
Sculpture Type: Stele, relief-decorated
Category: Single sculpture
Style: Late Classical
Technique: Low relief
Original or Copy: Original
Date: ca. 340 BC
Dimensions: H. 0.45 m, W. 0. 445 m
Scale: Miniature (pictorial field)
Region: Attica
Period: Late Classical

Subject Description:

On side A, Helios, the personfication of the sun, dressed as a charioteer in a long flowing chiton, bound just above the waist, and short hair, rides a quadriga, or four-horse chariot, profile to the right (although the front of the spoked wheel of the chariot is shown to emerge slightly from the surface of the relief). Helios is also identified by a solar disk, which is on the relief surface behind his head.

On side B, Men, a moon god from Asia Minor (broken off but indicated by the lunar crescent, behind his body), is seated presumably in a 3/4-view to the right, on the back of the ram, shown profile to the right. In front of them is a sacrificial table piled with fruit and cakes, beneath which stand two birds. On the other side four humans, shown on a smaller scale (three adults and one child), advance to pay homage to the god. The cult of Men was introduced to Attika shortly after 400 B.C.

Form & Style:

The relief is framed by two antae (one of which is preserved), supporting a roof with antefixes (parts of four antefixes are preserved), and a plinth below the pictorial field.

Comstock & Vermeule associate this relief with the artists responsible for the frieze of charioteers on the Mausolleion of Halikarnassos (compare London (1008), ca. 350 B.C., which may have been carved by the workshop of Bryaxis the Elder, at Athens, where he returned after he worked on the Mausolleion. They also note that Helios' quadriga was a subject developed in Greek painting in the last quarter of the fifth century.

Condition: Intact

Condition Description: One large fragment, preserving most of one side of the relief, comprising the left half of side a, and the right half of side b. The relief is also broken in the lower left corner, and severely cracked in the upper left; the surface is well preserved, however, somewhat yellowed, with slight chips and stains.

Material Description:

Fine-grained 'Pentelic' (Comstock & Vermeule)

Inscription: On the architrave are traces of a votive inscription, on side A...*E*L...*H*E*L*I*W*I; on side B ...*Q...*I.

Inscription Bibliography: SEG 28.233

Collection History: Formerly in the Collection of Count K. Lanckoronski, Vienna. Acquired by the MFA in 1972.

Sources Used: Comstock & Vermeule 1976, no. 78 (with previous bibliography)

Other Bibliography: LIMC, 6.470-72, no. 126, pl. 251 (R. Vollkommer); 5.1018, no. 120, 1033, pl. 639 (N. Yalouris); Herrmann 1988, 11, 16, 19-20 no. 7, ill.; MFA Handbook 1984, 102-103, ill.; Vermeule 1980, 15, 118, 161-62, figs. 19-20; D. Salzmann, IstMitt 30 (1980) 275-76.