Monday, August 24, 2009

"Ancient Greek Harpists"

As I was listening to internet radio (Chicago's classical WMFT again, "Exploring Music with Bill McGlaughlin" and later "Live from the Martin Theatre: The Eroica Trio"), I remember the lovely ancient Greek harpists I saw at the Met museum and the Getty museum:

Marble seated harp player
Cycladic, late Early Cycladic I - Early Cycladic II, ca. 2800-2700 BCE
H. with harp 11 1/2 in. (29.21 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1947 (MMA 47.100.1)

(From the info card)
"A male figure playing a stringed instrument sits on a high-backed chair. This work is one of the earliest of the small number of known representations of musicians. It is distinguished by the sensitive modeling of the arms and hands."

View showing details of his chair...

And this is the one at the Getty Museum:

Marble seated harp player
Early Cycladic, 2700- 2300 BCE
Height - 14 1/8 x Depth 3 3/4 x Width 11 1/16 in.
Getty 85.AA.103

(From the info card)
"This figure of a seated man playing the harp is one of only a dozen known sculptures of its kind. With its balanced proportions and engaging sense of movement, it is one of the most accomplished..."
(From the Museum website)
"...this example is by far the largest. This harp player, seated on a four legged stool, is also unusual in that, unlike the others, he does not actually play his harp; he merely holds it, resting its soundbox on his thigh."

Although they are ancient, there's a 'modern' sense to them, perhaps it's the abstract element, or that many modern artists were influenced by ancient and tribal art.

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