Work: Lyre Player

Copy of sculpture

Lyre Player (cast in plaster)


72 cm high, 40,5 cm wide, 10 cm deep
cast from the original
alabaster plaster
Greek and Roman


II century BC
72 cm high, 40,5 cm wide, 10 cm deep
Archaeological Museum, IstanbulSi apre in una nuova finestra

Photo: Maurizio Bolognini. Museo Tattile Statale Omero Archive.


“Practice, oh maidens, the beautiful gifts of the Muses of the violet-perfumed wombs and the melodious and resonant lyre”, Sappho.

This small fragment is a 72cm high sculptural relief representing a Lyre player, the original of which is at the Istanbul Archaeological Museum. The Museo Omero has a copy from a true cast in alabastrine plaster. The original work, carved in marble, is in the Neo-Attic artistic style, typical of the wider Pergamum area in the later 2nd century BCE.

It shows a girl in profile, probably a Citharede Muse, who is walking solemnly and playing a meticulously accurate Lyre which is attached to her left shoulder by a ribbon.
She is moving towards the right. Her bare right arm is bent, with her hand plucking the strings while her left arm is hidden behind her body. Her right leg is bent slightly backwards and her foot is depicted in high relief, showing her delicate sandal that is decorated with a little heart. Her left leg is vertical, bearing her weight.

Her head, which has a regular shape, is depicted in profile. Her face has no striking features. Her hair is tied back with a ribbon; a light cloak adheres to her body, emphasizing its shapeliness, and creates a cascade of folds below the lyre.

This kind of iconography was widespread at the time and is present in many other works, both Greek and Roman. The work is in fairly low relief, but it is quite possible to enjoy the work and understand its composition through touch, thanks to the good condition of the smooth, flowing surfaces.
The original sculpture must have contained other, now lost, parade companions, preceding and following the Lyre player.