Stele Melisto and Epigenes

Stele , Funerary relief of Melisto and Epigenes, around 420 BC


Melisto, daughter of Hegestratos, then, it is who sits to the spectator's left, on a cushioned chair without back, leaning against the pilaster, her sandalled feet resting on a footstool. In accordance with the fashion that was popular in Athens from about 450 B.C., she wears the thin Ionic chiton with sleeves, under the thicker sleeveless Doric chiton, and over the whole the ample cloak or himation, one end of which she holds up with the fingers of her left hand. With her right hand she clasps the right of her husband Epigenes, who stands facing her, seen in three quarters by the spectator.

He is a bearded personage of mature age ; his costume is that of the ordinary Athenian citizen, namely the cloak draped over the left shoulder, leaving right shoulder and breast bare, in the manner familiar from Stelai and from the frieze of the Parthenon. His left arm and hand hang quietly at his side.

If compared with similar personages on other tomb reliefs, it will be found that there is a certain individuality in the man's head.

Behind these two figures, and in much lower relief, stands a third a female attendant carrying what must be her mistress's jewel casket. Her head is shown in profile ; her hair is cut short and she wears the sleeveless chiton, without any upper garment.