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||from the collection of Paul Arndt, 1908
Lying to the east of the Greek mainland, in the isles of the Cyclades which are rich in marble (Naxos, Paros, Syros and Amorgos) the most striking works of early Bronze Age art are the marble idols. Most often they represent naked female figures with folded arms and their feet fixed down. The majority of the figurines were found in tombs, laid next to the deceased, but their precise function has not been identified. The Cycladic representation of the human body, radically different from classical art and with an emphasis on pure elements of form, also inspired several twentieth-century artists.
On the face of most idols the nose is the only detail defined, but the white surface was once brightly painted. On the Budapest piece to the right of the nose we can clearly see the formerly painted arc of the almond-shaped eye protruding from the surface. Above the right eye we can faintly see yet another eye, similar in size and shape: the idol was thus originally painted with four eyes. The ridge on the brow, also originally painted, may have been a hairband or a diadem.
The particular features of this statue are its large size and the richness of its painted decoration. Most Cycladic figurines are 20-40 cm high; an idol larger than 60 cm is rather rare. Of its painted attributes, the two pairs of eyes may have invested the statue with the ability to see all, and the diadem with power, so it perhaps depicts not a simple mortal, but some being with supernatural powers.