A girl’s grave marker, by Matthew Egger

This grave marker, or stele, from the Greek island of Paros, depicts a girl completely captured in the moment, holding two doves. The point of the stele is to evoke remembrance for the dead. The sculptor does this by capturing one perfect moment[1].

Pindar advised not to ask too much of the Gods, to count your blessings as they are, and to enjoy the little simple moments that are enough to keep emotions at bay and  happiness alive. He wrote:

We are things of a day. What are we? What are we not? The dream of a shadow is man, no more. But when brightness comes, and the gods give it, there is a shining light on man, and his life is sweet.  Pythian 8.95-98

Pindar would appreciate the simple beauty of this stele. The girl holds the doves to her chest, so that the birds are forever held on the brink of flying away. The subtle symbolism places the girl in this exact moment as well. She is effectively frozen in time, not unlike the doves, just before she could fly away and leave the world of the living. Her loved ones may have looked upon the relief and taken some form of comfort in the fact that, at least symbolically, their lost family member is forever preserved in time in so serene a moment. She is eternally memorialized in one of the moments suggested by Pindar to be best for mortal enjoyment.

[1] Neer, Richard T. Greek Art and Archaeology: A New History, C. 2500-c. 150 BCE. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2012. Print. [301]

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