The Lady of Auxerre is a small limestone statue standing only at about 75 centimeters in height. She has been thought to have been created in Crete circa 630 BCE, although the making of the staute has influences from many ancient civilizations. The purpose of the Lady of Auxerre is widely controversial. It has been debated that she simply represents a maiden or even a Greek goddess.
The Lady of Auxerre was originally discovered in 1907 in a storage vault of the Museum of Auxerre in Paris, France and now rests in the Louvre Museum. She is so captivating because she has baffled researchers for years. It is a mystery how she made her way to the vault of the museum in Auxerre. Therefore, because her findings were not excavated from an ancient culture, the explanation of her creation is unknown. No one has concrete facts regarding to just who or what Lady of Auxerre is, but many inferences and theories continue to be made. The most common common claim of the classification of this statue is Daedalic style, which summarizes the new Greek techniques of stone sculpting in the 7th century. This style was named after Daedalus, who is said to be the one of the first creators of making statues in antiquity design. Researchers have assigned her to being from Crete on account of the type of limestone she is made of and the draping characteristic of her gown. However, there are many other cultural influences imbedded into the making of this tiny sculpture, which makes sense because Greek technique had spread eastward during the Orientalizing period. Her head is triangular shape, even though half of her face appears to have fallen off, and her body has elements of geometric technique. This along with the draping of her garments points to the influences of the Greek. Her hair and stance display a strong relation to Egyptian art. She is very rigid with the almond shaped eyes, exaggerated eyebrows, as well as a half smirking smile. The proportion of her torso to that of her lower body is not an accurate bodily depiction and yet another striking resemblance to Egyptian culture. The statue wears a belt and has a relatively narrow wasitline, which then represents Mycenaen artwork [See Donohue 1995, 26].
Local Historical Context
The origin of the Lady of Auxerre is completely unknown. Due to her mysteriously being found in a vault of a small French museum, no one knows what culture she is from, if she was a gift, or if there is a religious aspect to her or not. There are a multitude of theories and due to archeological evidence, we can narrow down the potential time period to c.630 BCE and the type of limestone was similiarly linked to ruins of Crete. The placing of her right hand across her breast has caused many debates. Few people claim that because of her hand being placed where it is, perhaps she is a goddess because she pointing out her sexual female attributes like a multitude of other discovered figurines. Others still believe that she is just a typical Kore statue, which in Greek means "maiden." Some even think that she is maybe apart of some fertility worshipping group or just dedicated her eternity to prayer in honor of some gods. The draping of her attire may point to some potential status of power or wealth but the troubling part is that it is not all loose around the entire body. It becomes really tight and belted around her waist and then clings firmly to her side [See Robertson 1991, 10]. She is thought of to potentially be a Greek goddess, although she lacks the traditional headdress most goddesses wore.