The Peplos Kore (c. 530 BCE)is a fine example of the Attica style, standing in a rigid pose, obedient and immobile as it were, yet bursting with strength and femininity through her soft arms, the kind features of her face, and the subtle suggestion of the curvature of her body under the heavy peplos. The ornate hair that drapes naturally on her shoulders, her measured “smile” and the pigmented iris bestow a sense of abundant vivacity and potential energy to the statue.
A great deal of Kore statues have been unearthed at the acropolis, most dating back to the beginning of the 6th c. BCE. In fact the Acropolis collection tends to monopolize the Kore discourse because of the large number and breadth of stylistic variety that have been unearthed at this site. By definition, Kore (maiden) refers to statues depicting female figures, always of a young age, which were created during the Archaic period (600 – 480 BCE) either as votive or commemorative statues.
Wealthy patrons commissioned them either to serve the deities in place of the patron, or as less often was the case, to become commemorative grave markers for members of a family. Many times their base (and sometimes on their dress) was inscribed with a short paragraph documenting the statue’s function, the patron, and the artist. According to the most accepted interpretations of the archaeological evidence, Kore statues never represented deities.
Korai statues are the female equivalent of Kouros. There are several distinct differences between the two, with the most significant one being the fact that Kouros statues were almost always portrayed in the nude, while Kore were always clothed. Consequently, when studying the statues, we tend to focus on the development of anatomy in Kouros, and on the development of the dress for the Kore along with the facial expression.
Most of the Kore statues are either life-size or a little smaller, and were developed with the same techniques and proportional conventions as the Kouros equivalents of the same era. With Kore statues, the human anatomy is acknowledged under the clothes but it is not emphasized. Instead, the lines of the drapery form smooth shapes that flow with ease creating a serene, almost hypnotic aura, which is duly complemented by the usual peaceful facial expression and the relative motionless body.