The relief shows Pallas Athena in a long, thick robe (peplos) and a Corinthian helmet. She leans on her spear, and gazes at the pillar in front of her. Her face was earlier seen as sad, hence the name of the relief. The interpretation of the scene is debated, since the column may have a number of different meanings. It can be a boundary stone — in this case it refers to the city of Athens or the sanctuary of the goddess. If it is a finish post, the relief may have been offered by a victorious athlete. The marble relief in Athens is one of the masterpieces of Greek sculpture in the so-called Severe style of the early Classical period.