Giacobbe Giusti, ‘Power and Pathos’
Herm of Dionysos (Getty Herm)
Workshop of Boëthos (Boethus) of Kalchedon (attributed)
Second century BCE
bronze, copper, calcitic stone
103.5 x 23.5 x 19.5 cm
Malibu, J. Paul Getty Museum
Power and Pathos: Hellenistic Bronzes at the Palazzo Strozzi
BY Angela M.H. Schuster, Art+Auction
The florescence of the arts in the wake of Alexander the Great’s conquest of a vast swath of territory from Greece to the Indus Valley is the subject of “Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World,” which opens at the Palazzo Strozzi on March 14.
On view are some 45 bronzes dating from the 4th to 1st centuries B.C. and later Roman works inspired by them, which attest a cosmopolitan blend of Eastern and Western artistic traditions.
Among the highlights are several pairings of works, including an early 1st-century bronze Apoxyomenos from Ephesos, in the collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, and its later twin, sculpted in marble, from the Uffizi Gallery in Florence; two herms of Dionysos, one from Tunis and signed by the 2nd-century B.C. sculptor Boethus of Chalcedon, the other from the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu; and two archaic-style Apollo-Kouroi in the collections of the Louvre and the Soprintendenza per I Beni Archeologici di Pompei, respectively.
“Although all of these pairs have been shown together frequently in art history books, this is the very first time that any of them have been displayed side by side,” says James M. Bradburne, director of the Strozzi Palace Foundation. Bronze works from antiquity are quite rare, he adds, because so many were melted down over the centuries in order to mint coins and manufacture arms.
Most of those that have survived have come from shipwrecks, including one discovered off the coast of Mahdia, Tunisia, in 1907, and another found in the Adriatic near Brindisi in 1992. Following the Florence exhibition’s June 21 close, it will travel to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles (July 28–November 1) and then to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. (December 6–March 13, 2016).
A verison of this article appears in the March 2015 issue of Art+Auction.
Boëthus (Greek: Βόηθος) was a Greek sculptor of the Hellenistic age. His life dates cannot be accurately fixed, but he probably flourished in the 2nd century BCE. One source gives his birthplace as Chalcedon.
He was noted for his representations of children, especially for a group representing a boy struggling with a goose, of which several copies survive in museums. Other works represent a girl playing with dice, and a boy extracting a thorn. According to Pliny, he also worked with silver. Because Boethus was a common name in ancient Greece, specific details of his life are difficult to ascertain.
Workshop of Boëthos (Boethus)
(Boethos von Kalchedon)