Giacobbe Giusti, Pergamon and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of the Ancient World’

Giacobbe Giusti, ‘Pergamon and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of the Ancient World’

 

Crayton Sohan of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, left, and Wolfgang Massmann, head stone conservator from the Antikensammlung, Berlin, position the head of an immense 10-foot-tall marble statue of Athena.

Crayton Sohan of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, left, and Wolfgang Massmann, head stone conservator from the Antikensammlung, Berlin, position the head of an immense 10-foot-tall marble statue of Athena. Photo: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

Giacobbe Giusti, ‘Pergamon and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of the Ancient World’

A fragment of the colossal sculpture “Head of a Youth” is among the ancient art works on display at the Met’s exhibition of Hellenistic art.

A fragment of the colossal sculpture “Head of a Youth” is among the ancient art works on display at the Met’s exhibition of Hellenistic art.Credit Photograph courtesy the Met Museum

Giacobbe Giusti, ‘Pergamon and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of the Ancient World’

 

The Borghese Krater. Greek, Late Hellenistic period, 40-30 B.C. Marble

The Borghese Krater. Greek, Late Hellenistic period, 40-30 B.C. Marble RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY

Giacobbe Giusti, ‘Pergamon and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of the Ancient World’

Statue of a Roman General (The Tivoli General). Roman, Late period, ca. 80-60 B.C. Marble

Statue of a Roman General (The Tivoli General). Roman, Late period, ca. 80-60 B.C. Marble Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma

Mass Invasion of Greek Art Comes to the New York Met

The rare treasures of the Pergamon Museum in Berlin will be on display

By

Eben Shapiro

Rhyton in the form of a Centaur Greek, Seleucid, Hellenistic period, ca. 160 B.C. Silver with gilding
Rhyton in the form of a Centaur Greek, Seleucid, Hellenistic period, ca. 160 B.C. Silver with gilding Antikensammlung, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
The Akropolis of Pergamon, by Friedrich (von) Thiersch, 1882. Pen and ink with watercolor on canvas
The Akropolis of Pergamon, by Friedrich (von) Thiersch, 1882. Pen and ink with watercolor on canvas SMB/Antikensammlung
Mosaic Emblèma with Itinerant Musicians, Roman, Late Republican period, 2nd-1st century B.C.
Mosaic Emblèma with Itinerant Musicians, Roman, Late Republican period, 2nd-1st century B.C. Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples
The Vienna Cameo Greek (Ptolemaic), Early Hellenistic period, 278-270/69 B.C. Ten–layered onyx
The Vienna Cameo Greek (Ptolemaic), Early Hellenistic period, 278-270/69 B.C. Ten–layered onyx Antikensammlung, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
Statuette of a Veiled and Masked Dancer (The Baker Dancer). Greek, Hellenistic period, 3rd-2nd century B.C. Bronze.
Statuette of a Veiled and Masked Dancer (The Baker Dancer). Greek, Hellenistic period, 3rd-2nd century B.C. Bronze. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Pair of Armbands with Triton and Tritoness. Greek, Hellenistic period, ca. 200 B.C. Gold and silver.
Pair of Armbands with Triton and Tritoness. Greek, Hellenistic period, ca. 200 B.C. Gold and silver. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Small statue of Alexander the Great astride Bucephalos Roman, Late Republican or Early Imperial period, second half of the 1st century B.C.; copy of a Greek original of ca. 320-300 B.C. Bronze
Small statue of Alexander the Great astride Bucephalos Roman, Late Republican or Early Imperial period, second half of the 1st century B.C.; copy of a Greek original of ca. 320-300 B.C. Bronze Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples

 
Statuette of the Weary Herakles Greek, Hellenistic period, 3rd century B.C., base early 1st century A.D. Bronze and silver
Statuette of the Weary Herakles Greek, Hellenistic period, 3rd century B.C., base early 1st century A.D. Bronze and silver Museo Archeologico Nazionale d’Abruzzo
Stater of Mithridates VI Eupator Dionysos Greek, Late Hellenistic period, 86-85 B.C. Gold
Stater of Mithridates VI Eupator Dionysos Greek, Late Hellenistic period, 86-85 B.C. Gold Epigraphic and Numismatic Museum, Athens, Greece
Portrait of a Man. Greek, Late Hellenistic period, early 1st century B.C. Bronze
Portrait of a Man. Greek, Late Hellenistic period, early 1st century B.C. Bronze Hellenic Ministry of Culture, Education and Religious Affairs/Archaeological Receipts Fund
Sleeping Hermaphrodite Roman, first half of the 2nd century A.D. Copy of a Greek original of the 2nd century B.C. Marble
 
Sleeping Hermaphrodite Roman, first half of the 2nd century A.D. Copy of a Greek original of the 2nd century B.C. Marble Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma
 

The Pergamon Museum in Berlin houses one of the world’s leading collection of antiquities. But World War II badly damaged the building—bullet holes from large-caliber machine guns still pockmark it—and it’s finally in the early stages of a much-needed renovation. “The building was absolutely rotten,” said Dr. Andreas Scholl, the director of the Staatliche, the museum and research group that oversees the Pergamon. “The fire brigade kept threatening to close the entire place.” Most of the museum will stay closed, with the collection off limits to the public, until 2019.

For New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the rotting of the Pergamon gave it a rare opportunity to get its hands on the some of the most prized objects of the Hellenistic period. Next week, the Met will open one of the most ambitious exhibitions of Greek art in the museum’s history, “Pergamon and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of the Ancient World.” At the heart of the show are 73 pieces on loan from the Pergamon. “We lent very, very liberally,” said Dr. Scholl.

 

“This won’t happen again,” said Carlos A. Picón, the curator in charge of the Greek and Roman Art department at the Met. “Once the museum reopens, they won’t send one-third of its collection here.”

Dr. Scholl said the only piece he was unwilling to send was a famous marble head of the ruler Attalus. The piece is renowned for its tousled hair, and a curator was worried that the many curls were too fragile to withstand the rigors of travel. (Classical sculptors loved playing with the contrast between a figure’s smooth marble skin and the gnarly, robust beards of figures like Zeus.)

Thanks to the core provided by the Pergamon collection, “this is the largest and most comprehensive show” the museum’s Greek and Roman department has undertaken, said Mr. Picón. It’s also the department’s first major show since the Met completed its own renovation in 2007, a 15-year, $223 million project that Mr. Picón presided over.

Experts say “Pergamon” is the first major-museum show to focus on the art of the Hellenistic period, which dates from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C. to the suicide of Cleopatra in 30 B.C. The exhibition, which opens Monday and closes July 17, will not travel outside of New York.

Pergamon, in modern day Turkey, was one of the wealthiest cities of the ancient world, coming into its own as Athens was in decline and before the rise of Rome. “It is one of the top-five hit-parade ancient cities,” said Mr. Picón.

For the past six years, Mr. Picón and his staff have made dozens of trips to nearly 50 museums in 12 countries, pulling together loans for the blockbuster show.

One of the most dramatic pieces they were able to borrow is an Athena statue that weighs over three tons. It was shipped in three sections from the Pergamon in Berlin and carefully reassembled in the Met galleries.

The Hellenistic period is a challenging time for art historians. It is not marked by a single school of artistic development, and artists worked in many styles with many materials. So instead of having a thematic show, the Met focused on what the museum trade calls “an objects show.”

The galleries are filled with exquisite ancient glass, opulent jewelry, engraved cameos, mosaics, lifelike bronze sculptures and dramatic marble statues. Many have never traveled to the U.S. before. “I can’t claim that every single object is the best of its type, because I would be boasting,” said Mr. Picón, but “this is the top 1% of what has survived in terms of quality.”

Crayton Sohan of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, left, and Wolfgang Massmann, head stone conservator from the Antikensammlung, Berlin, position the head of an immense 10-foot-tall marble statue of Athena.
Crayton Sohan of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, left, and Wolfgang Massmann, head stone conservator from the Antikensammlung, Berlin, position the head of an immense 10-foot-tall marble statue of Athena. Photo: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

Mr. Picón—who speaks five languages and has a reading knowledge of ancient Greek and Latin—did his undergraduate work at Haverford and Bryn Mawr colleges and got his Ph.D. from Oxford University. He grew up in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and when he announced his plan to become an art historian, specializing in Greek art, his businessman father, speaking on behalf of parents around the world, was taken aback by the impracticality of the profession. Mr. Picón recalls that his father then added, “You could at least have done pre-Columbian art.”

Touring the Met galleries last week as the Met installers put the finishing touches on the show, Mr. Picón was in a state of high excitement. Pausing before a marble Alexander in the first room of the exhibition, he declared it “the most beautiful Alexander, at the height of his youth.” A nearby small bronze of Hercules was “the best.”

In a nearby gallery he paused before “a spectacular” piece of ancient glass. “You would walk a mile to see something like this,” Mr. Picón said. Even the damaged pieces were perfect. Admiring a marble head that was split in half, he said, “If you had to break it, you couldn’t break it better!” Stopping before a glass plate borrowed from the British Museum, the curator exclaimed, “It’s a glass of staggering quality—one of the best pieces in the world.”

He delights in the tiny details, pointing out an Eros admiring himself in the mirror on a tiny plaster cast.

Mr. Picón is mischievous as well. One prone statue is displayed so that its shapely backside greets the approaching viewer. “You get a nice surprise when you walk around,” he said. The piece turns out to be a hermaphrodite. One of the workers installing the statue, he said, “went white” after discovering the statue’s dual nature.

Write to Eben Shapiro at eben.shapiro@wsj.com

http://www.wsj.com/articles/mass-invasion-of-greek-art-comes-to-the-new-york-met-1460568224

http://www.giacobbegiusti.com

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Giacobbe Giusti: Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World

Giacobbe Giusti:  Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World

POWER15

 

Rare Bronze Sculptures from Hellenistic Period on View at National Gallery of Art, Washington, December 13, 2015–March 20, 2016

Unknown Artist (Hellenistic Bronze) Athlete "Ephesian Apoxyomenos", AD 1- 90 bronze and copper Kunsthistorisches Museum, Antikensammlung, Vienna

Unknown Artist (Hellenistic Bronze)
Athlete “Ephesian Apoxyomenos”, AD 1- 90
bronze and copper
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Antikensammlung, Vienna

Washington, DC—An unprecedented exhibition of some 50 rare bronze sculptures and related works from the Hellenistic period will be on view at the National Gallery of Art from December 13, 2015, through March 20, 2016. Previously at the Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, and the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World showcases bronze sculptures that are remarkably lifelike, often enhanced by copper eyelashes and lips and colored glass or stone eyes. Of the many thousands of bronze statues created in the Hellenistic period, only a small fraction is preserved. This exhibition is the first to gather together so many of the finest surviving bronzes from museums in Europe, North Africa, and the United States.

“We are delighted to present visitors with this rare opportunity to see these dazzling works up close,” said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art, Washington. “We are grateful to the lenders—museums in Austria, Denmark, France, Georgia, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Spain, Tunisia, the United States, and the Vatican—as well as Bank of America for their generous support.”

During the Hellenistic period—generally from the late fourth century BC to the first century AD—the art and culture of Greece spread throughout the Mediterranean and lands once conquered by Alexander the Great. Through the medium of bronze, artists were able to capture the dynamic realism, expression, and detail that characterize the new artistic goals of the era.

“The works from the Power and Pathos exhibition represent a turning point in artistic innovation during one of the most culturally vibrant periods in world history,” said Rena De Sisto, global arts and culture executive, Bank of America. “We’re thrilled to be the National Tour Sponsor and to help bring this important collection to D.C. in hopes to inspire curiosity and wonder.”

Exhibition Organization and Support

The exhibition was organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; and the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, in collaboration with the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana.

Bank of America is the national sponsor of this touring exhibition.

The exhibition is also made possible through a generous gift from an anonymous donor. The Marshall B. Coyne Foundation has provided additional support through the Fund for the International Exchange of Art. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Exhibition Highlights

Power and Pathos brings together the most significant examples of Hellenistic bronze sculpture to highlight their varying styles, techniques, contexts, functions, and histories. The conquests of Alexander the Great (ruled 336–323 BC) created one of the largest empires in history and ushered in the Hellenistic period, which ended with the rise of the Roman Empire. For some 300 years after Alexander’s death, the medium of bronze drove artistic experimentation and innovation. Bronze—surpassing marble with its tensile strength, reflective surface, and ability to hold the finest detail—was used for dynamic poses, dazzling displays of the nude body, and vivid expressions of age and character.

“Realistic portraiture as we know it today, with an emphasis on individuality and expression, originated in the Hellenistic period,” said exhibition curator Kenneth Lapatin.  Jens M. Daehner, co-curator, added, “Along with images of gods, heroes, and athletes, sculptors introduced new subjects and portrayed people at all stages of life, from infancy to old age.” Both Daehner and Lapatin are associate curators in the department of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

A widespread ancient phenomenon, Hellenistic art is found not only throughout the Mediterranean, but also in regions far away, such as Thrace in the Balkans, ancient Colchis (in the Republic of Georgia), and the southern Arabian Peninsula. Through several thematic sections, the exhibition emphasizes the unique role of bronze both as a medium of prestige and artistic innovation and as a material exceptionally suited for reproduction. The exhibition is divided into sections as follows:

Introduction: The Rarity of Bronzes: Large-scale bronze statues have rarely survived from antiquity, as most were melted down so that their valuable metal could be reused. Rows of empty stone pedestals can still be seen at ancient sites. Lysippos of Sikyon (c. 390–305 BC), the favorite sculptor of Alexander the Great, created 1,500 works in bronze, according to Pliny the Elder. None survive; their existence is known partly from later copies and statue bases inscribed with the artist’s name, such as the one on view at the beginning of the exhibition. Many bronzes known today have been preserved only because they were accidentally buried or lost at sea, then recovered centuries later by archaeologists, divers, and fishermen.

Alexander and His Successors: Lysippos is credited with creating the image of Alexander the Great that artists have perpetuated through the centuries: a man of vigor, fit and lithe, clean-shaven, with long, windswept hair. The statuette Alexander the Great on Horseback, in bronze with silver and copper inlays, may be a small-scale version of a lost monumental sculpture that Lysippos created to commemorate Alexander’s victory over the Persians in 334 BC. Portraits of Alexander provided the models that his successors would emulate, resulting in the distinctive genre of ruler portraiture that emerged in the Hellenistic period.

Rulers and Citizens/Likeness and Expression: Realistic features and depictions of emotional states are hallmarks of Hellenistic sculpture. Individualized portraits superseded the largely idealized types of earlier periods. Hellenistic portraits emphasize pathos—lived experience—appealing to viewers’ emotions by conveying an individual’s state of mind or experience of life through facial expression or gestures. Citizens and benefactors honored with statues were shown clothed, while rulers were portrayed nude or in armor, sometimes on horseback. Nudity, traditionally reserved for images of athletes, heroes, and gods, became an artistic attribute of Hellenistic rulers or military leaders.

Bodies Real and Ideal: Hellenistic sculptors continued to create idealized figures, but with a new interest in realistic detail and movement, as seen in the Boy Runner, a statue of a boy athlete shown only at the National Gallery of Art.  Many artists took inspiration from Lysippos, often considered the most important artist of the Hellenistic period. He specialized in athletic figures in their prime, emphasizing their muscles and rendering their hair disheveled from sweat and exercise. Lysippos also introduced new, elongated proportions and smaller heads, making his figures appear taller and more graceful than those of the Classical period.

Apoxyomenos and the Art of Replication: The process of casting bronze statues in reusable molds encouraged the production of multiple copies of the same statue. The image of an athlete known as an Apoxyomenos (“scraper”) appears in two bronze versions: a full-length statue excavated at Ephesos in present-day Turkey (on loan from the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria) and a bronze head known since the 16th century (now in Fort Worth, Texas), which once formed part of a comparable statue. Athletes competed nude, their bodies coated in oil; after exercising, they scraped themselves clean with a strigil, a curved implement that removed the oil and accumulated dust and grime.

Images of the Divine: The expressive capabilities of bronze and the dynamic styles of Hellenistic sculpture were adapted to representations of divine beings. Their images became less ideal and more realistic or “human.” The statuette Weary Herakles, for example, shows the hero fatigued rather than triumphant after completing the labors that earned him immortality. The love-god Eros, formerly shown as an elegant adolescent, is transformed into a pudgy baby, inspiring Roman images of the god Cupid and putti of the Italian Renaissance. In the Hellenistic era, deities became more accessible, now thought of as living beings with changing physical and emotional states.

Styles of the Past/Roman Collectors and Greek Art: A high regard for history characterizes the Hellenistic period. Artists created statues and statuettes in styles from both the recent and distant past. Statues of Apollo on view echo the stiff frontal figures of youths known as kouroi that were dedicated in Greek sanctuaries and cemeteries throughout the sixth century BC. In contrast, a bust of the Doryphoros (Spear Bearer) copies a work by Polykleitos, one of the most famous classical sculptors of the fifth century BC.  Most of the sculptures in this section adorned the villas and gardens of prominent Romans who eagerly collected Greek works of art, including the famouse statuette known as the Dancing Faun (Pan), found in the atrium of the House of the Faun in Pompeii, another work shown only in Washington.

From the Hellenistic to the Augustan Era: The Augustan era saw a renewed interest in the idealized styles of Classical Greece. Augustus, the first Roman emperor (ruled 27 BC–AD 14), favored the Classical style for much of his official art to associate his reign with the golden age of fifth-century Athens under Pericles. The sculpture of a boy wearing a himation, a large rectangle of cloth wrapped around the waist, and the nude statue of a youth known as the Idolino (“little idol”), exemplify this trend.

Film and Audio Tour

A film produced by the Gallery in conjunction with the exhibition and made possible by the HRH Foundation provides an overview of art of the Hellenistic period. Narrated by actor Liev Schreiber, the film includes new footage of the ancient sites of Delphi, Corinth, and Olympia, which once were crowded with bronze statues.

For the first time, the Gallery is offering a free audio tour that visitors can download to their mobile devices. Narrated by Earl A. Powell III, the tour includes commentary from exhibition curators Jens M. Daehner and Kenneth Lapatin, and bronze specialist Carol C. Mattusch of George Mason University.

Curators and Catalog

The exhibition curators are Jens M. Daehner and Kenneth Lapatin, both associate curators in the department of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Susan M. Arensberg, head of the department of exhibition programs, is the coordinating curator for the National Gallery of Art.

Published by the J. Paul Getty Museum, the fully illustrated scholarly catalog is the first comprehensive volume on Hellenistic bronze statuary. It includes groundbreaking archaeological, art-historical, and scientific essays offering new approaches to understanding ancient production of these remarkable works of art. The 368-page hardcover catalog is currently available. To order, please visit http://shop.nga.gov/; call (800) 697-9350 or (202) 842-6002; fax (202) 789-3047; or e-mail mailorder@nga.gov.

General Information

The National Gallery of Art and its Sculpture Garden are at all times free to the public. They are located on the National Mall between 3rd and 9th Streets at Constitution Avenue NW, and are open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The Gallery is closed on December 25 and January 1. With the exception of the atrium and library, the galleries in the East Building will remain closed until late fall 2016 for Master Facilities Plan and renovations. For information call (202) 737-4215 or visit the Gallery’s Web site at www.nga.gov. Follow the Gallery on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NationalGalleryofArt, Twitter at www.twitter.com/ngadc, and Instagram at http://instagram.com/ngadc.

Visitors will be asked to present all carried items for inspection upon entering. Checkrooms are free of charge and located at each entrance. Luggage and other oversized bags must be presented at the 4th Street entrances to the East or West Building to permit x-ray screening and must be deposited in the checkrooms at those entrances. For the safety of visitors and the works of art, nothing may be carried into the Gallery on a visitor’s back. Any bag or other items that cannot be carried reasonably and safely in some other manner must be left in the checkrooms. Items larger than 17 by 26 inches cannot be accepted by the Gallery or its checkrooms.

For additional press information please call or send inquiries to:
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phone: (202) 842-6353
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Giacobbe Giusti, Defining beauty the body in ancient Greek art

Giacobbe Giusti, Defining beauty the body in ancient Greek art

 

 

Marble statue of a naked Aphrodite crouching at her bath, also known as Lely’s Venus. Roman copy of a Greek original, 2nd century AD. Lent by Her Majesty the Queen.

.
Marble statue of a naked Aphrodite crouching at her bath, also known as Lely’s Venus. Roman copy of a Greek original, 2nd century AD. Royal Collection Trust/Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015.

 

26 March – 5 July 2015

Defining beauty: the Body in Ancient Greek Art at the British Museum gives visitors quite an eyeful

by Hugh Montgomery Author Biography

From fitness magazines to dating apps, you don’t have to look far for evidence of our modern society’s obsession with the body beautiful. But for all the think-piece chatter, this veneration of the toned and chiselled is hardlya 21st-century phenomenon: get a load of those Ancient Greeks, as you can at the British Museum’s spring blockbuster exhibition Defining Beauty.

Bringing together around 150 pieces from the Museum’s own collections and beyond, it will show how, from the fifth century BC on, Greek sculptors revolutionised the representation of the human form. Channelling the humanism that was at the core of the new Athenian democracy – the idea, as Protagoras said, that “man was the measure of all things” – they sought to celebrate the human form by depicting it in a radically naturalistic but idealised state.

And in doing so, lost the clothes, of course: the Greeks’ attitude towards naked male flesh, at least, was “exceptional and unique” within the ancient world, as curator Ian Jenkins points out. Rather than maintain the traditional associations of nakedness with shame and vulnerability, they re-conceived it as heroic. “When a young man took off his clothes in the gymnasium, he wore the uniform of the righteous,” says Jenkins.

Indeed, if today’s body-beautiful culture seems predicated on envy and aspiration, the exhibition’s marble, bronze and terracotta specimens will leave visitors in rather more sublime a state, hopes Jenkins. “The Greeks placed man at the centre [of their world] and elevated him to be uniquely self-determining … and the body is the illustration of that conviction … I want [people] to come out feeling more intelligent and beautiful than when they went in,” he says.

And if that’s not incentive enough, then here, as an appetite-whetter, are six of Jenkins’s pulchritudinous highlights:

1) Figure of a River God, (circa 438-432BC) – one of the Parthenon Sculptures or ‘Elgin Marbles’

Figure of a river god, one of the ‘Elgin Marbles’ Figure of a river god, one of the ‘Elgin Marbles’ (British Museum)
I have put this first among the six, because it is a Greek original; many of the others are Roman copies. It comes from the west pediment of the Parthenon, and is thought to represent the river Ilissos. To  get a figure to fit the space of a pediment’s raking cornice, you have to make it miniature or have it recline, and once you’ve got the figure to lie, it becomes a good subject for representing water, as it “flows” into the corner. The piece has about it that shifting indefinable quality of breathing vitality; cold marble is made lissom and languid by a process of almost magical alchemy and turned into warm flesh and flowing drapery, which is then converted again into water.

2) Bronze statuette of Zeus (1st-2nd century AD)

A bronze statuette of Zeus A bronze statuette of Zeus (British Museum)
This representation of the great Lord Olympus, some 20cm high, is an extraordinary piece: macho, commanding, erotically inspiring, all the things that the male body can be. It came into the British Museum collection in the mid 19th century having been in the collection of Dominique Vivant Denon, the first director of the Louvre. It is the quality of the piece that is so remarkable: as a French commentator said at the end of the 19th century, one could imagine in this statue that it were a colossus: it has such a major impact on the eye and when you look at it close up, it looks as though the detail could only be achieved on something of a much greater scale.

3) Aphrodite crouching at her bath, aka Lely’s Venus (2nd century AD)

‘Lely’s Venus’ a Roman copy of the lost Greek original

‘Lely’s Venus’ a Roman copy of the lost Greek original (Royal Collection Trust/Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015)
She’s a truly exceptional piece of carving and composition who represents the danger of getting too close to goddesses: the idea is that you approach her from behind and you see her broad flat back, her head looking forcefully down over her right shoulder, and her right arm reaching over her left shoulder and seeming to play with our attention and beckon us to move closer. So we do first a quarter turn, and then a three-quarter turn, but finally our expectations are denied because we do not get an intimate view of her sexual parts and instead what we get is an intimidating stare. A piece that seems at first welcoming is in fact, very threatening.

4) Marble statue of a boy athlete, aka the Westmacott Athlete (1st century AD)

The ‘Westmacott Athlete’ The ‘Westmacott Athlete’ (British Museum)
This representation of a young athlete fulfils an idea of the beautiful male athletic body that is much spoken of in texts of the time. He is the epitome of youth: standing firm but looking away from us demurely. This is a copy of a lost Greek original from around the time of Socrates, and I like to think of him as from Plato’s Charmides, a dialogue in which a beautiful boy is admired and interrogated by Socrates, who determines that he is not only beautiful but morally sound: he is drawn even more to him because he demonstrates “charis” or grace. You can also see here how the sexuality of the athletic nude is reduced by the downsizing of the genitals – and there’s no thrusting as you find with the goal-scoring footballers of today.

5) Statuette of a veiled and masked dancer, aka the Baker Dancer (3rd-2nd century BC)

‘The Baker Dancer’ ‘The Baker Dancer’ (British Museum)
This is an object which I first fell in love with when I went to The Met in New York aged 24. It’s a virtuoso, almost dazzling display of modelling, first of all in clay and then cast in bronze, of a female dancer using her drapery to suggest the body beneath, which she’s clearly very proud of. It’s a great example of the use of drapery as sexual innuendo by sculptors in a society where the depiction of the  female body was more problematic than the male.

6) The Belvedere Torso (1st century BC to 1st century AD)

The ‘Belvedere Torso’ The ‘Belvedere Torso’ (British Museum)
It is a privilege to have this on loan from the Vatican; it’s the first time it has travelled to the UK. This piece was much praised by Michelangelo, and inspired The Creation of Adam; when asked by the Pope to restore it, he refused on the grounds it was an inimitable work of art which, though broken, possessed the ideal principles of Greek sculpture. I think it’s probably a representation of Hercules, after his labours, awaiting divinity, though there are a few different theories – there is a suggestion that he’s Ajax – and what’s so remarkable about it is the articulation of the different planes of the body; it’s like a cubist painting by Picasso.

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/features/defining-beauty-the-body-in-ancient-greek-art-at-the-british-museum-gives-visitors-quite-an-eyeful-10123257.html
http://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/past_exhibitions/2015/defining_beauty.aspx?fromShortUrl
http://www.giacobbegiusti.com

Giacobbe Giusti, Ancient bronze sculptures comes to Getty Museum

Giacobbe Giusti, Ancient bronze sculptures comes to  Getty Museum

The Pompeii Apollo”

 

 

Bronze statues

Kenneth Lapatin, associate curator at the J. Paul Getty Museum, gestures toward a sculpture which is part of the “Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of Hellenistic World” exhibit in Los Angeles, Monday, July 27, 2015. (AP / Nick Ut)

John Rogers, The Associated Press
Published Tuesday, July 28, 2015 9:35AM EDT

LOS ANGELES — It’s almost as if the dozens of exquisitely detailed, often perfectly intact bronze sculptures on display at the J. Paul Getty Museum disappeared into an ancient witness-protection program — and decided to stay there for thousands of years.

“Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World,” which opened at the museum Tuesday, brings together more than 50 bronzes from the Hellenistic period that extended from about 323 to 31 B.C.

Many of them, like the life-size figure of an exhausted boxer, his hands still bandaged from a match, brow cut and bruised, are stunning in their detail. So is the “The Medici Riccardi Horse,” a horse’s head complete with flaring nostrils and a detailed mane. “Sleeping Eros” shows an infant sprawled out sound asleep on a pedestal. One arm is draped across the child’s chest, his tousled hair in gentle repose.

Perhaps even more stunning, however, is the fact that any of these things survived.

Thousands of such beautifully detailed bronzes were created during the Hellenistic Age. Larger works were assembled piece-by-piece and welded together by artisans working in almost assembly line fashion and displayed in both public places and the homes of the well to do.

But most, say the exhibition’s co-curators, Kenneth Lapatin and Jens Daehner, were eventually melted down and turned into something else like coins.

“We know Lysippos made 1,500 bronzes in his lifetime, but not one survives,” Lapatin said of the artist said to be Alexander the Great’s favourite sculptor. “They’ve all been melted down.”

To this day, roads, fields and other public places across Greece and much of the rest of the Mediterranean are dotted with empty stone bases where bronze statues once stood, added Daehner during a walk-through of the stunning, hilltop museum ahead of the exhibition’s opening.

Which is why you rarely see more than one or two when you visit most any museum, said J. Paul Getty Director Timothy Potts.

The nearly 60 that will be on display at the J. Paul Getty until Nov. 1 are believed to represent the largest such collection ever assembled. They have been contributed by 32 lenders from 14 countries on four continents.

“Many of these are national treasures,” Potts said. “They are the greatest works of ancient art that these nations possess. So it’s been an extraordinary act of generosity for them to be lent to us.”

Many are completely intact, so much so that several still have their eyes, made of tin and glass. The result, they can stare right back in eerie fashion at museum visitors who go to check them out.

That they survived was in most cases the result of simple good fortune on their part, if not their owners’.

“It’s only through shipwrecks, through being buried in the foundations of buildings, being buried by a volcano at Pompeii or landslides that most of these pieces have survived,” said Lapatin.

“Herm of Dionysus,” for example, was believed to have been commissioned by a wealthy Roman homeowner. The detailed work of a bearded man with hat and animated eyes was found in a shipwreck off the coast of Tunisia in 1907.

The sculpture of an athlete raising an arm in victory was uncovered in the Adriatic Sea by Italian fishermen in the 1960s.

“The Pompeii Apollo” was discovered in 1977 in the dining room of a house in Pompeii that had been buried by the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D.

It is believed to have been used, in a very ungodlike fashion, to hold the room’s lights. That’s something that inspired Lapatin to refer to it as the equivalent of a modern-day lawn jockey.

The exhibition featuring it and the other pieces was organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi in Florence and the National Gallery of Art in Washington. It opened at the Palazzo Strozzi earlier this year. After it leaves the Getty, will go on display Dec. 6 at the National Gallery of Art.

It will also be the subject of study when the 19th International Congress on Ancient Bronzes convenes in Los Angeles in October.

http://www.ctvnews.ca/entertainment/ancient-bronze-sculptures-comes-to-l-a-s-getty-museum-1.2490939

http://www.giacobbegiusti.com

Giacobbe Giusti, The Louvre portrait of Alexander the Great

Giacobbe Giusti, The Louvre portrait of Alexander the Great

Roman marble sculpture

About 1st – 2nd Cent. AA.

From Tivoli, Rome

Original bronze sculpture attributed to Lysippos

About 330 BC.

Paris, Musée du Louvre

 

About 1st – 2nd Cent. AA.

From Tivoli, Rome

Original bronze sculpture attributed to Lysippos

About 330 BC.

Paris, Musée du Louvre

 

https://www.google.it/search?q=The+Louvre+portrait+of+Alexander+the+Great&biw=853&bih=439&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAWoVChMI2L6Pmf7sxgIVxp9yCh0Y4goC#imgrc=e1mHSBHwzXkhmM%3A
http://www.giacobbegiusti.com

Giacobbe Giusti, Horses of Saint Mark

Giacobbe Giusti, Horses of Saint Mark

“Horses of Saint Mark.” Bronze. Attributed to the Greek sculptor Lysippos, 4th century BCE."> Venice, Basilica of St. Mark
Bronze. Attributed to the Greek sculptor Lysippos, 4th century BCE.”>

Venice, Basilica of St. Mark
http://ancientrome.ru/art/artworken/img.htm?id=5739
http://www.giacobbegiusti.com

Giacobbe Giusti, Power and Pathos

Giacobbe Giusti, Power and Pathos

POWER16

First Ever Major Exhibition of Hellenistic Bronze Sculptures Will Travel Internationally

 

MEDIA CONTACT:    
Amy Hood
Getty Communications
(310) 440-6427
ahood@getty.edu
Beginning in March 2015, the Palazzo Strozzi, Florence; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., will present Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World, the first major international exhibition to bring together approximately 50 ancient bronzes from the Mediterranean region and beyond ranging from the 4th century B.C. to the 1st century A.D.
“The representation of the human figure is central to the art of almost all ancient cultures, but nowhere did it have greater importance, or more influence on later art history, than in Greece,” says Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “It was in the Hellenistic period that sculptors pushed to the limit the dramatic effects of billowing drapery, tousled hair, and the astonishingly detailed renderings of veins, wrinkles, tendons, and musculature, making the sculpture of their time the most life-like and emotionally charged ever made, and still one of the highpoints of European art history. At its best, Hellenistic sculpture leaves nothing to be desired or improved upon. The 50 or so works in the exhibition represent the finest of these spectacular and extremely rare works that survive, and makes this one of the most important exhibitions of ancient classical sculpture ever mounted. This is a must-see event for anyone with an interest in classical art or sculpture.”

Potts continues: “The Getty Museum is proud to be collaborating on this project with our colleagues in Florence at the Palazzo Strozzi, the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, and the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana, along with the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C..”

During the Hellenistic era artists around the Mediterranean created innovative, realistic sculptures of physical power and emotional intensity. Bronze—with its reflective surface, tensile strength, and ability to hold the finest details—was employed for dynamic compositions, graphic expressions of age and character, and dazzling displays of the human form.

From sculptures known since the Renaissance, such as the Arringatore (Orator) from Sanguineto (in the collection of the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Florence), to spectacular recent discoveries that have never before been exhibited in the United States, the exhibition is the most comprehensive museum survey of Hellenistic bronzes ever organized. In each showing of the exhibition, recent finds—many salvaged from the sea—will be exhibited for the first time alongside famous works from the world’s leading museums. The works of art on view will range in scale from statuettes, busts and heads to life-size figures and herms.

Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World is especially remarkable for bringing together works of art that, because of their rarity, are usually exhibited in isolation. When viewed in proximity to one another, the variety of styles and techniques employed by ancient sculptors is emphasized to greater effect, as are the varying functions and histories of the bronze sculptures.

Bronze was a material well-suited to reproduction, and the exhibition provides an unprecedented opportunity to see objects of the same type, and even from the same workshop together for the first time.

The travel schedule for Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World is:

Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, Italy
March 14 – June 21, 2015
http://www.palazzostrozzi.org

J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA
July 28 – November 1, 2015
http://www.getty.edu

National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
December 6, 2015 – March 20, 2016
http://www.nga.gov

This exhibition is curated by Jens Daehner and Kenneth Lapatin of the J. Paul Getty Museum and co-organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, Florence; and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; with the participation of Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana. It is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Bank of America is the National Sponsor of this touring exhibition. The Los Angeles presentation is also supported by the Getty Museum’s Villa Council, Vera R. Campbell Foundation, and the A. G. Leventis Foundation.