Giacobbe Giusti, 50 ancient bronzes at the Getty Museum

Giacobbe Giusti, 50 ancient bronzes at the Getty Museum

In this Monday, July 27, 2015 photo, a sculpture titled "Athlete, The Croatian Apoxyomenos, Greek, 1st century BC," is seen at the J. Paul Getty Museum in the "Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of Hellenistic World" exhibit in Los Angeles. The exhibit brings together more than 50 bronzes from the Hellenistic period that extended from about 323 to 31 B.C. Photo: Nick Ut, AP / AP
Photo: Nick Ut, AP
“Athlete, The Croatian Apoxyomenos, Greek, 1st century BC,” is seen at the J. Paul Getty Museum in the “Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of Hellenistic World” exhibit in Los Angeles. The exhibit brings together more than 50 bronzes from the Hellenistic period that extended from about 323 to 31 B.C.

Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World is on view through November 1 in the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles. Hours, Tuesday through Friday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Free; parking $15. For more information or to learn about events related to the exhibition, call (310) 440-7300 or go to getty.edu. ER

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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.

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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
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Giacobbe Giusti, Power and Pathos

Giacobbe Giusti, Power and Pathos

potere

         

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Head of Apollo, First century BCE–first century CE, bronze, 51 x 40 x 38 cm. Salerno, Museo Archeologico Provinciale.

By Alain.R.Truong

FLORENCE.- From 14 March to 21 June 2015, Palazzo Strozzi in Florence will be the first venue to host the major exhibition entitled Power and Pathos. Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World organised and produced in conjunction with the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the Soprintendenza Archeologica della Toscana, Tuscany’s directorate general for archaeology. After Florence, the exhibition will travel to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles from 28 July to 1 November 2015 and then to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, from 6 December 2015 to 20 March 2016.

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Statue Base signed by Lysippos, End of fourth–beginning of third century BCE, blue-grey limestone, 30 x 70.5 x 70,5 cm. Corinth, 37th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities.

This important joint venture reinforces Palazzo Strozzi’s international reputation for excellence. The exhibition will showcase – for the first time in Florence – some of the greatest masterpieces of the ancient world from such leading Italian and international museums as the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Florence, the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples, the British Museum in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence, the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion (Crete), the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the Vatican Museums and the Musei Capitolini in Rome.

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Portrait Statue of Aule Meteli (Arringatore), Late second century BCE, bronze, 179 cm. Florence, Museo Archeologico Nazionale.

Power and Pathos features about 50 extraordinary sculptures in bronze and tells the story of the artistic achievements of the Hellenistic era (4th to 1st centuries BC), when new bronze-working techniques were developed, new forms of expression were explored, and a first globalized language of art emerged in the Mediterranean and beyond. In this cosmopolitan climate, Greek art, in effect, became an international phenomenon.

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Statuette of Alexander the Great on Horseback, First century BCE, bronze, with silver inlays, 49 x 47 x 29 cm. Naples, Museo Archeologico Nazionale.

The vast Hellenistic empire founded by Alexander the Great stretched from Greece and the borders of Ethiopia to the Indus Valley, embracing Egypt, Persia, and Mesopotamia. Thus its astonishing output in the fields of art, history and philosophy enjoyed extensive dissemination. While the Classical Greek world was based essentially on the polis, or citystate, now art served more than the cities and their citizens and focused instead on the courts of Alexander’s successors. Artists devoted their skills to celebrating the rulers and their achievements, adopting and adapting Classical modes of expression to suit new needs.

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Horse Head (“Medici Riccardi” Horse), Second half of the fourth century BCE, bronze, 81 x 95 x 40 cm. Florence, Museo Archeologico Nazionale.

The exhibition owes its unique character to bronze, an alloy of copper, tin, and often lead, so significant in ancient technology and art that Pliny the Elder dedicated an entire book to this medium. Bronze works are extremely rare today, and the vast majority of large bronzes from the ancient world are lost because they have been melted down over the centuries so that the metal could be used to mint coins and to manufacture arms. Immediately after casting, bronze was so dazzling that it resembled gold.

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Head of a Man with Kausia, Third century BCE, bronze, faïence or alabaster, 32 x 27.9 cm. Pothia, Archaeological Museum of Kalymnos.

One of the reasons this show is an unprecedented, once-in-a-lifetime event is that it will allow visitors to admire works never before seen together: the bronze Apoxyomenos from Vienna alongside the Uffizi’s marble version used in its restoration; the two archaising Apollo-Kouroi from the Louvre and from Pompeii. Although all of these “pairs” have frequently been shown together in photographs, this is the very first time that any of them have been displayed side by side. A large number of the bronzes surviving to this day were found in the sea rather than on dry land. Spectacular underwater finds include the figure of a General (Lucius Aemilius Paullus?) found in the sea off Brindisi in 1992, and the Head of a Man with Kausia (discovered in the Aegean off the island of Kalymnos in 1997).

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Portrait of a Diadoch (Demetrios Poliorketes?), 310–290 BCE, bronze, 45 x 35 x 39 cm. Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado.

The discovery of the head of Apollo in the sea off Salerno in December 1930 was poetically described by Nobel Prize laureate Giuseppe Ungaretti: “Night had almost fallen and the anchovy fishermen were returning to port in single file. Gathering up their nets, one of the fishermen found […] a head of Apollo in his net. Holding it up in the palm of his lined hand and seeing it now imbued with new life in the light and appearing to bleed – where it had been severed at the neck – in the fire of the setting sun, the fisherman thought he was looking at St. John the Baptist. I myself have seen it at the Museum in Salerno; it may be by Praxiteles or possibly Hellenistic […] its indulgent and quivering smile hinting at an ineffable song of youth restored to life!”

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Portrait of Arsinoë III, Late third century–early second century BCE, bronze, 30 x 20 x 30 cm. Mantua, Museo Civico di Palazzo Te.

Unlike Classical artists, who sought to convey a sense of balance and serenity, Hellenistic sculptors aimed to capture the full range of human feelings, from anger and passion to joy and anguish. They typically emphasised pathos, or lived experience, in the figures they depicted, and we find this also in the portraits of the men who rose to power in Alexander’s wake. Such portraits were designed to bolster the sitters’ legitimacy and dynastic connections through a combination of individual features both dramatic and idealised. Statues of athletes such as the so-called Apoxyomenos—a figure shown after the competition, holding a small curved instrument called a strigil used to scrape off sweat and dirt from the body— focus on the nude male body in its various forms. Artists no longer represent wholly idealised forms, as in the Classical era, but depict momentary details that vividly express physical and emotional states.

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Statue of a Man, Second century BCE, bronze, 127 x 75 x 49 cm h. 30 cm (head). Brindisi, Museo Archeologico Provinciale “F. Ribezzo”.

Curated by Jens Daehner and Kenneth Lapatin of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the exhibition offers a comprehensive overview of the Hellenistic bronze sculpture in its larger archaeological, cultural and geographical environments.

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Portrait of a Man, First century BCE, bronze, 29.5 x 21.5 x 21.5 cm. Malibu, J. Paul Getty Museum.

Monumental statues of gods, athletes, and heroes will be displayed alongside portraits of historical figures—including select sculptures in marble and stone—in a journey allowing visitors to explore the fascinating stories of these masterpieces’ discovery, often at sea (Mediterranean, Black Sea) but also in the course of archaeological digs, thus setting the finds in their ancient contexts. Those contexts could be a sanctuary where they were used for votive purposes, a public space where they celebrated personalities or events, a home where they fulfilled a decorative function, or a cemetery where they commemorated the deceased. A unique feature of the Palazzo Strozzi exhibition is that it sets the works in context by also probing and exploring the production and casting processes and the finishing techniques adopted.

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Statuette of a Ruler as Hermes or Perseus, First century BCE–first century CE, bronze, with base 80 x 30 x 25.4 cm. Naples, Museo Archeologico Nazionale.

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Statue of a Young Man, Third–fourth century BCE, bronze, 152 x 52 x 68 cm. Athens, Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities.

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Statuette of Hermes, c. 150 BCE, bronze, 49 x 20 x 15 cm. London, The British Museum.

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Statuette of the Weary Herakles, Third century BCE or first century CE (?); copy of a fourth-century BCE bronze by Lysippos, bronze, silver, 35.9 x 17.5 x 14 cm h. 39 cm with base. Chieti, Museo Archeologico Nazionale d’Abruzzo.

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Statuette of an Artisan, Mid-first century BCE, bronze, silver, 40.03 x 13 x 10.8 cm. New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Statuette of Herakles Epitrapezios (Herakles seated), First century BCE–first century CE, bronze, limestone, 75 x 67 x 54 cm h. 95 cm with base. Naples, Museo Archeologico Nazionale.

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Statue of Eros Sleeping, Third–second century BCE, bronze, 41.9 x 85.2 x 35.6 cm. New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Portrait of a Man, End of second–beginning of first century BCE, bronze, glass paste, black stone, 32.5 x 22 x 22 cm. Athens, National Archaeological Museum.

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Portrait of a Bearded Man, c. 150 BCE, marble, 40.7 x 25 x 31.7 cm. Malibu, J. Paul Getty Museum.

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Head of a Votive Statue, 375–350 BCE, bronze, 24.3 x 15.5 x 15.5 cm.London, The British Museum.

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Portrait of a Man, Late fourth–third century BCE, bronze, copper, glass paste, 26.8 x 21.8 x 23.5 cm. Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France.

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Portrait Statue of a Young Ephebe, First half of the first century BCE, bronze, with base 140 x 57.2 x 45.1 cm. Heraklion, Archaeological Museum.

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Portrait Statue of an Aristocratic Boy, Augustan period (27 BCE–14 CE), bronze, 132.4 x 50.8 x 41.9 cm. New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Portrait of a Man, First century BCE, bronze, 43 x 26 x 25 cm. Naples, Museo Archeologico Nazionale.

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Bust of a Man (Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus Pontifex), Late first century BCE–early first century CE, 46 x 28 x 23 cm. Naples, Museo Archeologico Nazionale.

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Portrait of a Man, 50–25 BCE, bronze, copper, marble, 32 x 22 x 22 cm h. 22.5 cm (head). Copenaghen, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek.

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Statue of an Athlete (Apoxyomenos from Ephesos), 1–50 CE, bronze, 205.4 x 78.7 x 77.5 cm. Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum.

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Head of an Athlete (Ephesos Apoxyomenos type), Second century BCE–first century CE, bronze, 29.2 x 21 x 27.3 cm h. 51.4 cm with base. Fort Worth, Kimbell Art Museum.

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Statue of an Athlete (Ephesos Apoxyomenos type), Second century CE, marble, h. 193 cm. Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi.

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Torso of an Athlete (Ephesos Apoxyomenos type), First century CE, basanite, h. 110 cm. Castelgandolfo, Musei Vaticani, Villa Pontificia, Antiquarium.

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Herm of Dionysos (Getty Herm), Workshop of Boëthos of Kalchedon (attributed), Second century BCE, bronze, copper, calcitic stone, 103.5 x 23.5 x 19.5 cm. Malibu, J. Paul Getty Museum.

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Athena (Minerva of Arezzo), 300–270 BCE, bronze, copper, 155 x 50 x 50 cm. Florence, Museo Archeologico Nazionale.

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Medallion with the Bust of Athena, c. 150 BCE, bronze, white glass paste, 27.2 x 27.1 x 19 cm. Thessaloniki, Archaeological Museum.

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Head of Aphrodite (?), First century BCE, bronze, 37x 30.5 x 29 cm. London, The British Museum.

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Statue of Apollo (Piombino Apollo), 120–100 BCE, bronze, copper, silver, 117 x 42 x 42 cm. Paris, Musée du Louvre.

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Statue of Apollo (Kouros), First century BCE–first century CE, bronze, copper, bone, dark stone, glass, 128 x 33 x 38 cm. Pompeii, Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Pompei, Ercolano e Stabia.

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Torso of a Youth (The Vani Torso), Second century BCE, bronze, 105 x 45 x 25 cm. Tbilisi, Georgian National Museum.

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Herm Bust of the Doryphoros, Apollonios (active late first century BCE), Late first century BCE, bronze, 58 x 66 x 27 cm. Naples, Museo Archeologico Nazionale.

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Ephebe (Idolino from Pesaro), c. 30 BCE, bronze, copper, lead, h. 148 cm h. 300 cm with base. Florence, Museo Archeologico Nazionale.

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Bust of an Ephebe (Beneventum Head), c. 50 BCE, bronze, copper, 33 x 23 x 20 cm. Paris, Musée du Louvre.

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Spinario (Spinario Castellani), c. 25–50 CE, marble, cm 69 x 40,5 x 35. London, The British Museum.

https://francescarachelvalle.wordpress.com/2015/03/15/firenze-potere-e-pathos-bronzi/

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