Greece Sculpture 12

Greece Sculpture Part 12

It is more difficult to establish the place that competes in Hellenistic sculpture in Alexandria. Certainly Alexandrian was the original of the statue of the Nile in the Vatican, where the mighty reclining figure of the river, with a somewhat melancholy face, stands out on those of the 16 children who climb or play around the colossal, indifferent god: a union of grandeur of the epos and the grace of the idyll. A production of marble sculptures has been ascribed to Alexandrian sculpture, where the latest development of the nuance is of the praxithelic current; but especially this Alexandrian sculpture must have been active in portrait and genre representations, with an accentuation of grotesque and caricature. For the portrait, one can think of Alexandria as regards the busts of the blind Homer, given the great cult that in Alexandria there was for the great poet, to whom a temple was erected, with a simulacrum, by Ptolemy IV Philopator (221- 204 BC). Thus it is conceivable that the type, known from many copies, of the Pseudo-Seneca, symbol of emaciation and senile malaise, is Alexandrian.

According to, statues such as those of the old fisherman, true human wreckage, of the Gallery of the Candelabra, of the fisherman and of the peasant woman, old, but lively, of the Museum of the Conservatories, or bronzes like those of the small languid negretto of Chalon, can therefore be traced back to the Alexandrian circle. -sur-Saône, of the dancing figure of the Museum of Tunis, of the four street vendors of Pompeii, with skeletal shapes.

Even in Athens, sculpture had to follow the various directions that were developing with such vigor in Asia Minor. Of Apollonius, son of Nestor, Athenian, sculptor of the century. I a. C., is the famous and much discussed torso of the Belvedere, Michelangelo in the athletic form, which perhaps is part of an erotic group, representing a satyr with a nymph; therefore a work that would fall within that Hellenistic Rococo address, to which the reconstruction of the “Invitation to dance” group belongs. Apollonius is also the author of the bronze boxer of the National Roman Museum of crude realism, especially in the stupid and provocative face. But in Athens the production must have been especially vigorous, which did nothing but take up the themes dealt with in the golden centuries of sculpture.

The Zeus of Hegira, the work of the Athenian Euclid, in which the Phidian tradition is taken up, is an example of this address in the 3rd century BC. C.; another example, from the second half of the century. II, was the votive gift of Eubulide, in which the head of Athena reproduces the type of the Athena of Velletri with variations.

This address was encouraged by the desire, first of monarchs, then of private individuals, to possess statuary works that more or less exactly resembled famous works of the fifth and fourth centuries. C .; therefore, not only in Athens, but also in other centers, this approach was developed to take up works from the past.

An example is provided by the imitation of Phidias’ Athena Parthénos, made for the acropolis of Pergamum. Imitation also extends to archaic works; in fact it has vigor, especially starting from the century. II, that archaistic address, of which an example already in the middle of the century. V can be recognized in the Hermes Propylaeus of Alcamene. It is an approach of manner, whereby the archaic characters take on an aspect of deliberate refinement, of refined affectation, so that it is almost always easy to distinguish these archaicizing works from the truly archaic ones, just as it is easy to distinguish what is affected from what is naive, what is cerebral lucubration from what is spontaneous feeling. Here too the versatility of Hellenistic sculptors appears: that same Boetus of Chalcedon, who is the author of the

Gradually, from the imitation of the works of archaism and the golden ages, we pass to exact copies, we pass to contamination of different works, and the so-called neo-attic school is established. Neo-Attic artists can be considered Arcesilao and Pasitele of the age of Caesar; Arcesilao executed the simulacrum of Venus Genetrix for the temple of the Forum of Caesar, apparently following the Aphrodite in the gardens by Alcamene as a model. However, here too we can observe the versatility of the Hellenistic sculptors; because of Arcesilao a marble group of a lioness with cupids joking around is remembered, and Pasitele refers (Plin., NatHist., XXXVI, 39) the danger that ran to be torn to pieces by a panther, copying a lion caged.

Pasitele’s pupil was Stefano, known to us by the signature on a statue of an athlete, which reproduces a statuary type from the first half of the century. It goes. C.; Stefano’s pupil is M. Cossuzio Menelao, whose group, cold, academic, so-called Orestes and Electra, actually of the mother who receives the last farewell from her deceased young son, has survived. With contamination of types, as in the Menelaus group, with the reproduction of ancient models, as in the athlete of Stephen, the sculptural art of the Greeks is exhausted, while during the Julio-Claudian dynasty they follow the picturesque reliefs with smoothness of execution and with coldness of expression, as in the eight reliefs of Palazzo Spada.

The workshops of sculptors, who more or less sloppily copy the masterpieces of the past, were very active during the empire, mainly under the Julio-Claudian dynasty and under Hadrian, the Hellenizing emperor. Under Hadrian (117-138 AD) the vogue to copy Hellenistic sculptures begins: we have, p. eg, the two marble centaurs from Villa Adriana, of the Capitoline, with the signatures of Aristea and Papia of Afrodisia (Caria), copies of two bronzes of the century. II a. C., perhaps rodî. During the empire of Hadrian, sculptor-copyists of Aphrodisias are especially active: Atticiano, Coblano, Menesteo, Zenas, Zeno. And an Antonian of Aphrodisias is the author of the marble stele of Torre del Padiglione representing Hadrian’s favorite, Antinous, the soft and sad young Bitinius, under the aspect of the god Sylvan. Last, late creation of Greek sculpture, it is precisely the figure of Antinous, known to us from a numerous series of statues, busts, reliefs; last, and yet sad and breathless, of the figures of youthful gods, after Apollo, Hermes and Dionysus, serene and calm in their Olympic beauty.

Greece Sculpture 12