On display at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center from July 28 through November 1, 2015, Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World. This will be the first major international exhibition to bring together approximately fifty of the most important ancient bronzes from the Mediterranean region and beyond. Large-scale bronze sculptures are among the rarest survivors of antiquity because, typically, their valuable metal was melted down and reused. The rows of empty stone pedestals still seen at many ancient sites are a stark testimony to both the ubiquity of bronze statuary in the Hellenistic era and its scarcity in modern times. Ironically, many bronzes known today still exist because they were once lost at sea, only to be recovered many years later by fishermen and divers.
“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,” said 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 high points of European art history. The fifty 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.”
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