Hellenistic Greece (323-31 BCE)

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Victorious Youth
Colossus of Rhodes
Winged Victory of Samothrace
Rosetta Stone

Altar of Zeus, Pergamon, East Frieze
Venus de Milo
Borghese Gladiator

Hellenistic art is the art of the Hellenistic period generally taken to begin with the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and end with the conquest of the Greek world by the Romans, a process well underway by 146 BCE, when the Greek mainland was taken, and essentially ending in 30 BCE with the conquest of Ptolemaic Egypt following the Battle of Actium.

A number of the best-known works of Greek sculpture belong to this period, including Laocoön and His Sons, Venus de Milo, and the Winged Victory of Samothrace. It follows the period of Classical Greek art, while the succeeding Greco-Roman art was very largely a continuation of Hellenistic trends.

[Source: Wikimedia commons]


The Victorious Youth, is a bronze sculpture from 300-100 BCE. It was initially attibuted to Lysippos, but today’s sources are less equivocal.
It was found in the Adriatic sea off Fano Italy, caught by the nets of an Italian fishing trawler. The eye insets are gone, but the copper nipples remain.
It may have been part of a number of sculptures of victorious athletes at Panhellenic Greek sanctuaries like Delphi and Olympia.
His right hand reaches to touch the winner’s olive wreath on his head. The powerful head has led viewers to see it as a portrait; the head was cast separately from the lithe body.
It is at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Pacific Palisades, California.

Image source: Wikimedia commons

Image source: greekreporter.com

The Colossus of Rhodes was a statue of the Greek sun-god Helios, designed by Chares of Lindos and erected in the city of Rhodes.

One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, it was constructed to celebrate its successful defense against Demetrius Poliorcetes, who besieged it for a year with a large army and navy.

According to most contemporary descriptions, the Colossus stood approximately 70 cubits, or 33m high – a similar height as the modern Statue of Liberty, making it the tallest statue in the ancient world.
There are many artist’s impressions of how the statue may have looked, the image is one of these.
The Winged Victory of Samothrace, (aka Nike of Samothrace; Nike is the Greek goddess of victory).
The sculpture is one of a small number of major Hellenistic statues that is extand, not being represented by a Roman copy. The right wing is not original, it was added by mirroring the left wing.
Historians have suggested the victory being celebrated might be any number of battles.
Pythokritos of Lindos is proposed as the sculptor, though this is not agreed.
It is on show at the Louvre.

Image source: Wikipedia commons

Image source: brittanica.com

This image of the Hellenistic period, Rosetta Stone or stele, shows the three languages used – Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, Ancient Greek Demotic script and Ancient Greek.The decree has only minor differences between the three versions, making the Rosetta Stone key to deciphering the Egyptian scripts.
The three versions are of a decree issued in Memphis, Egypt in 196 BCE during the Ptolemaic dynasty on behalf of King Ptolemy V Epiphanes.
The images show the friezes from the Altar of Zeus, Pergamon.
The Pergamon Altar is a monument built during the reign of king Eumenes II early 2nd c BCE on one of the terraces of the acropolis of the ancient Greek city of Pergamon in Asia Minor.

Image source:joyofmuseums.com

Image source: louvre.fr

The Venus de Milo (130-100 BCE) is an ancient Greek statue and one of the most famous works of ancient Greek sculpture. Initially it was attributed to the sculptor Praxiteles, but based on an inscription that was on its plinth, the statue is now thought to be the work of Alexandros of Antioch.

The statue is believed to depict Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, although some scholars claim it is the sea-goddess Amphitrite, as she is venerated on Milos.
The Borghese Gladiator is a Hellenistic life-size marble sculpture. It depicts a swordsman. It was created at Ephesus about 100 BCE. The sculpture has the signature on its pedestal of Agasias son of Dositheus, who is otherwise unknown.
It was found, before 1611, in today’s Anzio samong the ruins of a seaside palace of Nero on the site of the ancient Antium.
It is on show at the Louvre.

Image source: Wikimedia commons

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