Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World
Speaker: Dr. Kenneth Lapatin, Associate Curator of Antiquities, J. Paul Getty Museum
December 3, 2015, 6:00 PM
Benedictine University, Community Room, Main Campus Building
During the Hellenistic period, from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C. until the establishment of the Roman Empire in 31 B.C., the medium of bronze drove artistic innovation. Sculptors moved beyond Classical norms, supplementing traditional subjects and idealized forms with realistic renderings of physical and emotional states. Bronze—surpassing marble with its tensile strength, reflective effects, and ability to hold fine detail—was employed for dynamic compositions, dazzling displays of the nude body, and graphic expressions of age and character.
Cast from alloys of copper, tin, lead, and other elements, bronze statues were produced in the thousands: honorific portraits of rulers and citizens populated city squares, and images of gods, heroes, and mortals crowded sanctuaries. Few, however, survive. This lecture, based on an exhibition of such material currently on display at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California, explores the creation, context, and rediscovery of works of bronze from Hellenistic Greece.
Kenneth Lapatin is Associate Curator of Antiquities with the J. Paul Getty Museum. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley (Ph.D.), and his areas of specialization are ancient Mediterranean art and archaeology, historiography, forgery, reception, and luxury arts. He has conducted fieldwork in Caesaria Martima (Israel), Rome, and Corinth, and his main publications include “Chryselephantine Statuary in the Ancient Mediterranean World”, and “Mysteries of the Snake Goddess: Art, Desire, and the Forging of History”. Dr. Lapatin is the AIA’s 2009/2010 Joukowsky Lecturer.
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