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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Last day to see 2000-year-old bronze sculpture at National Gallery of Art

The entrance to Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World closing today at the National Gallery of Art and featuring 50 statues and other works dating from the fourth century BC to the first century AD/Photo by Patricia Leslie

The exhibition showcases "the most significant examples of Hellenistic bronze sculpture," only a few examples which remain, many lost and others melted for different uses.  The Hellenistic period is generally recognized as beginning with the death of Alexander the Great (356 BC - 323 BC) and lasting until the advent of the Roman Empire or about 300 years.  

Over his short reign 336 to 323 BC, Alexander created a vast empire which encompassed the area stretching from Greece to Egypt to India to what is now Pakistan. Wikipedia says Alexander, undefeated in battle, is still considered "one of history's most successful military commanders."  

Up until he was 16, he was tutored by Aristotle. Alexander became king of Macedonia when he was 20, after his father, Philip II, was assassinated.,
Victorious Athlete ("The Getty Bronze") 300 - 100 BC  on loan from the J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, welcomes visitors to the exhibition.  Italian fishermen found Athlete in the Adriatic Sea in the 1960s.  He stands ready to remove the laurel from his head and offer it to the gods in gratitude for his win.  Behind him is a photograph of empty bases where statues once stood at a stadium in Olympia, Greece./Photo by Patricia Leslie

Thirty-three museums from around the world, including the Prado, the Uffizzi, the Louvre, the Vatican, two museums in Athens, the British Museum, and archaeological museums in Pompeii and Thessaloniki loaned pieces for the exhibition with half of them on view in the U.S. for the first time, according to National Gallery director, Earl A. Powell.
This is Artisan, 50 BC loaned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, whose belt holds a notebook indicating he may have been a writer, possibly Aesop, according to the label/Photo by Patricia Leslie
The National Archaeological Museum in Athens loaned Portrait of a Man, 100 BC, which originally was a full-length statue. This portion of the man was found in 1912 on the Greek island of Delos/Photo by Patricia Leslie
At last a woman and Athena, 300 - 270 BC, at that.  She was the goddess of war and wisdom who, in this piece, is protected by  "Gorgon," a mythical female monster whose gaze was fatal to any onlooker. Athena may have held a spear in her right hand.  Loaned by the National Archaeological Museum in Florence, she was found in fragments of a house in Arezzo in 1541/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Head of Apollo, 50 BC - AD 50, formerly a full-length statue found in 1930 by fisherman in the Gulf of Salerno.  Loaned by the Province of Salerno/Photo by Patricia Leslie
A really big horse, the photograph which does not adequately convey the size, created by Cavallo Riccardi, and named the Medici Riccardi Horse, c. 350 BC.  It was once part of an equestrian statue and carried a rider, indicated by the bit in its mouth.  An example of the "Hellenistic emphasis on expressive realism," according to the label. Loaned by the National Archaeological Museum of Florence/Photo by Patricia Leslie
The Medici Riccardi Horse/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Artemis with Deer, 100 BC - 100 AD, which probably stood in a garden of a villa, was found in Rome in the 1920s by construction workers.  Artemis, the goddess of the hunt, likely held a bow. Loaned by a private collector/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Artemis with Deer/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Portrait of a Man, 300 - 200 BC, was found in 1997 in the Aegean Sea off the Greek island of Kalymnos near the locations of other discovered sculptures. The wide-brimmed hat indicates he was probably a king or general from Macedonia.  Loaned by the Archaeological Museum of Kalymnos.  Visitors to the gallery and other objects are reflected in the protective covering /Photo by Patricia Leslie
 Portrait of a Ruler (Demetrios Poliorketes?), 310 - 290 BC, was originally more than 11 feet tall. The Athenians proclaimed Piliorketes  king in 307 BC when he was 30 years old. His father served as a general in Alexander's military and was also a king.  Loaned by the Prado/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Portrait of a Ruler (Demetrios Poliorketes?), 310 - 290 BC/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Boy Runner, 100 BC - AD 79, was one of a pair found in the 1750s near a 218-foot swimming pool in a colonnaded garden in the Villa dei Paperi at the Bay of Naples, buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Loaned by the National Archaeological Museum in Naples/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Herakles Epitrapezios, 100 BC - AD 79 was found in 1902 in a garden near Pompeii. The name Epitrapezios means "on or at the table," and this version may have been small enough to be "on or at the table." Loaned by the National Archaeological Museum in Naples/Photo by Patricia Leslie
In the galleries/Photo by Patricia Leslie

A 350+ paged catalogue filled with full color illustrations, maps, and images is available in the shops, and for the first time, the National Gallery has a free mobile audio tour for cell phone users.

The Bank of America is a major sponsor of the national exhibition which began in the U.S. at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, after opening at the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence.

What: Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World

When: Closing March 20, 2016.

Where: West Building, National Gallery of Art, between Third and Seventh streets at Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. On the Mall.

Admission is always free at the National Gallery of Art.

Metro stations: Smithsonian, Federal Triangle, Navy Memorial-Archives, or L'Enfant Plaza

For more information: 202-842-6941

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