Museo di Scultura Antica Giovanni Barracco

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Hellenistic art

The term “Hellenism” refers to the historical and cultural period that is conventionally taken to have begun in 323 B.C., the year of Alexander the Great’s death, and ended in 30 B.C., upon the Romans’ conquest of Egypt. In expanding eastward, Alexander had advanced as far as India, but after bitter struggles, the vast empire he had conquered was eventually divided into multiple kingdoms ruled by the Diadochi, Alexander’s companions and successors.

The dynasty of the Ptolemies reigned in Egypt, the Seleucids in Syria, Mesopotamia and Persia, the Antigonids in Macedonia and Greece, and (as of 263 B.C.) theAttalids at Pergamum.

The huge expansion of the Greek world’s boundaries and its close contacts with civilizations and peoples with very ancient traditions, led to extraordinary political, economic and social transformations, and produced enormous repercussions on the cultural life and artistic styles of the period. The results of this process, though marked by local features, shared a common expressive language that enabled the widespread diffusion of representational models of Hellenic origin.

Patronage for grand artistic projects passed from the individual city-states of the Greek world to the capitals of the successor kingdoms (Pella, Antioch, Alexandria, Pergamum, etc.), as expressions of the sovereigns. The relationship between the community and the individual changed, and the art of portraiture flourished. The artists’ repertory was enhanced with new themes derived from the observation of nature and daily life, and with exotic subjects.

Besides fine copies of Greek sculptures from the early Hellenistic period, the Barracco collection contains many examples of the archaistic art that was popular in Hellenistic and Roman times. This artistic language had retrospective and eclectic features that drew on motifs and stylistic elements typical of archaic Greek art, but often combined with more advanced models. It characterizes reliefs of a mainly decorative nature and sculptures in the round that were also conceived for votive or religious purposes.

Sculpture
Roman copy, signed by Sopatros, of a Greek original by Lysippus (late 4th century B.C.)
Inv. MB 139
Sculpture
Roman work from the 2nd century A.D., after a Greek original from the late 4th century B.C.
Inv. MB 157
Sculpture
Roman copy of a Greek original from the late 4th century B.C.
Inv. MB 154
Sculpture
Roman copy of an original by Polyeuktos (first half of the 3rd century B.C.)
Inv. MB 140
Sculpture
Roman copy of an original from the 2nd century B.C.
Inv. MB 179
Sculpture
Work inspired by the style of Pergamum in the 2nd century B.C.
Inv. MB 178
China
Attributed to the Lycurgus Painter, mid-4th century B.C.
Inv. MB 233
China
Late 6th - early 5th century B.C.
Inv. MB 286
China
2nd-3rd century A.D.
Inv. MB 228
Sculpture
Late 4th - early 3rd century B.C.
Inv. MB 150
Sculpture
Late 4th century B.C.
Inv. MB 149
Sculpture
Late 4th - early 3rd century B.C.
Inv. MB 148
China
3rd-2nd century B.C.
Inv. MB 316-317
Sculpture
Canosian work from the 3rd century B.C.
Inv. MB 256
Sculpture
Roman copy of a Hellenistic model
Inv. MB 296
Sculpture
Roman copy of a Hellenistic model
Inv. MB 167
Sculpture
Archaistic work from the 1st century A.D.
Inv. MB 117
Sculpture
2nd century A.D.
Inv. MB 186
Funerary monument and ornaments
3rd century A.D.
Inv. MB 200
Sculpture
Archaistic work from the Augustan age
Inv. MB 177
Sculpture
Archaistic work from the Augustan age
Inv. MB 86
Sculpture
Eclectic work from the Flavian period
Inv. MB 84
Sculpture
Roman copy of an archaistic original
Inv. MB 87

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