May 23, 2024

Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World, an unprecedented exhibition of some 50 rare bronze sculptures and related works from the Hellenistic period is on view at the National Gallery of Art from December 13, 2015, through March 20, 2016.   The exhibit was previously at the Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, and the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.

Horse Head, “The Medici Riccardi Horse,” about 350 B.C.,
Horse Head, “The Medici Riccardi Horse,” about 350 B.C.,

Power and Pathos presents some 50 bronze sculptures and related works, dating from the fourth century BC to the first century AD.  They span the Hellenistic period when the art and culture of Greece spread throughout the Mediterranean and lands once conquered by Alexander the Great.  Through the medium of bronze, artists were able to capture the dynamic realism, expression, and detail that characterize the new artistic goals of the era.

The exhibition features works from renowned archaeological museums in Austria, Denmark, France, Georgia, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Spain, Tunisia, the United States, and the Vatican. As only a small fraction of ancient bronzes survives — most were melted down over the centuries — this exhibition offers an unprecedented opportunity to appreciate the importance of bronze in antiquity and the innovations of Hellenistic sculptors.

As Washington Post art crititic, Philip Kennicott suggested,  “Go now, and go again many times before the exhibition closes March 20. If you despair of the world we have made, retreat here. Any single work is a tonic; collectively they are a wonder.”