“Power and Pathos” at Getty Museum

In a somewhat unprecedented circumstance, the world’s foremost ancient bronzes from the Mediterranean area between 2,000 and 2,400 years ago can be seen at the Getty Museum. The sculptures, which have been curated by Ken Lapatin and Jens Daehner, will be on display until November 1st.

 

The Hellenistic sculptures, more than 50 in total, epitomize the tenser and more dynamic nature of bronze compared to stone and, even yet, many of the works on view are a miracle due to how often the material was melted down and reused in its heyday. Still, the surviving artworks, which were found off coasts or deep under water, comprise a collection spanning rulers, Gods, and athletes.

 

One famous bronze is the “Head of a Man from Delos,” which reveals the wonderful details still intact like the matted hair, and the wrinkled inlaid eyes. Another is the “Horse Head,” which is so realistic, from the furrowed brows to the musculature around the neck, that it will surely impress. “Herakles Epitrapezios” will intimidate with the club in his left hand, “Sleeping Eros” will evoke a sense of heartwarming calm in seeing a cherub at rest, and “Athena” / “Medallion with Athena and Medusa” will depict how women were perhaps lionized just as much as men. Not to mention, the two exquisite statues of the “Athlete” of that era, shown with broad shoulders, thick arms, and a defined nose, will bowl over any observer.

 

Though there is something for everyone, there is one mysterious sculpture that was excavated in 1885 in Rome, but is believed to have been made in Greece between 300 and 100 B.C., that completely compels the viewer. “Terme Boxer” successfully captures the empathy and curiosity of the observer because it delineates an unknown fighter, who is battered and slumped, but not vanquished in spirit nor body. And this is even so with the cuts, bruises, and overall malaise wrought from his bronze body.

 

Curator Ken Lapatin understands more than anyone how “Terme Boxer” and many of the other sculptures elicit the emotion that they do from attendees at the exhibit. “It’s the idea of portraiture and the idea of a person, as well as their inner thoughts. We respond to stories, and in showing these objects together, but in splendid isolation, we find that they, and the individuals behind them, speak for themselves because we want to experience their narratives,” he confides.

 

Photos courtesy Getty Museum.

Imaan Jalali

Imaan Jalali

When he isn't writing, Imaan can be found doing 360-degree layups on neighborhood basketball courts. He is also an avid reader of non-fiction, particularly Social Psychology. Nothing fascinates him more than human motivation, behavior, and attitudes. In trying to understanding others, he is beginning to come to terms with his alien self.
Imaan Jalali

Author: Imaan Jalali

When he isn't writing, Imaan can be found doing 360-degree layups on neighborhood basketball courts. He is also an avid reader of non-fiction, particularly Social Psychology. Nothing fascinates him more than human motivation, behavior, and attitudes. In trying to understanding others, he is beginning to come to terms with his alien self.

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