Jens Daehner and Kenneth Lapatin (eds.)

Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World

(Getty / Palazzo Strozzi / Giunti Editore)

For the general public and specialists alike, the Hellenistic period (323–31 BC) and its diverse artistic legacy remain underexplored and not well understood. Yet it was a time when artists throughout the Mediterranean developed new forms, dynamic compositions, and graphic realism to meet new expressive goals, particularly in the realm of portraiture. Rare survivors from antiquity, large bronze statues are today often displayed in isolation, decontextualized as masterpieces of ancient art. Power and Pathos gathers together significant examples of bronze sculpture in order to highlight their varying styles, techniques, contexts, functions, and histories.

As the first comprehensive volume on large-scale Hellenistic bronze statuary, this book includes groundbreaking archaeological, art-historical, and scientific essays offering new approaches to understanding ancient production and correctly identifying these remarkable pieces. Designed to become the standard reference for decades to come, the book emphasizes the unique role of bronze both as a medium of prestige and artistic innovation and as a material exceptionally suited for reproduction.

Adjudicating Committee verdict:

Jens M. Daehner’s and Kenneth Lapatin’s Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World is a beautifully produced book, a visual and almost tactile pleasure to leaf through and a fitting record of a wonderful exhibition which attracted enthusiastic crowds in Europe and the United States. It brings to our attention in one large volume the exciting number of new finds in recent years, thanks to advances in marine archaeology, including the statues off the islands of Kalymnos and Kythnos. And it reminds us too of the vast extent of the Hellenistic world, with fascinating, finely printed images of bronze figures now in museums in Bagdad, Tehran and Kabul. Scholarly chapters reflect on the significance and function of bronze sculpture in the ancient world, from questions of cost and colour to intriguing details about replication, forgery and authenticity. This is a book which can appeal to readers on many different levels, from art enthusiasts to classical scholars alike.