Hellenistic Portrait Head
The Menil collection has artwork in ancient antiquity that range from Paleolithic to the Christian eras. The Paleolithic objects date from 22000 – 15000 BC (Smith 89). The Asia Minor artwork is a prehistoric Greek antiquity from Hellenistic period. The marble head that appears in the Menil collection, Houston represents a figure of a mature man with a small beard. The man turns his head to face the left side. This statue has short hair that has coils placed in rows. The coils emanate from a cowlick stand and have a coiffure with completion of bangs. The eyebrows have diagonal knots forcing arched furrows on the upper part of the forehead.
The statue has irregular eyebrows coupled with curving on the individual hairs so as to indicate strokes. The face of the statue has wrinkles to indicate an old person. The cheeks have furrows and diagonal crease. The eyes are wide open and have deep sockets with lachrymal marks. The frown lines have wrinkles up to the nose. The nose has broken into two lumps. At the root of the nose, the nostrils are large and have flanks of furrows. The beard of the statue has crisp locks on the cheekbone and the areas surrounding the mouth to suggest a silk like texture.
The sculpture has a soft moustache and thin carvings of the lips to enable compression (Smith 90). The mouth has hollows that are slanting downwards to suggest bitterness or grief of the character. The mouth has accentuation that is sharp to depict a fishtail pattern. The ears are fleshy and use a good shape since they have inner hollows and wrinkles on the lobes. The neck uses the popular baroque turn since it is short and powerful.
The neck has two engravings and creases to suggest a portrait of a mature male. Before the edge of the neck, one can see a low ridge. The ridge is set at a diagonal position so as to enable the drapery of the neck to hang on the cuirass. It is heavy to suggest a mantle (Smith 96). I imagine one can wear the draping that pass across the shoulder reaching the hips. The draping can as well reach the bare torso, chitin, and the armor. The Hellenistic sculptures could have employed a wide variety of options to complete the whole statue.
The portrait represents the artwork of a sculpture whose intention was to create an enormous statue. One can clearly see the details of the sculpture from a distance since they have sharp markings. For example, the separation between the tightly closed lips uses a high drilling channel that is very thin. I can observe an incised line that runs from the inner modeled through to end of the mouth.
This statue resembles the copper inlay of a bronze statue. The nose as well has very deep drills to depict the nostrils (Deusen 44). The canal of the ear has round holes. This detail is rare among the ancient sculptors, who display their works in the fifth century B.C. The statue has fallen evidenced by the broken nose but has not suffered weathering. It has subtle polished surfaces due to pristine condition. The statue has small engraving details and traces of rasp that one can observe (Deusen 47). This piece uses a form of marble that resembles the typical Pergamenian materials. The Hellenistic portrait is the works of baroque style from the center of the head. Most sculptors from Odyssey use marble in similar appearances from the head. One can observe a grayish material that is available in large quantities at Pergamon.
Materials and Techniques
The Hellenic styles date (323-27) designed by the Greek sculptures (Smith 99). The classical trends use baroque material. This material is strong and permits the making of distinct styles. In Alexandria, sculptures use stucco material. This material allows soft modeling to design Pergamene style. The Hellenistic portrait uses translucent, crystalline, bluish-white marble (Smith 99). The Hellenistic kings took many sculptures from Asia Minor as sculptures by gathering old artworks and designing modern ones.
The Hellenistic Portrait has diverse styles that demonstrate heroic agony as well as sentimental innocence. This portrait flourishes since it reflects the religious diversity after the conquest of the Persian Empire by Alexander. Big monarchies were more influential than the cities (Deusen 50). The monarch controlled power and wealth in the ancient times. The Hellenistic kings had political supremacy over the Greek sculptures to determine the spread of the culture. The Hellenistic Portrait displays a confident and powerful style to represent a Classical sculpture.
The anatomy of the sculpture uses aesthetic products. This is because the Hellenistic sculptures had inherited substantial knowledge from the Classical forerunners. This enabled them to improve a sculptures anatomy. Sculptures concentrated on the configuration of the body by responding to relaxation of the portrait. Sculptures use a soft modeling technique to add sentimental effects on the face. This portrait resembles a heroic prince or a notable that depicts a dry classical style due to linear design rather than modeling.
This portrait re-uses old Classical forms and violent dramatic effects on the torsos of the masculinities. To render the anatomy, Classical Hellenistic sculpture uses a proportionate male figure by elucidating the form and action of the face (Smith 109). The folds have a natural tendency to meet the Classical stipulated standards by the influential kings.
Hellenistic sculptures carve the marble the same way their predecessor does (Deusen 54). This piece uses a new procedure to work the model since it has a standard finish unlike the Classical work of portrait of the first century. Sculptors use a drill to carve out some parts. Sculptors provide coloration to the marble, but it is not in uniform. Some sculptures could use full color, but this one uses color in discreet. Then the marble undergoes gilding especially the hair.
Classical masters portray emotion of the portrait by putting curves on the face. These curves depict grief through the contorted carvings (Smith 112). The Hellenistic sculptures apply old character to enable the depiction of a natural and virtuous statue. This sculpture has an upright pose that applies Pergamene style and violent contortions. The classical and archaic sculptures adopt the pose that uses a strict standard of decorum. Sculptures use radical innovation to compose the front and side elevation. Most of the Hellenistic statues use the frontal view as the sculptural pose.
The Classical revival of this artwork takes place in the late second century and produces new styles of the recent forms. This sculpture precedes the Roma art in the fifth centuries starting with the archaic periods. During this period, the ancient kings collect all forms of Greek art and goes on to commission new forms. This sculpture uses marble that was in use since the first century. Sculptures could set up a circular framework to identify a carved block. One could measure the distance of the frameworks depending on one’s points so as to identify the block. Later, a sculptor could carve the eye surfaces between the points. In some instances, the artist could use marble copies to model the surfaces. Since bronze was cheaper than marble, one could use bronze to apply the eyelashes. Some of the artists claimed that it was difficult to shape the eyelashes using marble (Smith 114). The edge of the lids uses heavier tufts of hair to give high relief. The Hellenistic Portrait is a pose modified by the copyists that use stumps. The use of this material gives the sculpture the required stability and prevents any parts from breakage due to weight.
Brinkmann, Vinzenz, Raimund Wunsche, Susanne Ebbinghaus, and Amy Brauer. Gods in color: painted sculpture of classical antiquity. Munich: Stiftung ArchaÌˆologie :, 2007. Print.
Deusen, Nancy. Alexander's revenge: Hellenistic culture through the centuries. Reykjavik: University of Iceland Press, 2004. Print.
Smith, R. R. R.. Hellenistic royal portraits. Oxford [Oxfordshire: Clarendon Press ;, 2006. Print.