Themes of Greek Gods in Art of Hellenistic Period

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Greek Mythology traces as far back as nineteen hundred B. C. till the ninth century. When there are godly figures there will be people who illustrate these godly figures in many different forms of artwork. This results in endless amounts of artwork illustrating the Greek’s idea of their Gods. There are multiple different types of artworks, including dominantly paintings and statues made of stone and bronze. The prominent works are stone statues depicting the Greek Gods.

The most recognizable Greek statue is called the Artemision Bronze. This statue is a bronze statue that was found off the coast of the northern part of Euboea in the cape named Artemision. This bronze statue either depicts Zeus or Poseidon. This statue stands at two hundred and nine centimeters. The statue has empty eye sockets that were thought to have been filled with bone. His eyebrows were plated with silver while the rest with bronze.

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This makes the statue life-sized. Some people believe that the state is depicting Zeus because of the way that other works show Zeus throwing his lightning bolt as opposed to the way that Poseidon wields his trident. Many people believe that this statue must be Poseidon because it was pulled out of the Mediterranean Sea. Some researchers believe that if this statue was Poseidon then his trident would cover the most important part of him, his face. There are many other smaller bronze figures depicting Zeus in the same pose that this larger statue is positioned in.

The sculptor of this piece is unknown. The date that this piece was created is also unknown. The statue is thought to be from the Hellenistic period in the first or second century BC. He was discovered in the sea in nineteen twenty-six on a shipwreck that was most likely Roman transporting Greek art to Italy. The exploration that found the statue was abandoned when a diver died in nineteen twenty-eight. This sculpture is kept at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.

The second piece is Laocoon and His Sons. This piece is also very well known. It was excavated in Rome in 1506. One of the experts at the excavation site was Michelangelo. Pope Julius II insisted that the piece was brought to the Vatican where is remains to this day. There have been many famous recreations of this piece. Two of the most popular being housed at Uffizi Gallery in Florence and the Louvre in Paris.

The whole piece depicts the Trojan priest Laocoon and his two sons, Antiphantes and Thymbraeus, tangled up in sea serpents. Laocoon was the Trojan priest that warned the Trojan leaders of the Trojan horse. The Greek Goddess Athena punished him by having him and his two sons attacked by the giant sea serpents Porches and Chariboea. This piece was made from marble and stands to two hundred and eight centimeters tall. This piece was created in the Hellenistic 'Pergamene baroque' based on its style. When discovered, this piece was missing Laocoon’s right arm. His arm was later found in a builder’s yard by chance. The arm was later attached to the rest of the sculptor.

Historians believe that this piece was created anywhere between forty-two-twenty BCE. They are unsure if this is a true Greek sculpture or just a copy of an older statue. The three creators, Hagesander, Athenodoros, and Polydorus, are now believed to replicate expensive Greek artworks for wealthy Roman leaders. Many historians have tried to figure out the true origin of this piece and they all have their own theories.

The third piece of art that follows the theme of Greek is the Aphrodite of Knidos. This piece also is very recognizable as a more well know Greek statue. The original Greek piece is no longer around. This makes this sculpture one of the most recreated Greek artwork. Although the original piece does not exist, there is a Roman recreation that shows what the original piece looked like. The original was thought to be lifelike and made from marble.

The original piece was sculpted for the Temple of Aphrodite at Knidos. This is the temple that was used to worship Aphrodite. The statue was sculpted by Praxiteles and shows the Goddess is getting ready for the ritual bath of purity. The statue is known for its beauty and attention to detail of the human body.

The fourth work is of the Greek messaging God of Olympus, Hermes. Hermes and the Infant Dionysus is life-sized and pictures Hermes holding the God of Wine, Dionysus, as an infant. This work was founded in eighteen seventy-seven. It was found in Greece in the ruins of the Temple of Hera. The artist given credit for creating this piece of art is also Praxiteles in the fourth century B. C.

The mythology behind this piece is quite interesting. Zeus’s mortal lover became pregnant. Zeus decided to protect his unborn child from his Godly wife, Hera, he would sew him to the inside of his thigh. He then ordered Hermes to take Dionysus to the mountains where he was raised by nymphs.

The last sculpture that relates to the theme of Greek Mythology is the Winged Victory of Samothrace, also called the Nike of Samothrace. This piece is made of marble and was created in the Hellenistic age spanning from seven hundred and fifty to three hundred B. C.. The sculptor of this piece is unknown. It depicts the Greek Goddess of victory, Nike. The statue is unique because it is one of the few authentic Greek, Hellenistic statues and not a Roman recreation.

The statue stands two hundred and forty-four centimeters tall. She is missing both of her arms which have never been recovered. Her right arm was believed to be raised to her mouth as she gives the shout of victory. This piece has been displayed in the Louvre Museum since nineteen eighty-eight.

There are endless amounts of themes of art. Some of the most famous sculptures come from the Theme of Greek Mythology. These famous sculptures include Artemision Bronze depicting either Poseidon or Zeus. The second is Laocoon and His Sons which depicts the Trojan priest and his two sons being attacked by giant sea serpents. Another sculpture of Aphrodite before a purifying bath is named Aphrodite of Knidos. The fourth is a statue of the God Hermes and the infant Dionysus. The last piece that fits this theme is Winged Victory of Samothrace. The prominent works in the theme of Greek Mythology are statues made of different mediums.

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Themes of Greek Gods in Art of Hellenistic Period. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 22, 2024, from
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