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From Olympus to the Streets of Constantinople: The Byzantine Retirement of the Ancient Gods

Anthony Kaldellis, professor of classics, Ohio State University. On view from December 13, 2015, through March 20, 2016, the exhibition Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World features 50 works that survey the development of Hellenistic art as it spread from Greece throughout the Mediterranean between the fourth and first centuries BC. Through the medium of bronze, artists were able to capture the dynamic realism, expression, and detail that characterized the new artistic goals of the period. The exhibition presents a unique opportunity to witness the importance of bronze in the ancient world, when it became the preferred medium for portrait sculpture. In this lecture recorded on March 3, 2016, Anthony Kaldellis explains the role of Hellenistic art during the Byzantine era. For centuries, Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, was the largest and most impressive open-air museum of classical art in the world. To adorn their capital, emperors selected and imported the best surviving pieces of classical sculpture from the Aegean region. Kaldellis explores the cosmic and imperial messages that their contemporary architectural arrangements conveyed, before they were irretrievably lost in fires and wars. This program is coordinated with and supported by Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection.