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What Makes a Statue?

Carol Mattusch, Mathy Professor of Art History, George Mason 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. Power and Pathos brings together works from world-renowned archaeological museums in Austria, Denmark, France, Georgia, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Spain, Tunisia, the United States, and the Vatican. 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 February 7, 2016, at the National Gallery of Art, Carol Mattusch explains that many of the bronzes in Power and Pathos are incomplete, and explores these questions: What did the complete statues look like? What were the sculptures used for? And were they all statues or did some of them serve other functions?