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Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World Symposium, II: Muscle into Bronze: Athletics, Athletes, and Athletic Victor Statues in the Hellenistic Aegean

Andrew Stewart, professor of ancient Mediterranean art and archaeology and Nicholas C. Petris Professor of Greek Studies, University of California, Berkeley, and curator of Mediterranean archaeology, Hearst Museum of Anthropology. The exhibition Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World, on view at the National Gallery of Art from December 13, 2015, through March 20, 2016, presents some 50 bronze sculptures and related works, dating from the fourth century BC to the first century AD. They span the Hellenistic period when the art and culture of Greece spread throughout the Mediterranean and lands once conquered by Alexander the Great. The exhibition provides a unique opportunity to witness the importance of bronze in the ancient world, when it became the preferred medium for portrait sculpture. Part of a public symposium held in conjunction with the exhibition on March 18 and 19, 2016, Andrew Stewart’s lecture, “Muzcle into Bronze,” seeks to put bronze athlete statues in context by briefly sketching the similarities and differences between the ancient Olympics and ours; examining the uniquely ancient Greek practice of competing in the nude and its key role in Greek self-definition; tracing the development of Greek athletic victor statues to c. 300 BC; and commenting upon the athlete bronzes featured in the exhibition. This program is cosponsored by the Washington DC Society of the Archaeological Institute of America.