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Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World Symposium, I: “Living Statues”: Ancient and Modern Viewers of Hellenistic Sculpture

Gianfranco Adornato, professor of classical archaeology, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa. 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. In his lecture, “Living Statues,” at a public symposium held in conjunction with the exhibition on March 18 and 19, 2016, Gianfranco Adornato examines the reception and appreciation of Hellenistic sculpture in ancient and modern times. Adornato analyzes ancient literary sources and archaeological evidence as documentation of how these statues were perceived in their historical and cultural contexts. This program is coordinated with and supported by the Embassy of Italy to the United States and the Italian Cultural Institute in Washington, DC, held as part of “Protecting our Heritage” activities of the European Union National Institutes of Culture (EUNIC) in Washington, DC.