The exhibition’s section
Divided into seven thematic sections, the exhibition opens with the large Portrait Statue of Aule Meteli (known as the Arringatore), formerly part of the collections of Cosimo I de’ Medici, to highlight the fact that there was already an interest in collecting ancient bronzes as far back as the Renaissance, and with a statue Base signed by Lysippos, favourite sculptor of Alexander the Great, discovered in ancient Corinth in 1901.
The exhibition continues with an evocative overview of Formulas of Power, presenting portraits of influential figures of the period, a new artistic genre which first saw the light of day under Alexander. The Statuette of Alexander the Great on Horseback, the Portrait Head of Arsinoë III Philopator, a Diadochos (a term initially used only for Alexander and his direct descendants) and the figure of a General (Lucius Aemilius Paullus?) are all outstanding examples of the genre.
The third section, entitled Bodies Ideal and Extreme, deserving of special attention, explores the stylistic innovations in the language of art through the development of new themes and genres taken from daily life, together with the ability to capture the dynamism of the human body in the extraordinary variety of its movements and positions. The Statuette of an Artisan and the Sleeping Eros, both from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, are outstanding examples of this trend.
The fourth section, entitled Likeness and Expression, focuses on individual portraits, on the use of inlay and colour to achieve a naturalistic look, and on the underscoring of pathos and of other forms of characterisation, which emanate from the figure of an Aristocratic Boy and from numerous other Male Portrait Heads.
The fifth section sets out – as its title, the Art of Replication, makes quite clear – to demonstrate bronze’s inherent ability to create multiple “originals”, by displaying reproductions of famous Hellenistic works from later eras and the imitation of bronze in dark stone, and the differences in the state of preservation of bronze statuary discovered in the sea and on land.
The sixth section, entitled Divine Beings, addresses a theme of some significance with a number of breathtakingly beautiful sculptures, including the Athena (Minerva of Arezzo), the Medallion with the Bust of Athena and the Head of Aphrodite.
The exhibition closes with a section entitled Retrospective Styles, which sets out to examine the renewed interest in archaic and classical styles as well as the mix of late Hellenistic styles. The most significant exhibits in this section include the so-called Idolino and the Apollos from the Louvre in Paris.