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Styles & Periods

Styles & Periods

Hellenistic Art

The Hellenistic period is marked as the period between the death of Alexander the Great and the beginning of Roman control. Few examples survive as positively identified Hellenist art, but those pieces that do show a vision with a greater emphasis on realism and expressiveness than earlier works. In sculpture, there is a larger variety of poses with extreme torsion and highly realistically rendered drapery. It is said that these differences result from a desire to break with the rigidly defined traditions of the Classical style. The Nike of Samothrace, dating c. 200 B.C.E., is an example of a dramatic use of wet drapery. The Nike wasn't discovered until 1863; before it, the Venus de Milo was discovered in 1820. The Laocoön Group, first century B.C.E., was found in Rome during the Renaissance. When it was unearthed it caused a sensation. The central male figure writhes in anguish as the gods punish him for revealing the secrets of the Greek horse to the Trojans. This innovative subject and dynamism show a new level of calculated depiction of pathos, and inspired later Renaissance master, Michelangelo.


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