ArtLex Art Dictionary




HHellenistic art or Hellenistic period - A period and style of Mediterranean culture influenced by the Greek art world following the conquests of Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE, king of Macedonia and conqueror of Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt, Babylonia, and Persia). The expression of inner emotions was more important than beauty to the artists of this period.

(pr. hel'le-nis"tek)

Many of the features of the Hellenistic style can be found in these works:




Discus Thrower (Discobolus), Roman copy of an original bronze by Myron (Hellenistic Greek, c. 485 - c. 425 BCE), marble.



see thumbnail to leftA second point of view of the Discus Thrower. See point of view.







Greek, Apollo Belvedere, c. 330 BCE, marble, Vatican Museum.



see thumbnail to leftDetail: the head of the Apollo Belvedere. See fig leaf.








Apoxyomenos (Scraper), Roman copy of an original bronze by Lysippos, a Greek sculptor who worked c. 325 BCE, marble, height 82 inches, Vatican. Apoxyomenos, a gymnast, is portrayed scraping dusty oil from his right arm with a tool called a strigil. Lysippos provided the foundation for Hellenistic sculpture. The sculpture's fig leaf was added later as censorship in the interest of modesty.






see thumbnail to leftSpinario (Thorn-puller), Roman bronze copy of a Hellenistic original, 4th century BCE, Museo Conservatori, Rome.





Laocoön and his Sons, Roman copy of a Hellenistic original from c. 200 BCE, marble, height 1.84 m, Vatican. Trojan priest Laocoön and his two sons are attacked at an altar by giant snakes. Pliny said it was the work of three sculptors from Rhodes, Hagesandros, Polydoros, and Athenodoros. The date of the Laocoon is controversial, some scholars arguing for the late second century BCE, others for c. 50 BCE. See pain and Roman art.





see thumbnail to leftGreece, Statuette of a veiled and masked dancer, 3rd-2nd century BCE, Hellenistic, bronze, height 8 1/16 inches (20.5 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.



Hellenistic Greece, Samothrace (island in the North Aegean Sea), c. 190 BCE, Nike on the Prow of a Ship, called the "Winged Victory of Samothrace", gray Lartos marble for the ship's prow, white Paros marble for the statue, height 3.28 m (floor to top of wings) (10 feet 9 inches), Louvre. See Nike.




see thumbnail to leftGreece, Statue of Eros sleeping, 3rd-2nd century BCE, Hellenistic, bronze, length 33 9/16 inches (85.24 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.


Roman copy after a Hellenistic original from the 2nd century BCE, Sleeping Hermaphrodite, marble, length 169 cm, Louvre. Ovid told the story of Hermaphroditus in his Metamorphoses (IV, 285...): Hermaphroditus was the son of Mercury and Venus. When the boy was 15, he and the nymph Salmacis were so in love with one another, that they prayed they would never part. The gods then made them one, with a body both male and female. See androgyny.



Hellenistic Greece, Melos (the Cyclades islands), Aphrodite, known as Venus of Milo, c. 100 BCE, marble, height 6 feet 10 inches (2 m), Louvre. Signed on the base: "[Alex?]andros son of Menides from Antioch-on-the-Meander made it".



Hellenistic Greek, Antium (Italy), c. 100 BCE, Nude Male Combatant, called the "Borghese Gladiator", marble, height 157 cm, Louvre.






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