In the summer of 2016 I visited The Metropolitan Museum in NYC. Probably one of my favorite museums ever. Maybe, it is its fresh and easy “American” approach to History that I love. The temporary exhibition “Pergamon and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of the Ancient World” was the icing on the cake and triggered what was to be my next series “Colossal”.
“Colossal” is a collection of male nude paintings taken from sculptures or fragments of sculptures set in a contemporary background. Historical and classical images interpreted in a bold and fresh manner. I give hints of urban art, queer art or male eroticism without forgetting what/who these sculptures represent. Pinks, purples, rose and magentas will envelope the figures as if to give blood to the still life of the marble statue.
The following is a brief history of some of the sculptures I chose.
The Hellenistic Kingdoms.
After the military triumphs of Alexander the Great and his successors, the influence of Greek culture was felt from the Indus River valley to the Straits of Gibraltar. The concentration of wealth and power in the newly established Hellenistic kingdoms—the Ptolemaic, Seleucid, Attalid, and Antigonid—and the sovereign realm of the kings of Syracuse in Sicily fostered an unparalleled burst of creativity in all of the arts. The melding of Classical Greek with predominantly Eastern cultural traditions brought about new standards and conventions in taste and style.
Fragment of Youth Head
The astonishingly realistic fragmentary marble head of a youth was originally part of a draped bust set in a marble roundel almost four feet in diameter. Representing a young god or perhaps Alexander the Great, and found on the upper terrace of the gymnasium at Pergamon, the work would have been one of a number of similar sculptures adorning the space. Because the bust was never exposed to the elements, the marble surface is remarkably fresh.
Perseus with the Head of Medusa
This Perseus, purchased by Countess Valeria Tarnowska of Poland, is a replica of Canova's famed marble of Perseus in the Vatican, conceived about 1790 and first shown in 1801. Based freely on the Apollo Belvedere, which had been carried off to Paris under Napoleon, it was bought by Pope Pius VII and placed upon the pedestal where the Apollo had formerly stood. In the Museum's version, Canova has refined the ornamental details and aimed for a more lyrical effect than in the Vatican Perseus, a stylistic streamlining characteristic of his artistic process. Medusa's head is based on that of the antique Rondanini Medusa.