Greek Hellenistic Sculpture

art_gaul240Gaul or Giant

Fairfield University's plaster cast of the Gaul or Giant from the Lesser Attalid Dedication is traditionally dated to 150 BCE, however, an earlier date of ca. 200 BCE has also been proposed. This sculptural group was installed along the south wall of the Acropolis as a commission by Attalos, the ruler of Pergamon. Known as the Lesser Attalid Dedication, each sculpture in the group commemorates a great Greek victory both mythological and historical. Figures represent the war of the Giants, the battle against the Amazons, the deed of the Athenians at Marathon, and the defeat of the Gauls in Mysia.

The style of the Lesser Attalid Dedication perpetuates the style of the larger Attalid figures from the Great Altar at Pergamon. Each of the figures in the Dedication is approximately two-thirds life-sized, emphasizing his or her ultimate defeat. Fairfield's cast of a Gaul or giant is even smaller, standing only 2'6" tall. Twelve different sculptures of Gauls have been attributed to the Lesser Attalid Dedication; thus, if there were equal numbers of Giants, Persians and Amazons, as art historians suggests there were, the Lesser Attalid Dedication may have well contained more than 50 sculptures.