Greek Hellenistic Sculpture

art_hellenistic243Selene

Fairfield's cast of Selene is in two parts: the bust (Fairfield no. 24) belongs to the 1991 long-term renewable loan to Fairfield by the Metropolitan Museum of Art; whereas Selene's torso and the horse on which she is mounted (Fairfield no. 5) were gifted to Fairfield by the museum in 2004.

Selene is the personification of the moon. Traditionally, she was worshipped at the full and new moons. Her parents were the Titans Hyperion and Theia; her brother (or father, depending upon the source) was the sun god Helios; her sister was Eos, the goddess of dawn; her husband was Zeus.

The original relief of Selene is located in the center of the South frieze of the Great Altar. This portion of the frieze depicts the gods of day and night, and the Giants' attempts to disrupt the "harmony of time." The figures of Eos and Selene flank Helios, who stands triumphant in his chariot. Selene, whose dress slips off her left shoulder, rides side-saddle on her horse. Her back is to the viewer, but her face is in profile, as she turns to look at a victorious Helios, her left shoulder reflects the light of the sun. Fairfield's cast is a full replica of the surviving relief. As with the original in Berlin, the top of Selene's head, front of her face, and arms are missing; only the torso and rear of the horse survive.

 

art_hellenistic244Great Altar at Pergamon

The Great Altar at Pergamon is considered to be the "most renowned of all Hellenistic sculptural monuments." The altar was probably begun in 180 BCE, after Eumenes II of Pergamon's victories over Pontos and Bithynia and the founding of the Nikephoria festival, a celebration in honor of "the bringer of victory," or Athena, the patron deity of both Pergamon and Athens. The frieze depicts the Gigantomachy, a battle in which the Olympian gods defeated the Giants, a race of warriors born of Ge (Earth) and Ouranos (Sky).