Royal Portraits in Sculpture and Coins: Pyrrhos and the Successors of Alexander the Great (Hermeneutics of Art)

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9780820425771: Royal Portraits in Sculpture and Coins: Pyrrhos and the Successors of Alexander the Great (Hermeneutics of Art)
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This book begins with a specific problem: the date, style, and iconography of a marble portrait head identified as Pyrrhos, King of Epeiros. Largely by collating with portraits on coins, the head is defined stylistically - dated c.305/304 - c.280 B.C., when the Successors ruled as kings - and confirmed as Pyrrhos. Further study of both coins and sculptures yields a fuller, more complex account of the portraiture of that period, in historic context as well as style, and also of the periods directly before c.305/304 B.C. and after c.280 B.C. In the course of making comparisons, later Hellenistic portraits are discussed as well.

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About the Author:

The Author: Blanche R. Brown has a Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Her awards include Fellowships from the N.E.H. and the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. She was a staff lecturer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, then Professor of Art History at New York University. Her writings extend from popular to scholarly: Five Cities: An Art Guide to Athens, Rome, Florence, Paris and London; Ptolemaic Paintings and Mosaics; and Anticlassicism in Greek Sculpture of the Fourth Century B.C.

Review:

«The present study opens a new path to the historian of Early Hellenistic art, a period in which dated sculptures are very rare. The starting point is a marble portrait in the Glyptothek of Copenhagen, which has been plausibly identified as Pyrrhos, King of Epeiros, who lived 319-272 B.C. To place this portrait in its art historical context, the author undertakes a survey of contemporary ruler portraits on coins, which are quite closely dated, and placed geographically as well. Up to now, this rich numismatic material has hardly been used in this way, for this kind of research. The author makes a thorough analysis of the style of well chosen examples of Early Hellenistic coinage, and thus adds tangible new information to our knowledge of Greek art in the period between 320 and 250 B.C.» (Herbert A. Cahn, University of Heidelberg)
«Through searching comparative analysis of both coins and sculpture, Professor Blanche Brown has again contributed materially and significantly to our understanding of style, and the chronology of style, in the Hellenistic period. Her clear separation of an early 'dramatic style' from the High Baroque of the second century B.C., and the conclusions that she then derives for the majestic portrait of Pyrrhos in Copenhagen, are particularly noteworthy, as is her use of the coins to provide contemporary visual landmarks where few others exist. Students of Hellenistic art will find continuing inspiration from the versatile scholarship and rich material that Professor Brown presents in 'Royal Portraits in Sculpture and Coins'.» (Arthur Houghton, Numismatist and Art Historian)

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