Art

Portrait Statuette of the Greek Orator Demosthenes (Early Roman Copy of Bronze Portrait Statue)

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Portrait Statuette of the Greek Orator Demosthenes (Early Roman Copy of Bronze Portrait Statue), 100 BCE-100 CE
Sculpture
, Statuette
Graeco-Roman
,
1st century BCE-2nd century CE
Roman Imperial period
Creation Place: Europe, Ancient & Byzantine World
Leaded bronze
23.2 cm h x 8 cm w x 7 cm d (9 1/8 x 3 1/8 x 2 3/4 in.)
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of John W. Straus in honor of David Mitten
, 2007.221
Department of Ancient and Byzantine Art & Numismatics
,
Description
Solid bronze cast statuette of a standing male figure in a contrapposto stance with clasped hands. He wears sandals and a mantle draped over his left shoulder. His right shoulder is bare. This statuette is a small copy of an original by Polyeuktos.
Commentary
Re-View Exhibition, Spring 2008, gallery label information:

Statuette of Demosthenes
Roman copy of a 3rd-century BC Greek original, 100 BCE-100 CE
Bronze
Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of John W. Straus in honor of David Mitten, 2007.221

This remarkable statuette is a small-scale copy of a lost bronze statue that honored the Athenian orator and statesman Demosthenes. It illustrates a trend toward realism in Greek portraiture of the third century BC and offers a posthumous psychological interpretation of the eloquent but ill-fated champion of Athenian liberty against Macedonian dominance.
Provenance
Dr. Jacob Hirsch, Geneva, (by 1935), sold; to the Herbert N. Straus family, New York City, (by 1939). John W. Straus, (by 1997), gift; to Harvard University Art Museums, 2007.
Bibliography
"Chronique des fouilles et découvertes archéologiques dans l'Orient hellénique", Bulletin de Corresondance Hellenique (1924), Vol. 48, 446-515, p. 504-505, fig. 19.

Paul Arndt and Georg Lippold, ed., Griechische und römische Porträts, Verlaganstalt F. Bruckmann A.-G. (Munich, 1930), no. 1115-1116.

Ernst Buschor, Bildnisstuffen, Münchner Verlag (Munich, 1947), p. 176-79, fig. 79.

Ernst Buschor, Das Porträt: Bildniswege und Bildnisstufen in fünf Jahrtausenden, R. Piper (Munich, 1960), p. 117-19, fig. 81.

Margarete Bieber, The Sculpture of the Hellenistic Age, Columbia University Press (New York, NY, 1961), p. 67, figs. 226-29.

"Une nouvelle replique du Demosthene de Polyeuctos", Bulletin des Musées Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire, Bruxelles (1978), Vol. 50, 49-74, p. 66.

Flemming Johansen, "Demosthenes", Meddelelser fra Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (1992), Vol. 48, 60-81, p. 78, fig. 13.

Karl Schefold, Die Bildnisse der antiken Dichter, Redner und Denker, Schwabe & and Co. AG (Basel, 1997), fig. 101, caption p. 507 (mistakenly said to be in Brussels).

Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums Annual Report 2005-2006, (Cambridge, MA, 2007), p. 12 (as 2005.116).

Stephan Wolohojian, ed., Harvard Art Museum/Handbook, exh. cat., ed. Stephan Wolohojian (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2008)

Caroline Houser, "A New Introduction to a Portrait of Demosthenes", Teaching with Objects: The Curatorial Legacy of David Gordon Mitten, ed. Amy Brauer, Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2010), pp. 120-33

Exhibition History
Hellenistic Art: Objects from an Expanded World, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 10/03/2006 - 07/29/2007
Re-View: S422 Ancient & Byzantine Art & Numismatics, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 04/12/2008 - 06/18/2011