Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World

By Nicoleta Nichifor and Raj Sanghvi, NYU Florence students

From now until the 21st of June, Palazzo Strozzi will host two exhibitions under one roof. These two exhibitions are a wonderful opportunity to learn about and admire both bronze sculptures from the ancient world and contemporary sculptures.

 

The first and the main exhibition, Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World, will share the story of artistic and technological development in the Mediterranean basin through masterpieces of bronze sculpture.
A project done in conjunction with the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the Tuscan directorate general for archaeology, this exhibition will depict the incredible journey of the use of bronze in the Hellenistic world. The exhibit includes pieces from the world’s leading archaeological museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Uffizi, the Louvre and the Vatican. The contemporary art exhibition in conjunction with the main exhibition serves to tackle the idea of connectivity between ancient and contemporary art.

The introduction of bronze in artwork helped artists to add dynamic characteristics to their sculptures. This dynamism is reflected in the quality, expression, and style of the pieces on display at the exhibit. Visitors will also learn about the fascinating archaeological process that led to the discovery of many of these bronze masterpieces and about their importance and position in the ancient world.

In the same building, another exhibition — called “Sculptures Also Die” — will feature the works of prominent modern artists from around the world who are examining the transformation of sculpture in the contexts of time and ephemerality. Despite the inevitable modern evolution of sculpture, the rediscovery of materials such as bronze, when presented as a means to analyze that evolution, can help us create a dialogue between past and future. Works will be displayed from artists like Francesco Arena, Nina Beier, Katinka Bock, Dario D’Aronco and more. This exhibition is not one to miss as we explore the critical relationship between contemporary art in Florence and ancient art in the Hellenistic world.