Hellenistic art depicted a wide range of subject matters which ranges from images of gods and goddesses to representations of untraditional subjects like children, the elderly people and other common people. The “Bronze Statuette of a Veiled and Masked Dancer” falls under…
Alexandria, a Greek cosmopolitan city wherein dance and mime professions were prevalent during the ancient times1. The dancer is wearing a traditional Grecian dress called peplos with a woolen undergarment called chiton, and a cloak called himation2. Due to the pressure applied by her upper and lower limbs, the himation was drawn taut over her head and body causing the fabric to be draped in realistic folds and pleats imparting a feeling of softness and sheerness of fabrics, which also further enhanced the dancer’s figure which seems to be captured in an exotic and provocative pose. However, the face which was concealed in a veil seems to depict modesty with a hint of mystery. The contrasting emotions made the statuette unique and highly artsy.
The dancer’s laced slipper also denotes daintiness and further magnified the femininity of the dancer. In addition, the statuette’s dimensions further established its function as a decorative element or a figurine probably commissioned by a rich patron of the arts. Details of the patron or the one who commissioned the bronze statuette was not disclosed though, but the Greek affluent populace at the time were quite known to appreciate beauty and were quite eager to enhance their homes with luxurious items made of bronze and other expensive materials3.
In a comparison with a sculpture mentioned in Kleiner’s book, the “Peplos Kore” is an example of an Archaic style circa 530-525 B.C. and is made entirely of white marble with blue-grey streaks4. Like the Hellenistic bronze statuette, the material used is expensive. The sculpture also depicts a woman wearing the traditional Grecian dress called a peplos worn over a chiton, but without the himation as seen in the Hellenistic bronze statuette. The woman stands in the typical Archaic style of upright and frontal stance with the dress hanging in rigid and simple lines. The symmetrical patterning ...
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