From Fragments to Classical Forms
Reconstructing Greek Bronzes and the Greek and Roman Trade in Art
The exhibition Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World will be on view in the West Building of the National Gallery of Art until March 20, 2016. The exhibition demonstrates how artists and artisans captured the dynamic realism, expression, and detail that characterized what we call ”Hellenistic.” This lecture will explain why many of the bronzes in Power and Pathos are incomplete and why so many ancient bronzes have disappeared. It will discuss several questions about the bronzes: What did the complete statues look like? What can we learn from the fragments we can recover? What were the sculptures used for? Were all the bronzes "decorative" statues or did some of them serve other functions? The lecture also will discuss the mass production of bronzes in the Hellenistic world and the ancient market for public and private statuary, and discuss its implications for the modern concept that Greek bronzes were “originals,” a notion derived from the few bronzes that have been recovered in modern times.
Carol C. Mattusch is the Mathy Professor of Art History in the Department of History and Art History at George Mason University. She has taught at GMU for almost four decades, specializing in Greek and Roman archaeology and art, and on the rediscovery of classical antiquity. She has also served for many years as a member of the Managing Committee for the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, and she currently serves on its Executive Committee. She served as academic advisor to the Power and Pathos exhibit of bronzes currently at the National Gallery of Art, and she wrote several entries in the catalogs for the exhibit.
Carol is the author of numerous books, including: The Villa dei Papiri at Herculaneum: Life and Afterlife of a Sculpture Collection; The Victorious Youth; Classical Bronzes: The Art and Craft of Greek and Roman Statuary; Greek Bronze Statuary: From the Beginnings through the Fifth Century BC; and Bronzeworkers in the Athenian Agora. She has authored chapters in The Handbook of Engineering and Technology in the Classical World; The Art of Antiquity: Piet de Jong and the Athenian Agora; and Greek Sculpture, Function, Materials and Techniques in the Archaic and Classical Periods. She also has written many scholarly articles.
Carol has received a variety of awards for her scholarly work and her books, including: The Charles Rufus Morey Book Award of the College Art Association and the James R. Wiseman Book Award of he Archaeological Institute of America. She is the recipient of the Paul Mellon Senior Fellowship and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation Paired Fellowship for Research in Conservation and Archaeology of the National Gallery of Art’s Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts.
Carol earned a BA at Bryn Mawr College and a PhD in Art History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.