Hellenistic sculpture

The Hellenistic period in Greece begins with the creation of the Macedonian empire by Alexander the Great, and continues with the mixed fortunes of the successor kingdoms, until the intrusion of Rome: broadly late 4th to 1st century B.C. New palatial patronage has its effect on sculpture and although the sculptors were mobile, some regional preferences or skills can perhaps be discerned. Important centres seem to be Athens, the Macedonian cities, Pergamon, Rhodes, Delos, Syria, and Alexandria. More ambitious architecture attracted major sculptural decoration, and the cult of personality encouraged real portraiture. The idealized realism of the 5th/4th centuries could perhaps go no further, and progress is to be looked for in more robust, sometimes impressionistic versions of the classical forms, often verging on the baroque; but the pure classical was still valued, especially by Romans, and was catered for by the production of copies of classical masterpieces by Greek sculptors and by some original work in the classical, sometimes even archaic, manner.

Some achievements of Hellenistic sculptors are mentioned and illustrated in others sections here (Architectural, Grave Monuments, Votive, Portraiture). The following pictures are chosen to give an idea of the new sculptural styles and their range of uses.