LYSIPPAN HEAD OF A YOUNG SELEUCID PRINCE

greek-hellenistic-seleucid-prince-merrin

 

LYSIPPAN HEAD OF A YOUNG SELEUCID PRINCE

Greek (Hellenistic) c. 3rd–2nd century BC
Material: Marble
Height: 6.6 inches (16.7 cm)
Restoration: None
Provenance: French private collection, acquired early 1980’s from Galerie de Serres, Paris, France
Private collection, early 1980s, from Galerie de Serres, Paris, France.
Public auction on 26 May 2011, Pierre Bergé Associés, Paris, lot 337A.
French cultural certificate #129535, 11/07/2011.

 

This exquisite head of a young man, identified as a Seulecid prince, exemplifies the style of the Hellenistic period. Sculptors of this time work in a manner that might almost be called “painterly”, as the clumps of hair suggest windswept or tousled locks as much as brushstrokes. Realism and idealism are combined.

Note how his attentive gaze and slightly parted lips breathe life into the young man’s expression. Yet the visage is one of pure beauty and perfection.

Lysippos was one of the three major sculptors of the classical period: 4th century BC. (The others were Praxiteles and Scopas.) The personal sculptor to Alexander the Great, he worked in bronze and marble. Lysippos’ style remained a source of inspiration during the later Hellenistic period.

The Seulecid Empire was a Greek Macedonian state created from the eastern conquests of Alexander the Great. It remained a center of Hellenistic culture due to the presence of the ruling Greek elite in the urban centers and the continued emigration of Greek people. It was absorbed by the Parthians in the 2nd century BC and eventually conquered by Rome.