While the classical period focused on idealized figures, Hellenistic artists explored a wider range of subjects — including the wounded and defeated, and the very young and very old. A new interest in drama and engaging the viewer also characterizes this period.

323 - 146 B.C.E.

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Bronze statue of Eros sleeping
Bronze statue of Eros sleeping

Cupid, chubby and quietly sleeping, is a common symbol today … but what did this sculpture mean to ancient Greeks?

Athanadoros, Hagesandros, and Polydoros of Rhodes, <em>Laocoön and his Sons</em>
Athanadoros, Hagesandros, and Polydoros of Rhodes, Laocoön and his Sons

The writhing agony of the Trojan Laocoon made this Hellenistic masterpiece famous throughout history.

<em>Alexander Mosaic</em> from the House of the Faun, Pompeii
Alexander Mosaic from the House of the Faun, Pompeii

Sources tell us that painting was the Greek’s finest art form: is this a hint at what we’re missing?

<em>Barberini Faun</em>
Barberini Faun

Part man, part goat, this companion of the god of wine relaxes after a night of drinking.

Apollonius, <em>Boxer at Rest</em> (or <em>The Seated Boxer</em>)
Apollonius, Boxer at Rest (or The Seated Boxer)

Look closely to see bloody wounds and a lifetime of scars on this defeated athlete.

The Pergamon Altar
The Pergamon Altar

Greek gods battle Giants for supremacy of the universe, so deeply carved that they almost step out into our world.

<em>Nike (Winged Victory) of Samothrace</em>
Nike (Winged Victory) of Samothrace

On the island of Samothrace, the wind whipped the clothing of this stone goddess of victory.

<em>Dying Gaul</em> and <em>Ludovisi Gaul</em>
Dying Gaul and Ludovisi Gaul

Pain is visible on the face of this dying warrior. Did the ancient Greeks sympathize with their defeated enemies?