Von den Hoff, Ralf - Queyrel, François - Perrin-Saminadayar, Eric (dir.): Eikones. Portraits en contexte. Recherches nouvelles sur les portraits grecs du Ve au Ier s. av. J.-C., 352 p., ill., ISBN : 9788881675043, 45 €
(Osanna, 2016)
Reseña de Iphigeneia Leventi, University of Thessaly

Número de palabras : 2845 palabras
Publicado en línea el 2017-12-31
Citación: Reseñas HISTARA. Enlace: http://histara.sorbonne.fr/cr.php?cr=2989
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          This volume comprises the acts of an international colloquium on Greek portrait statuary from the 5th to the 1st century BC, held at the University of Freiburg in 2015. The colloquium and the accompanying book provide the first results of an interdisciplinary project inaugurated in 2013 by French and German archaeologists and ancient historians, entitled EIKON, “The life of Greek Portraits” (http://www.-anrdfg.eu.)  In their introduction to the present publication the two first editors present an overview of the study of Greek portraits from the 1970’s to the present day and they explain the scope of the project, giving in addition a summary of the contributions selected for this volume. The study of the Greek portrait analysed here takes into account a multitude of new facets in which the sociopolitical and anthropological perspectives constitute important factors. Thus, the locality, the material and the visibility of the portrait statue, its transformations, or re-contextualisation and reuse, and eventually its functions and modality are investigated. It is especially recognized that public portraits express the collective identity, and we can therefore speak of a portrait habit in a given cultural environment. Moreover, the current study of the Greek portrait also calls for the participation of architects, epigraphists and philologists.


         The first part of the book is devoted to the contributions on regional studies, two of them concerning finds from Asia Minor. Serdar Aybek and Yusuf Sezgin present an interim report on a group of marble statues from the late Hellenistic construction phase of the Bouleuterion of Aigai. Standing out among them is an over life-size cult statue of Hestia Bollaia found in the central part of the building along with its inscribed base. The statuary type is the same as that of a high Hellenistic headless statue in the British Museum. The representation of Hestia in a standing position is unique in freestanding sculpture, and its presence attests to the secondary use of the building as a Prytaneion. The other important find is a group of six honorific portrait statues of a family of local benefactors, erected on their inscribed bases lined in a row inside a niche in the north part of the public building. Of the male family members draped in chiton and mantle, only two statues and parts of the others are preserved. Two female portraits stood alongside them, only their heads being extant. All marble heads are flat or display a cavity at the back, which was completed with the piecing technique.


         C. Bruns-Özgan discusses the exedra of Symmachos inside the North stoa of Knidos as a possible Heroon for an ancestor cult in the Hadrianic period. An under life-size marble honorific statue of a youth named Theandros, dating from the first third of the 1st century BC and tentatively attributed to a Rhodian sculptural workshop was transferred and reused there. It was set up in the middle among later bronze portraits of members of the local aristocratic family of Symmachos. The marble statue may have thus portrayed a heroized ancestor of this family. A possible parallel is offered by the Heroon of the local benefactor Diodoros Pasparos at Pergamon.


         There follow three chapters on portraits from the Greek islands. H. Brun-Kyriakidis deals with the portrait statues that were set up in the Sarapeion C of Delos during the period when it flourished, namely the end of the 2nd and the early 1st centuries BC. This is also a preliminary report of a major study that is to follow, as the author explains. She thereby states the difficulty of discerning between statues of gods and portraits of mortals. Another problem is that for the most part only statue bases are preserved, and it is extremely difficult to match these with sculptural fragments. Among the better-preserved marbles is the well-known headless portrait statue of Diodora, which repeats the statuary type of the portrait of Kleopatra from her house in the Theater district. Information on statues erected in the sanctuary may also come from surviving inventories. Orthogonal bases with orthostats or rather monolithic bases set on a plinth are used in the Sarapeion C for portrait statues as is shown by case studies. In this sanctuary the limited space does not dictate the use of independent exedrai, and the portrait statues should be associated e.g. with the North yard and the area in front of the temple F of Sarapis. Although detecting the location and context of each portrait statue has been recognised as extremely important, only speculations about the areas with more or less statuary dedications can be put forth today.


         Vassiliki Machaira investigates the portrait statues from the island of Rhodes looking at them from two different perspectives, namely public versus private portraits and the potential identification of personal traits in extant portrait heads. The results are the following: the Rhodian portrait statues are found in cemeteries, in the sanctuaries of Lindos and Kamiros, as well as in public spaces of the city of Rhodes. They are life-size or slightly over life-size which is not consistent with the political power of the island, considering that we have over life-size portraits from the less significant nearby Kos. The reworking of portrait statues and the possibility of their having been manufactured in the Rhodian Peraia present the major obstacles in evaluating the extant material. Certain portrait statues originate from the excavations of private houses in the city of Rhodes, where the portraits of male and female house owners bear idealised personal traits. The public statues were probably in bronze and have not survived.


         The last case is that of a group of female portrait statues from the sanctuary of Artemis Polo on Thasos, studied by G. Biard and M. Imbs. According to the authors, three female portraits from this group were created by an Athenian workshop around 310-280 BC and were reinstalled inside the long stoa that was constructed in the sanctuary during the Augustan period. This building is here interpreted as the actual oikos of Artemis where all the votive offerings to the goddess were displayed, among them the three earlier female portraits as well as new honorific statues of women benefactors of the sanctuary, or even priestesses. However, the three statues in question, made of Pentelic marble, constitute a well-known case of disputed chronology and other scholars have already suggested their dating to the Late Hellenistic period, in which case they could be classicistic creations. The frontal composition and the lack of depth in their bodies and garments, as well as the stylistical affinity of the only preserved head with that of the priestess Aristonoe from Rhamnous, now definitely dating to the late Hellenistic period on epigraphical grounds, seem to support this view.


         This first section of the book is concluded with the presentation of another case of re-contextualisation of portraits, which is actually the subject of its second part and functions as a preamble to this. R. Krumeich takes up the story of the colossal statue of the Egyptian king Amenophis III, one of the two identical colossal statues of this king erected before the first Pylon of his death-temple in west Thebes. This statue was damaged and decapitated, and as a result a curious sound emanated from it at sunrise, thus causing the denomination of this colossus as a statue of Memnon who called to his mother Eos every morning. This strange phenomenon led to a pilgrimage from the late 1st century BC onwards, and especially from the period of the emperor Tiberius. People visited the statue of the mythical hero and even began to venerate it in the Hadrianic period, until the statue was eventually repaired in the 3rd century A.D. and the sound ceased. Ancient visitors left inscriptions in Greek and Latin referring to the acoustic phenomenon as hearing the voice of Memnon, although the Egyptian inscriptions on the side and the relief figures around the statue’s legs clearly revealed his identity as the Egyptian Pharaoh. According to the author, this case is comparable to the reuse and renaming of earlier portrait statues as a new honorific practice in the Greek world beginning in the mid-2nd century BC.   


         Transformation and re-contextualisation is the subject of the second part of the book. J. Griesbach investigates the removement of Hellenistic portraits in space and its varied motivation, studying specific cases in mainland Greece, the Aegean islands and Asia Minor. We encounter a spectacular case in the Agora of Priene with the re-setting of honorific statues along the processional way between the altar in the center of the civic place and the sanctuary of Athena Polias overlooking the Agora. This occurred in the late Hellenistic period as an act of public memory annihilating differences in social status, and the author sees in this dedicatory practice a kind of reconciliation between the aristocratic self-representation and a more democratic aspiration. Statues of Roman generals and officials portrayed on horseback were aligned to the south of the Altis wall in Olympia, standing on reused bases which once supported portraits of Hellenistic kings. Here the author suggests that the central statue was that of a personification of Roma, the whole arrangement pointing to the succession of power in the Panhellenic sanctuary. Griesbach’s final interesting discussion concerns classical portrait statues in the Prytaneion of the Athenian Agora, the Dionysos Theater and the Acropolis that had been renamed and reused especially after 80 BC, whereas the original statues and their accompanying inscriptions remained intact. This practice covered financial needs while the honor functioned in a double direction.


         M. Szewczyk presents two different case studies, both from Greek sanctuaries. First, a Hellenistic honorific statue of a veiled man possibly holding a priestly office that was equipped in the Augustan period with a new veiled portrait head and calcei patricii as shoes, in order to represent a Roman official. This is tentatively identified as Manius Valerius Messala Potitus, who served as a consul and proconsul of the Roman province Asia and was erected in the sanctuary of the Mother of Gods in Magnesia at Sipylon. The second is the well-known statue of Roma that was found in her temple inside the Foundation of the Establishment of the Poseidoniasts of Berytos on Delos. The writer suggests that the statue of the personification of Roma was originally a female portrait statue of a kanephoros drawing on the popular during the Hellenistic period type of Pudicitia, dating to the second half of the 2nd century BC. It was possibly damaged during the destruction of the island in 88/87 BC. It was then transferred to the building and was transformed by replacing the now missing head of the statue and altering the position of the right arm in order to hold a scepter or a spear. It was then mounted on a reused base signed by the Athenian sculptor Menandros, son of Melas. The question in this case is how the writer can imagine a late Hellenistic kanephoros statue of which no extant example is known. On the other hand, his comparison with the statue of the priestess Nikeso from Priene, whom he suggests that according to a scholarly opinion was portrayed supporting a hydria on her head with her raised right arm is not so apt. This female portrait would rather have been holding a scepter or a large torch as is attested by the remnants of a hole on the right upper part of its base.


         The two following contributions refer to Ptolemaic dynastic portraits. M. Kovacs deals with the reuse of Ptolemaic portraits, thereby tracing the phenomenon of multiple reworking, and setting as a central example the portrait heads of a Ptolemaic king and a queen, both from Alexandreia but nowadays found in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. The interpretation that the author follows in similar instances is that the change of the facial characteristics does not constitute a case of the damnatio memoriae of an earlier Ptolemaic king, but instead strives to underline the continuation of the dynasty and kingship. Thus, the Ptolemaic royal power is constantly renewed, even if the king as an individual is replaced by another. B. Bourgeois on the other hand provides an article with marvellous photos, in which she studies the technical aspects of a marble portrait of the Ptolemaic queen Berenice II in Mariemont, verifying a sequence of decorative stages: paint, gilt and clearance with wax, that successively changed the appearance of the color of the hair and face of the royal portrait.


         The two successive chapters are devoted to the study of portraits of victorious Greek athletes by famous Greek sculptors, taking however different approaches to the subject. F. Klauser studies the statuary base of the portrait statue of the pentathlon athlete Pythokles by Polykleitos of Argos, erected in Olympia. Its accompanying inscription with the name of the famous 5th century sculptor, as well as the bronze statue itself were both replaced by the Eleians in the late Hellenistic period, after the original statue had been transferred to Rome. On the other hand, the second life of the original portrait statue in Rome involves a change of function: from a public offering in a Greek sanctuary first to an ornamentum urbis in the Roman Forum during the Republican period, then to a private opus nobile decorating the Nero’s domus aurea, and ultimately displaying the virtus of the emperor in Vespasian’s Templum Pacis in the time of the Flavians. É. Prioux launches on a study of new epigrams on works of art by the 3rd century BC poet Posidippos of Pella, who undertakes a comparison of the style of Lysippos with that of his teacher Myron and the slightly later sculptor Kresilas. Both these 5th century BC sculptors with the audacious and instable postures of their statues seek to represent the decisive moment in their statues, thus prefiguring the statuary repertory of Lysippos. Furthermore, the epigram of this poet concerning the personification of Kairos (the precise moment) by Lysippos reflects this concept. The author finally uses this epigram as an argument for attributing to Posidippos also another epigram on a portrait statue of an Olympic victor, the runner Ladas by Myron. She detects an echo of this 5th century BC bronze statue in the late Hellenistic to Early Imperial Smyrna runner.


         Last, but not least, M. Cadario focuses on the fringed cloak as a military garment expressing the Roman identity in the late Republican period, and possibly introduced in a Greek workshop on the island of Delos. Being popular through to the Augustan period and identified as the lacerna of the Latin sources, it then disappeared from the Roman statuary repertory until the second half of the 1st century AD. The author elaborates a suggestion already made by J. Marcadé and investigates thoroughly the appropriation of the Greek portrait repertory by the Roman élites.  He argues that the ethnically differentiated distinction between the civil garments, the Roman toga and the Greek himation, is further recognisable in the military drapery, namely the Greek cloak and the Roman lacerna.


         This book as a whole presents a highly original and prolific study of the Greek portraits, which are here examined from various perspectives, also providing an overview of these sculptural products in the specified time span and in various parts of the Greek world and its outskirts that includes many unpublished or revisited monuments.   





I Études Régionales


S. Aybek and Y. Sezgin. A group of Portrait Statues from the Bouleuterion of Aigai:  A Preliminary Report (p. 17-43).

C. Bruns – Özgan, Die Exedra des Symmachos in Knidos. Ein Heroon für den Ahnenkult?  (p. 45-63)

H. Brun-Kyriakidis, L’exposition des statues-portraits dans le Sarapieion C de Délos (p. 65 – 87)

V. Machaira, Portrait privé – Portrait officiel.  À la recherche des traits individualisés sur les sculptures hellénistiques de Rhodes trouvées en contexte (p. 89-104)

G. Biard and M. Imbs, Trois statues honorifiques féminines en remploi à l’Artémision de Thasos (p. 105-123)

R. Krumeich, Pharao und Sohn der Morgenröte.  Zur Biographie des “Memnonkolosses” im Hundertorigen Theben (p. 125-146)


II Transformations et Recontextualisations


J. Griesbach, Weschselnde Standorte: Griechische Porträtstatuen und die Neu-konfiguration von Erinnerungsräume (p. 149-184)

M. Szewczyk, Transformation de statues-portraits. En contexte de sanctuaire à l’époque hellénistique : un cas d’école et une hypothèse (p. 185-203).

M. Kovacs, Umarbeiten als “kulturelles Schicksal”. Zu Sinn und Funktion von Umarbeitungen und Umwidmungen ptolemäischer Herrscherporträts (p. 205-230)

B. Bourgeois, Les vies d’une reine. À propos des remaniements antiques de polychromie sur le portrait de Bérénice II à Mariemont (p. 231-248)

F. Klauser, Das Siegerstandbild des Elischen Fünfkämpfers Pythokles im Wandel der Zeit. Ein Neubewertung (p. 249-269)

É. Prioux, L’épigramme sur le portrait de Ladas par Myron : Un vestige oublié des théories de Posidippe ? (p. 271-294)

M. Cadario, Reception and Transformation of the Greek Repertory in Roman Late- Republican Portraits: The Role of the Fringed Cloak in the Military Image (p. 295-315)