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Portrait of a Pergamene Prince / The Hellenistic Ruler

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Historic description:

This magnificent second century BC bronze statue is known as ‘The Hellenistic Prince’ or ‘Hellenistic Ruler’, housed at The Terme Museum. The suclpture has amassed a considerably extensive bibliography, partly because so masterly a creation deserves all possible study and comment, but even more because the portrait face has set the modern world wondering upon the her’s name.

He has been called Philip V of Macedon, Perseus, Alexander Balas, and more vaguely, a hero, a Roman General, perhaps Agrippa; and the statue’s date in consequence has ranged through three centuries.

There has been a very prevalent tendency to connect the body type and the theme with the lost “Alexander with the Lance” of Lysippos. The attractions of this hypothesis are evident. But neither the treatment of the nude nor the details of the pose are Lysippan; and this constitutes a serious objection.

If we are to form our opinion of the Lysippan style from such copies as the Vatican Apoxyomenos, the Ludovisi Seated Ares, the “Sandalbinder”, or even the Agias, we shall have to infer that Lyippos has transcended the fifth-century tradition of grooving the contours of the main muscular divisions of the torso, and employed a more naturalistic running surface for the nude.

The work is influenced by the 4th century BC sculpture of Alexander by Lysippus and is one of the very rare examples of bronze Hellenistic sculpture. The original statue was cast by the lost-wax technique and the figure holds a spear in his right hand.

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