TITLE: Head of a Grotesque
CULTURE: Greek, Hellenistic period.
PERIOD: c. 2nd - 1st century B.C.
DIMENSIONS: Height 4,5 cm
PROVENANCE: Old English collection, 1970.
CONDITIONS: Very fine quality. With original polychromies.
This piece is a beautiful example of a grotesque head from the Hellenistic Period.
In archaeology, the term "grotesque" designates an important class of objects, generally of small size and of ranging artistic quality, that exploit physical deformations and human maladies for the amusement of its viewers: ancient artisans did not always treat these afflictions and deformities in a realistic manner, but they inspired them to create an exaggerated, caricature-like effect. This style developed throughout Asia Minor (Smyrna) and in Egypt (Alexandria), but during the Hellenistic and Roman Periods, grotesques fascinated the entire Mediterranean.
Images of men, or more rare, of women and children, old men, dwarves, Africans, the obese or emaciated etc., the repertoire of "grotesques" is extremely varied. One can list a large number of figurines in terracotta and statuettes in bronze, but also from painting, reliefs, mosaics, etc.