Sperlonga Sculptures Analysis

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The Sperlonga sculptures are four sculptural groups that were discovered in 1957 in a grotto on the coast between Naples and Rome. The location is believed to have been a villa that belonged to the Roman Emperor Tiberius, and it is suggested that the grotto was used for social events. At some point the sculptures were shattered, likely by a rock fall , making their reconstruction a difficult process. It is unknown exactly when the sculptures were created, however, it is commonly accepted that Tiberius himself was responsible for their installation. While the date and origins of the Sperlonga sculptures are debated, they exemplify the style of late Hellenistic baroque. This point will be argued by comparing the Sperlonga sculptural groups to The Dying Gaul which is a commonly accepted example of late Hellenistic baroque.
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In Greek art, Scylla is typically depicted as a giant woman with long tentacles or a tail instead of legs. The monster’s most identifiable characteristic, however, are dog heads that sprout from her abdominal region. While a number of fragments from the ship, Scylla and the sailors have been identified "no fragments of the Skylla torso have as yet been recognised." This depiction of Odysseus’ battle with the monster is typically considered a demonstration of his virtus. At the back of the grotto is a sculpture depicting the blinding of the Cyclops Polyphemus by Odysseus and his comrades (See Figure 2.). This well-known myth presents Odysseus in a situation where he demonstrates calliditas. A relief found on a Catanian sarcophagus from the 3rd century AD (See Figure 3.), is typically considered a depiction of the Polyphemus group. The relief was used as a point of reference for the reconstruction of the sculpture. Despite this, only Polyphemus’ foot, leg and head, hand and arm have been able to be

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