Tyche-Fortuna & St.
Hilary of Galeata The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or “The Met”, as it is commonly known, is a grand museum located in New York City, just along the east edge of Central Park. Housing over two million works of art, The Metropolitan Musueum of Art is considered as one of the biggest art museums in the world. Within its stately halls and vast rooms are some of the finest art pieces to be ever put on display, not just to be taken in as objects of pure aesthetic pleasure, but to also learn from the ways and culture of the respective times and places that they were borne of.
Being in the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a truly excellent way to learn of how artworks from different places share common themes as well as maintain a certain uniqueness that gives them their distinctive qualities.
A perfect case regarding this matter are the two pieces the “Marble Statue of Tyche-Fortuna restored with the portrait head of a woman,” and the “column statue of St.
Hilary of Galeata”.At first glance one would say that the two pieces of sculptures are very much different from each other. While one seems more realistic in terms of bodily proportion and features, the other is more of an exaggerated representation of a person, like a caricature.
But a harder look at both pieces would reveal the underlying themes that factor in a certain commonality between them; but first, let’s have a look at each sculpture individually.First is the “Marble Statue of Tyche-Fortuna restored with the Portrait head of a Woman ”. As the name implies, the statue is of the Greek goddess Tyche, Fortuna to the Romans: who was generally the goddess of luck, as it was believed that she was in charge of what is in store for a city in terms of fortune and prosperity. The goddess is showcased with a different head on its body, as it was customary in the dawn of the 18th century, to have the recently excavated sculptures restored in the Roman workshops to compensate for the damages suffered by the statue over time.
This sculpture of Tyche was most probably damaged in the head area, and hence it was replaced by a portrait head of a woman, one most probably recently unearthed as well. It was found out that the sculpture of the body of Tyche, dated at around the Roman imperial Period, was matched with the head which was almost from its time, dating as far back as the late Flavian or early Trajanic period.The identification of the body is not that difficult as the body carries the trademark items of Tyche’s which are the cornucopia she carries in her left arm to symbolize prosperity, as well as the rudder in her right arm that signifies her capacity to steer or control events that affect that which she presides over. The portrait of the woman, however, was unrecognizable except for the fact that her hair was fashioned in the arrangements of of late first century AD.
Perched on a marble base and elevated for onlookers to get a better view, the Marble Statue of Tyche-Fortuna restored with the Portrait head of a Woman is truly a sight to behold. A quick glance would even lead an onlooker to believe that no restorations or alterations were done to the original.The Marble Statue of Tyche-Fortuna restored with the Portrait head of a Woman is crafted of fine marble, which is a most suitable medium for depicting deities in an elegant manner. Her stature is that of pride and belongingness, commanding respect and yet still evoking a touch of gentleness.
The portraiture head’s blank face lends a stern outlook to the sculpture as a whole, as if Tyche was surveying her surroundings with a sense of quiet contentment,.Her elegant, light-looking robes flowing gracefully across her body. This solemn elegance is greatly complemented by the museum interiors and the sidelong lighting cast across her that brings out the details of the sculpture’s clothing.The Marble Column Statue of Saint Hilary of Galeata, on the other hand, is a conservative piece of the Italian Saint Hilary of Galeata.
It was once said that Hilary exorcised a wealthy noble of a demon that had been ragging him. Hilary was venerated by the man and was given lands and fortune in gratitude. The nobleman also had his whole family christened by Hilary, and eventually had two of his sons to follow in the footsteps of Hilary into Christianity. They had then founded the monastery of Galeata, and soon after, numerous other miracles were attributed to the Saint.
The Marble Column Statue of Saint Hilary of Galeata is a rather dramatic piece of sculpture that depicts the Saint Hilary of Galeata in a wide-eyed gazed transfixed into the distance, grasping a scroll containing scripture, clad in what seems to be thick robes. The portrayal of the saint in this piece is more of a dramatized representation of the beloved Saint, as it is obvious that the sculptor had not been going for anything closely related to realism or hyper-realism. Instead, the sculptor opted to inculcate the necessary features that would help personify Saint Hilary of Galeata. The simplicity of the Saint is also reflected in the manner of which he was sculpted.
Most probably working out of a pillar of marble, the sculptor worked to flesh out the well-known saint in a manner that followed the suit of the pillar, creating a restricted upright posture with very few features straying from the original vertical form of the block.As if to further reflect on the simple life led by many Saints much like Saint Hilary of Galeata, the overall effect of the Marble Column Statue of Saint Hilary of Galeata is that of straightforward simplicity, flaunting nothing of the extravagance or prestige of sainthood but rather the simple background that brings a person to such reverence.In comparison, it stands that the two sculptures are both of highly venerated figures, one of a goddess that presides among men, while the other is of a man who has risen up to a higher state of being, he idea being those who are of great import and respect are honored in a way that their image is sought to last longer than they do. This immortalization among men is one of the many reasons for visual art since time immemorial.
Another point of comparison is the inherent feeling solemness that shrouds the figures. Both upright and of natural marble tone, relying on detailing to breathe a sense of life into their stone wall facades. The intricate detailing on both pieces are brought to life by the tinge of light delicately washed over the figures from the sides to bring out the shadows in the light creases all over their clothing and accessories. The writings on the Marble Column Statue of Saint Hilary of Galeata’s parchment held in front of the Saint, the folds of his robe, and the deep set features of the face are of the same effect as that of the detailed garb of the goddess of luck as is her intricate hairdo and cornucopia.
The similarities mostly end there though, as the rest of the descriptions tend to branch out from there. On one hand we have the Marble Statue of Tyche-Fortuna Restored with the Portrait Head of a Woman, features of smooth marble, flowing clothing and an overall smooth, streamlined look, with long smooth lines dominating in the overall outcome This expresses elegance and a sort of ethereal feel or mood as often associated with gods, goddesses, and deities. The Marble Column Statue of Saint Hilary of Galeata however, seems rougher and more coarse, with restrictions to the actual sculpting that limited the figure into a tightly bound column, causing the figure to appear more “down to earth” and more “human”, as opposed to the prestigious personification of the goddess Tyche. Even the hues of marble denote a difference between that of a higher a being and that of a mere man despite his being venerated and revered.
In summary, the two pieces seem to be depicting two objects of different intent, albeit having the same basic premise of rendering a human body from marble. What is evident from the study of both figures however, is the manner of how they portray to different beings of the same appearance. The elegance and overall smooth qualities of a supernatural being as shown in human form, somehow manages to retain that elegance and ethereal quality by means of flowing lines and a smooth texture, while the elementary simplicity of man, despite being raised to a higher state of being, still shines through with the way he is immortalized with stiffer, heavier lines that give him a more “solid” feel, as well as a face that manages to express emotion despite being set in stone. It is here that we understand not only the beauty of both works, but also in the way man sees himself in relation to those he sacred or holy.;
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Tyche-Fortuna & St. Hilary of Galeata. (2017, Mar 13). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/tyche-fortuna-st-hilary-of-galeata/