Visual Analysis

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Visual Analysis Paper
During the Hellenistic period Greek art experienced a transformation. Sculptors broke away from the previous representations of the human body and learned to use contrapposto, or counterpoise, to portray the people in a more natural way, revealing an individual’s character through the work. The Bronze Statuette of a Veiled and Masked Dance is a Hellenistic sculpture currently located at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It was made between the third and second century B.C. in Alexandria, Egypt, and displays the skill of an unknown sculptor who portrays a female citizen of his city. Artworks are always communicating something, and by using Dr. Terry Barrett’s method of analysis and interpretation one can deeply analyze and interpret this work of art for his or herself.

The subject matter of this sculpture is a woman caught in a moment of dramatic dance. Even though she is completely covered her body movements are clearly visible. Her right hip is thrusting to the side, foot pointing outward, while her arms sway forward and she throws a backward glance. She is finely draped from head to toe in a long, heavy looking dress and large veil that she directs with her arms. There is also a thin mask covering her face and lace detail on her slipper. It is made from bronze and stands 8 1/16th in. tall (20.57 cm). Although this work is small, it was created to be viewed in-the-round, so one can move their body through space, essentially dancing around the piece while their eyes curve around the dancer’s garments, led by the lines created through the folds of the fabric. Value is also established through depth in the bronze folds of the clothing.

This is a realistic representation of a female entertainer that was popular in ancient Alexandria. One may establish an idea from this piece about the roles and lifestyle of women within the culture of these people. Women in this society were captivating and worthy of being subjects in works of...
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