Art Of Hellenistic Period: The Old Market Woman

Ancient Greece was a remarkable, special place in the history of art through the ages. Ancient Greece influenced the modern western world through various arts, such as sculpturing, painting and architecture. Ancient Greece art holds a special place in the hearts of many in the history of art. This paper will mainly discuss Greek sculptures from the Hellenistic Period. One sculpture that I will mostly focus on is called The Old Market Women.

The Hellenistic Age was founded in 323 B.C.E. and concluded in 31 B.C.E The death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C. marks the beginning of the Hellenistic period. The Hellenistic art grew from the strong foundation of classical Greek art in 480-323BCE. Classical art usually focused on Greek gods, goddesses and religion. While Hellenistic artist tried to focus more on character of his subject, including themes such as old age. The Old Market women said to have been created by Julio-Claudian is a statue made from marble she stands at around 49 and 5/8 inches tall the statue is an old woman with a slight hunch that is missing both of her arms. One missing arm would be carrying her basket of chickens, fruits or vegetables She also wears a wreath of ivy on her head, sandals on her feet. This statue is representing an aged courtesan on her way to a festival of Dionysus, the god of wine. Her delicate sandals and the ample material in her thin, elaborately draped chiton are a far cry from the rough garb of a peasant woman. The ivy wreath on her head marks her association with Dionysus, and the basket of fruit and the two chickens must be dedicatory gifts to the god or simply her own provisions for a long day of celebration. Veneration of Dionysus was widespread during the Hellenistic period, and ancient literary descriptions give an idea of the extraordinary processions and festivals held in his honor. Dionysus was a relatively new god not accepted into the Olympian pantheon for quite some time.

I was intrigued by this sculpture while reading from the book Gardner's Art through the Ages: The details in this sculpture I believe is like no other It’s got a ton of damage to the face and arms and body and it’s still an impeccable piece of art work. From the details of the skin showing all her wrinkles and emotions. This is a piece of art that many can say she an old sad woman or a hard-working woman from the Hellenistic period or that she looks drunk. I believe it shows a hard-working woman from this period. I also believe this is a very controversial sculpture that has many different angles to portray. Today This sculpture can be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Works Cited

  • “Hellenistic Period.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 24 Sept. 2019,
  • “Dionysus.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 29 Sept. 2019,
  • Kleiner, Fred S. Gardner's Art Through the Ages: A Concise Global History, 2016 Print.
16 December 2021
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