The Face of Hephaestion: An Artistic Reconstruction

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Sweetmemory41
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The Face of Hephaestion: An Artistic Reconstruction

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Jeanne Reames
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Re: The Face of Hephaestion: An Artistic Reconstruction

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These reconstructions are kinda cool. Unfortunately, in this case, they picked a very dubious statue. It's the one in the Getty, which 1) is quite possibly a forgery, and 2) isn't named. It might be Hephaistion, or it might just be "some guy" (e.g., a heroized young man).

I wish we had more certain statues of him. The only named statue is the votive dedication found in Pella, "to the Hero Hephaistion." He's got a very different look there. But I have my doubts if that's really a likeness.

Both tombstones and dedicatory (and later sarcophagae) would be carved in advance, and had very stereotypical poses (depending on the era). The bereaved, or those who wished to make a dedication, would tour the workshop and pick one they liked. Sometimes the face was left unfinished, to be personalized on demand--but not always. Sometimes just the name was added.

Ergo, with a dedicatory statue, it might not be what Hephaistion actually looked like. *sigh*

I know the specialists tend to name the Prado Bronze Demetrios Poliorketes these days, but I don't quite see the resemblance to known statues of D.P., so I still cling to the possibility it's Hephaistion. Ha. I just wish we knew better where it came from. That would be a big clue.
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Sweetmemory41
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Re: The Face of Hephaestion: An Artistic Reconstruction

Post by Sweetmemory41 »

Thank you, Dr. Reames! It is sad that we don’t have a definite Hephaestion.

I am thinking about commissioning artistic reconstructions using artificial intelligence (AI) of all eight likenesses of Hephaestion that Andrew Chugg provides in his book titled ‘Alexander’s Lovers.’ This type of commission can get really pricey if you want a multidisciplinary team of experts, including historians, art historians, and machine learning experts, working on it. On the other hand, you can get something more reasonable if it is just an AI job.
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Jeanne Reames
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Re: The Face of Hephaestion: An Artistic Reconstruction

Post by Jeanne Reames »

There is a discussion of Hephaistion's likeness at the back of Andrew Stewart's Faces of Power, regarding the statues and which ones are likely to be authentic. It's been a while since I read it, but he's the leading expert art historian on ATG's image, imo, and familiar with the provenances, etc.

Overall, I am, by nature, skeptical of attributions unless they're labeled, or so familiar (from labeled versions) we have a model, as with ATG. Or Augustus, etc.

Hephaistion is just such an unknown, with only the one labeled case.

All that said, I will admit that I have wondered about the Prado Bronze in Madrid. It is largely considered to be Demetrios Poliorketes, and my friend and colleague, Pat Wheatley considers it so. Pat is probably the leading Demetrios scholar in the world. Even so, when I compare it to other Demetrios statues, I don't see that much similarity, myself. Just my opinion. If we knew more about the bronze's original provenance, that might help. But I still at least entertain the possibility that it's a Hephaistion, although I freely admit I'm in the minority.
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Alexias
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Re: The Face of Hephaestion: An Artistic Reconstruction

Post by Alexias »

I am currently reading Andrew Stewart's book. The heads were found in a scrapheap awaiting rendering into lime. The two heads could have come from the same group, but not necessarily and in my opinion, the Hephaestion head has only been labelled as such because it was found with a head that is almost certainly a youthful Alexander. I also think it is too bland to be a portrait and is more likely to be a generic ephebe.

Stewart says "The Getty (etc)... portraits suggest that each sculptor made up his own Hephaestion, to harmonize with his own particular conception of Alexander."

He also says that there was unlikely to be much demand for images of Hephaestion after his death, a good reason for the Prado bronze not to be Hephaestion as it has been dated to about 30 years after his death. The size also argues against it being Hephaestion, for who was likely to commission a 15 foot high bronze of him, and for what purpose?
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Re: The Face of Hephaestion: An Artistic Reconstruction

Post by Alexias »

PS The is a reconstruction of the face of Alexander. I can't remember if I have already posted this here or not.

https://www.worldhistory.org/image/1333 ... struction/
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