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Video transcript

[Music] we're in the Capitoline Museum looking at one of the most important sculptures the dying Gaul this sculpture I think is so interesting because of the deep humanity that the sculptor depicted this is a man at the moments just before his dad you can see how powerful he was but he's an how losing his strength he can barely hold himself up you can see that he's bleeding from a wound in his side a sword lays beside him broken two horns lay beside him he was a trumpeter and you can see the pain and agony clearly on his face it's fascinating because you have the beauty of the body but also its destruction it is impossible to stand in this gallery and not feel empathy we're in a gallery filled with gods and goddesses and other figures from classical antiquity but none of them display the depth of emotion that we see here in the dying Gaul now this was found here in Rome on the grounds of the Palazzo luda Vesey in the 17th century and it was found along with another sculpture that's also here in Rome but in a different museum and this is important because we believe that those sculptures were originally made to be shown together not here in Rome but in Pergamon close to the coast of what is now Turkey but what was then an important capital in the Hellenistic world we think that they were part of a unified monument with likely many other figures now these are Roman marble copies of what were bronze originals so let's untangle that a little bit sculptures in bronze were made for a monument in Pergamon that were seen as important enough to be copied in marble by the Romans they were lost in antiquity and then found in the 17th century and are now in two separate museums in Rome we believe these two sculptures formed part of a monument memorializing a victory of the Pergamon Kingdom over God but generally when we think of a military victory being memorialized in sculpture we think of the victors being shown triumphantly something that speaks clearly of their valor instead what we have here is a sympathy that a portrait of the defeated in fact we don't think that the victors were shown at all in this monument that it only focused on those who were defeated on the Gauls and this figure is easily identifiable as a Gaul because of his long hair the ring that he wears or torque around his neck and his mustache we've taken a taxi from the capital line museums over to the palazzo all tents which is another Museum in Rome the one that holds the other part of the sculptural group known as the loo - vici Gaul this is a difficult sculpture this is a dramatic image of a man who's killed his wife and is committing suicide himself we think that this might have been one of the chieftains who's killing himself rather than allowing him and his wife to be captured so this is difficult not only because of the gruesome subject matter the suicide and murder but also it's just over the top in so many ways it's what art historians sometimes refer to as the Hellenistic Baroque after the restraint of classical Greek are the Hellenistic becomes operatic it becomes dramatic and here we see sculptures that are pushing beyond the boundaries of their pedestal where we have limbs that are lifted there is a compositional freedom is absolutely new to Greek sculpture the figure of the Gaul clearly identifiable by his mustache by his thick wavy hair is striding forward into our space look at the way that his left arm runs down and visually connects with her left arm creating a serpentine line what's interesting is that as we stand in front of the sculpture in the direction of the figure is striding toward we can only see his face in profile if we want to see his face frontally we have to turn to the left so that we can no longer see the sword and then we can see his full face although only obliquely he seems to turn away from us in shame humiliated by his defeat seen separately the dying Gaul is so quiet and so full of human sympathy this is sculpture elicits a very different kind of reaction it's a kind of unrestrained drama I wonder if we would see the dying Gaul differently if these sculptures were still together [Music]