Galatian Suicide

Galatian Suicide
Galatian Suicide

This sculpture from the Hellenistic period of Greek art is paired with another contemporary work in the Museum of the Capitol in Rome: the dying Galata.

Both were made between 240 and 200 BC. Although what has come down to our days are not the originals. Actually, they are two later copies from Roman times, when they were carved in marble following the forms of the original sculptures that were made with a cast of bronze.

suicidal galata

Galatian Suicide

This sculpture primarily shows a brave soldier, extolling the bravery of the Celts who attacked the troops of Atalos I. And this one, to magnify the victory he won even more, had these sculptural groups made magnifying the value of those he defeated, something that serves him to turn his victory into something much more important.

The objective was undoubtedly political. That is to say, it is a sculpture that has a lot of propaganda for Attalus I, who wanted to gain prestige both for himself and his city, which was culturally opposed toAlexandria.

But in addition to the propagandistic tone, there is no doubt that the work has a very high artistic value. We see one of the leaders of the Celtic or Gallic troops, hence the Galatian. Who, seeing himself already defeated by the Greeks, defends his honor to the end, and is capable of committing suicide rather than surrender.humiliated his opponent. And not only that, but before killing himself, he has mercifully killed her wife, so that she does not fall prey or see him die.

In the woman we can see the wound he has made under her left arm, while he is about to plunge the dagger into her neck, where we can already see her blood come out. The woman collapses and opens her mouth exhaling an already agonized sigh, at the same time that her eyes are closing. And the man, before he dies, is still able to cast a challenging and defiant look at his enemies

In short, it is a most expressive and theatrical set, qualities that are typical ofHellenistic sculpture, as can be seen in other works from this period such as the famous Laocoon and his sons

On the other hand, it can be seen how its creator, whose name is unknown, has conceived the group in a clear pyramidal composition, based on a more than interesting set of triangles that form the arms, the knife and the legs, as well as the wife's own figure on the base.

This figure was surrounded by four other sculptural groups with as many Celtic chiefs. One of those would be the aforementioned Dying Galatians.

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