As a specimen of the portrait-sculpture of the Hellenistic period I have selected the seated statue of Posidippus, an Athenian dramatist of the so-called New Comedy, who flourished in the early part of the third century. The preservation of the statue is extraordinary; there is nothing modern about it except the thumb of the left hand. It produces strongly the impression of being an original work and also of being a speaking likeness. It may have been modeled in the actual presence of the subject, but in that case the name on the front of the plinth was doubtless inscribed later, when the figure was removed from its pedestal and taken to Rome. Posidippus is clean-shaven, according to the fashion that came in about the time of Alexander. There is a companion statue of equal merit, which commonly goes by the name of Menander. The two men are strongly contrasted with one another by the sculptor in features, expression, and bodily carriage. Both statues show, as do many others of the period, how mistaken it would be to form our idea of the actual appearance of the Greeks from the purely ideal creations of Greek sculpture.
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