I promised myself that after the season finale of HBO’s “Rome” I would go to the Getty Villa to see if I could match historical busts to the characters in the show. Unfortunately, the pickings were pretty slim. I found a coin featuring Marc Antony and a tiny wax stamp of Octavian. The biggest score was a bust of Octavia Minor, but aside from being predictably less fetching than actress Kerry Condon, her nose was broken off. She didn’t seem like a good candidate for a sketch.
Howerever, not too far away from the Roman antiquities I discovered these incredible pieces.
Their design seems so modern because antiquities of this period influenced so much modern art, graphic design, illustration, and animation. It isn’t surprising to learn that a large amount of Cycladic art (primitive art from the Cyclades Islands in Greece) was pillaged in the 1950s and 1960s. The stuff looks like it was based on 60s wallpaper.
These drawings aren’t at all stylized. This figure had no face and those cute little ears.
This guy is beautiful. He’s playing a harp. His head is longer front-to-back than it is tall, and has no features other than that great nose. All those mod curves and streamine forms look like they were designed to be molded in plastic instead of ground from marble 3000 years ago.