[picture from Free Image Finder]
Hephaistion, for those who do not know, was the lifetime companion of Alexander the Great. They were together since boyhood and Hephaistion fought alongside Alexander all through his eastern campaigns till his death in 324 BC. Since then and with the permission of the Egyptian oracle, Alexander had his friend worshipped as a hero.
Both life-sized heads are said to have been found in Megara (35 km west of Athens) as part of a funerary monument for some courtier who admired and probably worshipped Alexander. Altogether the Getty Museum possesses over thirty fragments of this group, probably a sacrificial scene that may have included besides Alexander and Hephaistion, a goddess, Heracles, a flute-player, as well as some animals and birds. The ensemble has been dated to 320 BC, meaning that it was made only three years after Alexander’s death in 323 BC. Striking that these are true Greek heads and no copies made by the Romans in later years.
Both heads have been re-carved in antiquity. Hephaistion probably once had a metal ribbon or diadem on his head, and his hair has been shortened. Maybe that is why his face looks so young. Alexander’s young idealized face is represented in the style which made Lysippos so famous, i.e. with deep-set upturned eyes and his typical anastolé.
How unique to have them both together – not only from the original statue but also together at the museum!