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With his ‘ Vitruvian man’, Da Vinci explored the ideal proportions of the human body. Photoshop is used to create idealised, ‘perfect’ images in mass-media. Polykleitos, a Greek sculptor (c. 450-440 B.C.E.) also wanted to investigate these ideal proportions with his Doryphoros (Spear Bearer) or Canon.
writing in the 2nd century AD. and of the forearm to the upper arm. and of these to the forearm. but of the parts. of finger to finger. and of all the other parts to each other. . – Galen. that is to say. and of all the fingers to the palm and the wrist. summarising Polykleitos’s idea of relating beauty to ratio.Greek statuary: from Archaic to Early & High Classical Beauty consists in the proportions. not of the elements.
the Greeks broke out of their isolation and once again began to trade with cities both in the east and the west (including Egypt). Perfection.8th century BCE: the poleis of Classical Greece began to take shape. The Archaic smile indicates life. Homer ’s epic poems were recorded in written form. Archaic period Monumental statuary returns. Balance.BIG PICTURE Starting point . influence of Egypt still noticeable. the Olympic Games were established. Not naturalistic. not humour. Counter-balance. 480 BCE Classical period begins Early. . High (Late) Monumental statuary is more naturalistic and seeks to find the ideal depiction of motion. Proportion.
ears on the side (carved from a block of marble according to Egyptian technique. eyes. triangular shape of head & hair. New York. 6’ tall. nose. Greek innovation: the figure is liberated from the marble block. left foot slightly advanced. Known as the ‘New York Kouros’. but in finding ways to realistically depict motion. arms held beside the body. . Metropolitan Museum of Art.Archaic Funerary statue. ca. The artist was not interested in timeless permanence. 600 bce. thumbs forward. Egyptian influence: rigidly frontal. hips are V-shaped ridges. “New York Kouros”. ca. mouth in the front of the face. fists clenched. Marble.
Marble. Greece. By adopting this convention. as any respectable citizen would be in this context. Its inscribed base (not visible in the photograph) states that a man named Rhonbos dedicated the statue to Athena. The man smiles. the Greek artist signaled a very different intention to any Egyptian counterpart. The calf bearer ’s face differs a lot from those of earlier Greek statues (and those of Egypt) in one notable way. This so-called Archaic smile seems to be the Archaic sculptor ’s way of indicating that the person portrayed is alive. ca.) Archaic love of pattern is seen in the way man and animal are represented together. Athens. Left foot advanced. most probably the calf bearer himself. while also indicating that this mature gentleman is clothed. Calf bearer. attributing to the calf bearer the noble perfection that nudity suggests.Archaic Votive statue: the Calf bearer or moschophoros (found in fragments on the Athenian Acropolis). Archaic Greek statues always smile. . even in the most inappropriate contexts (when dying for example). but he has a beard (not a young man). 560 BCE. The calf ’s legs and the calf bearer ’s arms form a definite X that unites the two bodies both physically and formally. The figure wears a thin cloak but is otherwise nude. From this time on. (The sculptor adhered to the artistic convention of male nudity. or at least seems to. Acropolis Museum. Athens. dedicated by Rhonbos on the Acropolis.
National Archaeological Museum. ca. The hair falls naturally over the back. the face is more rounded. Rounded hips replace the V-shaped ridges of the New York Kouros. 530 BCE. Without rejecting the Egyptian stance. Anavysos Kouros. Originally. Athens . Marble. funerary statue for a young man who died in battle in ca 530 BCE. sclupture was painted. Archaic smile.Archaic The Anavysos Kouros. with swelling cheeks replacing the flat planes of the earlier New York Kouros. the artist has tried to render the human body in a more naturalistic manner: the head is not too large for the body.
This fallen. Greece. Marble. Aegina. Glyptothek. The statues of the west pediment of the early-fifth-century BCE temple at Aegina exhibit Archaic features.The Archaic smile Dying warrior. 490 BCE. Munich. . from the west pediment of the Temple of Aphaia. ca. dying warrior still has an Archaic smile on his face.
the Greeks won a decisive naval victory over the Persians at Salamis. Shortly after the Persians occupied and sacked Athens in 480 BCE . . Early Classical sculptors were also the first to break away from the rigid and unnatural Egyptian-inspired pose of the Archaic kouroi.From Archaic to the Early Classical Art historians mark the beginning of the Classical Greek age from a historical event: the defeat in 480 BCE of the Persian invaders of Greece by the allied Hellenic city-states.
Kritios Boy. . which art historians describe as contrapposto (counterbalance). When humans move. c. 480 BCE. The Archaic smile is gone. this marble statue known as the Kritios Boy (so titled because it was once thought the sculptor Kritios carved it) is one of the most important works of Greek sculpture: it is the first statue to show how a person naturally stands. Real people do not stand in the stiff-legged pose of the kouroi and korai or their Egyptian predecessors. smooth motion of all its elements. at ease. Humans shift their weight and the position of the main body parts around the vertical but flexible axis of the spine. indicating the shifting of weight onto his left leg. The head also turns slightly to the right and tilts. Marble. The youth has a slight dip to the right hip.From Archaic to Early & High Classical (1 of 3) Even though it is not life-size. The sculptor of the Kritios Boy was among the first to understand this fact and to represent it in statuary. His right leg is bent. The sculptor depicted the shifting of weight from one leg to the other (contrapposto). the body ’s elastic musculoskeletal structure dictates a harmonious. separates Classical from Archaic Greek statuary. breaking the unwritten rule of frontality dictating the form of almost all earlier statues. Greece. Athens. from the Acropolis. This weight shift. Athens. Acropolis Museum.
. The warrior ’s head turns more forcefully to the right. and his arms have been freed from the body. they had to undergo several years of cleaning and restoration after nearly two millennia of submersion in salt water. Known as the Riace Bronzes. Bronze. and helmet. his hips swing more markedly.From Archaic to Early & High Classical (2 of 3) The Riace Bronzes: the innovations of the Kritios Boy were carried even further in the bronze statue of a warrior found in the sea near Riace at the “toe” of the Italian “boot. Reggio Calabria. silver teeth and eyelashes. and copper lips & nipples.” The weight shift (contrapposto) is more pronounced (noticeable) than in the Kritios Boy. Natural motion in space has replaced Archaic frontality and rigidity. from the sea off Riace. Italy. c. but they are nearly intact. This is one of a pair of statues divers accidentally discovered in the cargo of a ship that sank in antiquity on its way from Greece probably to Rome. spear. Museo Archeologico Nazionale. where Greek sculpture was much admired. It is a masterpiece of ‘hollow-casting ’ with inlaid eyes. his shoulders tilt. Warrior. 460–450 BCE. The statue shown here lacks only its shield.
The pose could be employed equally well for a javelin thrower. which. . probably a thunderbolt. and the right heel is raised off the ground. Athens. ca.From Archaic to Early & High Classical (3 of 3) The Artemision Zeus: the male human form in motion is the subject of another Early Classical bronze statue . divers found in an ancient shipwreck. Greece. A less likely suggestion is that this is Poseidon with his trident. 460–450 BCE. in which case he is Zeus. emphasising the lightness and stability of the statue. Both arms are boldly extended. National Archaeological Museum. like the Riace warrior. Bronze. Who is it? The bearded god once hurled a weapon held in his right hand. Zeus (or Poseidon?). from the sea off Cape Artemision. this time off the coast of Greece itself at Cape Artemision.
Naples. listen and then answer the question: What did ‘perfection’ mean for the Ancient (Early & High Classical) Greeks? Mathematical precision in the proportions of the human body. and to the whole. Doryphoros (Spear Bearer).html https://www. after a bronze original of ca.com/watch?feature=player_embedded& v=EAR9RAMg9NY&noredirect=1 Watch. Museo Archeologico Nazionale. harmony through ratio. Polykleitos sought to portray the perfect man and to impose order on human movement.org/classical-greek. mathematical relationship of each part of the body to each other. Italy. 450– 440 bce. He achieved his goals by employing harmonic proportions and a system of cross balance for all parts of the body.khanacademy. http://smarthistory.youtube.Polykleitos. . Roman marble copy from Pompeii.
‘Spear Bearer ’ is a modern descriptive title for the statue. If read anatomically. The contrapposto is more pronounced than ever before in a standing statue. the head turns to the right while the hips twist slightly to the left. The best marble replica stood in a palaestra at Pompeii. the tensed and relaxed limbs may be seen to oppose each other diagonally—the right arm and the left leg are relaxed. and the resulting harmony of opposites are the essence of the Polykleitan style. the figure does not move. Note. the result of an extremely complex and subtle organization of the figure’s various parts. however. where it served as a model for Roman athletes. The Doryphoros is the culmination of the evolution in Greek statuary from the Archaic kouros to the Kritios Boy to the Riace warrior. He achieved this through a system of cross balance. in fact. This dynamic asymmetrical balance. What appears at first to be a casually natural pose is. and the tensed supporting leg opposes the flexed arm. which held a spear. The Doryphoros was the embodiment of Polykleitos’s vision of the ideal statue of a nude male athlete or warrior. to make it “beautiful. The name Polykleitos assigned to it was Canon. In fact. for instance. the sculptor made it as a demonstration piece to accompany a treatise on the subject.The Doryphoros by Polykleitos One of the most frequently copied Greek statues was the Doryphoros (Spear Bearer) by the sculptor Polykleitos. but Polykleitos was not content with simply rendering a figure that stood naturally. And although the Doryphoros seems to take a step forward. Similarly.” to “perfect ” it. providing the figure’s right side with the columnar stability needed to anchor the left side’s dynamically flexed limbs. . whose work epitomizes the intellectual rigour of Classical Greek art. how the statue’s straight-hanging arm echoes the rigid supporting leg. this motion while at rest. His aim was to impose order on human movement.
ancient-greece.net http://www.org/resources/timeline.html .essential-humanities.org http://www.khanacademy.Sources and extra information: Gardner ’s Art through the Ages http://smarthistory.
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