GREEK SCULPTURE -PRAXITELES AND LYSIPPUS
1. General points
Praxiteles = culmination of Attic classical sculpture. Son of Cephisodotus (sculptor of Peace and Wealth). Prax. flourished C350- 40 BC -evidence for slightly earlier work. Acc to Vitruvius (but not Pliny elder) he worked on the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus (dubious). Prax more successful in his work on medium of marble (Pliny elder) -rather unusual. Prax executed a number of very famous works -surviving evidence of Hellenistic Age shows influence of Prax -highly thought of by Pliny Elder, Lucian, Pausanias.
2. Satyr: -"He made the Satyr which the Greeks called the world famous." Acc to an anecdote, the artist's own favourite -along with an Eros. Copies survive (Capitoline Museum of Rome and the Louvre, Paris) -figure has weight heavily placed on tree stump - relaxation of body -S shaped curve. Difficult in some ways to believe that this statue is of a satyr. Rather dreamy and young satyr.
3. Apollo Sauroktonos- several copies -s shape curve in this statue also- languidity of relaxed pose -boyish figure -curve of the body more clearly accentuated than in the Hermes and Dionysus (almost girlish). The original bronze (?) showed a limp young Apollo leaning against a tree, about to spear(?) a lizard that is crawling up the trunk. Statue = in-joke(?). Apollo gained possession of Delphi by killing dragon/serpent (Pytho) - Prax parodies the whole theme -dragon -> lizard. Statue = v famous -> appearance on coins. Vertical support needed in both Ap Sau and Satyr -essential part of the design. The composition is different from that of Hermes and Dion. but the musculature and pose mark it as a product of the same hand. The body seems rather plump and the hair is treated differently from that of the Hermes, but these anomalies may be due to the copyist .The statue appears to have been made to be seen primarily fron the front.
4. Hermes & Dionysus -found in the temple of Hera in Olympia by German excavators in AD 1877- characteristic of this "sculptor of grace". Once accepted as original work of the master, but technical studies have thrown doubt on its authenticity and many scholars no longer believe it to be an original. Possibilities:
(2) Roman copy of marble original.
(3) Original of Hellenistic date -of Pergamene??
Front of statue = highly finished - but back lacks the completeness- several stages of polishing etc -but back of figure concealed in alcove. Unseemly strut from left flank to tree trunk. Treatment of child = poor (but superior to child Wealth in Cephisodotus' statue?) -this is general in the period. Although lack of care taken over child's face, Hermes' face = eminently accepted for 4th century. Hair and sandals - feature used as argument for post-4th century date. Also acc to some, counter-sunk fret not known before C200 BC. Also naturalism of the crumpled drapery -inconceivable in 4th century original? -too good for the period?! But "the carving has a strength and sensitivity rarely found in copies." The statue is generally well preserved -esp the head." The God is shown leaning on a tree trunk over which he has slung his cloak, holding the baby Dionysos in the crook of his left arm which is supported by the tree trunk (cf the Peace (Eirene) and Wealth (Ploutos) of Cephisodotus). His right arm is extended; he probably held a bunch of grapes, for which the baby wine god stretches out his chubby hand. The figure, with the flexed left leg and the out-thrust right hip, describes an S-curve, the so-called Praxitelean curve. Hermes' musculature is very softly treated: the various muscles and parts of the body flow into one another with four distinct divisions. A comparison with the sharply defined musculature of Polycleitus' Doryphoros reveals a strong contrast in treatment. The softness of the marble is apparent in the head, whose features appear to be almost veiled. The god stares out into space with a dreamy expression, not looking at the child. The hair, which is worked in tufts, contrasts with the heavy brow, straight nose, and thick lips, but the contrast is not at all jarring". In this statue "the gods have shed their Olympian grandeur and become soft and languid human beings. This almost effeminate figure is clearly far different from the gods of earlier Greek art." (cf the Zeus and Athena Parthenos of Pheidias).
5. Aphrodite of Knidos (or Cnidian Aphrodite) - most famous of Prax's works and probably the most popular statue in antiquity and perhaps the most difficult to appreciate. The Aphrodite was extravagantly praised for its beauty and survives in a great number of copies and representations in other media (eg coins). The copy in the Vatican is the best known. Unfortunately the coarseness of the copies and the changing standards of feminine beauty hinder our appreciation of Praxiteles' work. (NB "Greek Art, which from the start welcomed nakedness in men in any circum tances, was slow to admit it in women. It appears in occasional narrative scenes of the 5th century, where motivated by the action, but the nearest substantive statues get to it is the relation of form by blown or clinging drapery" (eg Venus Genetrix or Nike of Paionios) -but NB the figure of wounded Niobe perhaps from provincial pediment of 2nd half of 5th century ). The goddess is shown as if caught bathing. She does not lean, as do the Apollo and the Hermes, but strikes a rather complicated momentary pose. The broad planes of the body contrast with the drapery, as in the Hermes, but the overall sensuousness of the statue is lost on us. Creation of statue "to illustrate the feminine principle" - female counterpart to Hermes and Dionysus composition. This composition dictated by capture of particular moment -surprised washing, Aphrodite reaches one hand across her body and picks up her wrap with the other. 2 Aphrodites sculpted simultaneously -nude and draped figures - latter chosen by the people of Kos -former then sold to people of Knidos - prodigious market value of statue. Coin of Knidos makes pose clear. NB the knees close together, make an extraordinarily narrow point from which the thighs spread rapidly to the ample buttocks and hips, equally emphasised by the shrinking, stooping movement of the upper torso. Work essentially in single plane - meant to be seen from the front. Head = most influential feature. If not the first statue of a totally nude female, this is certainly the most famous. It started a seemingly endless line of nude Aphrodites in infinite variations of pose, which continue even today.
6. Other works of Prax -Petworth head = original Prax acc to some - extraordinary subtlety in facial carving. Aberdeen Head (Brit Mus) - also attributed to Prax -esp after comparison with the Hermes - Aberdeen Head = even more subtle treatment. Bronze statue from Bay of Marathon -in the act of pouring a libation.(drink offering to a god or gods) or pouring wine into a vessel held on his left palm. Sinuous S-curve and softness of the musculature inevitably recall Praxitelean work of 3rd quarter of 4th century. Facial features also Praxitelean.
7. General Points on Lysippos - of the Peloponnesian School - a native of Sicyon -not from family of sculptors - he was technician who worked in bronze foundry and became intrigued with artistic side of bronzes. 1500 statues of Lysippus acc to Pliny Elder - in some ways more of the Hellenistic than of the Classical Period. First sculptor to introduce true 3 dimensionality to sculpture with forms that are "open" and can be viewed from more
than one vantage point. One of his greatest innovations was his departure from the Polycleitan canon of proportions. Unfortunately, our knowledge of his works must depend on Roman copies that do not reproduce one the of qualities that made him famous - his treatment of surface and details. Lys became court- sculptor to Philip and Alexander of Macedonia.
8. Apoxymenos -youth scraping himself with a strigil -i n this piece Lysippos "codified the growing taste for long-limbed, small- headed figures in a new canon of ideal proportions". Marble copy of original bronze Apoxymenos exists in the Vatican - comparison with Polycleitus' Doryphoros clearly shows the change in proportions -Lys youth appears taller and thinner, with smaller head and longer legs than we find in the solid and close-knit Doryphorus. Apox. recalls the Polycleitan stance, but there's no alternation of tense and relaxed muscles in the body. The body is caught at a moment of overall action. The right arm is thrust out into space while the left crosses the body in front of the chest, thus partially obscuring it. This breaking of the frontal plane by the out thrust right arm is an important departure that foreshadows the more complete 3 - dimensional works of the Hellenistic period. Lysippos is quoted as saying that he portrayed men as they appeared to the eye, and the momentary quality of the Apox. shows this drive for even greater naturalism.
9. A marble statue of a Thessalian prince from a group dedicated by a certain Daochos at Delphi is generally taken to be a contemporary copy of a Lysippan bronze whose signed base was found in Thessaly. Distinguishing characteristics of Lysippan style known from Apox. are less evident here in this much more traditional statue of a victorious athlete (Agias) - though small head, expressive face and tentative turn of torso are characteristic -early work of Lys. ?? still dependent on the Polycleitan tradition.
10. Other Works - various versions of Heracles (numerous copies and variations). Portrait of Alexander the Great. Youth from Antikythera????
FOURTH CENTURY SCULPTURE
"In one way the sculpture of the fourth century was a logical extension of that of the fifth: stylistically, many of its characteristics were direct continuations of previous practice. A change is noted in the treatment of subjects however: sculptors moved way from the uniformity of High classical art to depict emotional states."
1. Funerary stelai -copious during C4 -sudden halt in 317 BC (known law passed).
(a) Stele of Dexileos -one of the young knights who fell at Corinth in 394 BC - it shows him riding down an enemy -the heads already have some of the softness and the expressiveness which mark one line of development in the C4. (cf Centaur and Lapith Scenes from Parthenon Metopes in the C5). NB the drapery billowing out at the back of Dexileos to convey sense of motion -cf Horsemen of the Parthenon Frieze -Convincing torsion in both figures.
(b) Stele of Timariste and Crito (From Rhodes -but Athenian sculptured style) -end of C5 or early C4 -mother and daughter? - marvellously sensitive study -subtle distinction between dress of two figures -Crito wearing archaic kore tunic -but contemporary drapery style (decorative, transparent etc) -(cf Stele of Hegeso (late C5) showing deceased seated in a chair with maid ( smaller scale) standing in front of her and holding jewel box- seated woman gazes at piece of jewellery taken from the box - decorative, slightly transparent, drapery reminds one of the Parthenon sculptures, as do the idealized heads and quiet poses. The attitude of sorrow is merely suggested by the composition - the mistress is linked to the presumably living maid by the object and tasks that linked them in life) -Timariste and Crito shows more obvious expression of grief - Cr. with head cast down towards right shoulder in centre of composition -T. comforts Cr. with her right arm around Cr.'s.
(c) Relief from the Ilissos River -"a nude youth leaning on a pillar gazes out of the scene toward the viewer, while an old man, his hand raised in a gesture of sorrow, gazes at him. At the man's feet is a dog. A child is seated on the stepped base of the pillar, apparently weeping. The central figure is separated almost completely from the old man, who is probably his father, and by looking out of the scene induces a sympathetic reaction in the viewer. The sorrow of the old man and the child and the presence of the dead man's favourite hunting dog lend poignance to the scene. The proportions of the central figure and the depth f relief place the sculpture within the second half of the century; it is usually dated about 340. By this time the figured scenea nd the architectural frame had become separate entities.
2. Cephisodotus- statue of Wealth (Plutos) in the arms of Peace (Eirene) -c 370. Copy of original (no proof that it was in bronze) in the Glyptothek, Munich. (Tendency towards the personfiication of abstract ideas in the late 5th Century). Drapery above all captures the eye -mother wearing peplos - girded at centre -cloth hanging over - very broad, matronly figure - voluminous drapery in marked contrast to clinging, transparent style of late 5th century. (Contrast with the sandal-binder -the figure from the Temple of Athene Nike parapet). "Return to reality". Outline of right thigh can be vaguely seen -but solidity and volume = important -cf Caryatids and reclining female figures on E pediment of Parthenon - changes have taken place in the treatment of drapery since the C5. "Although derived from the earlier style, the 4th century drapery falls in more complicated folds, which go in various directions as they naturally do on articulated bodies, and transparency is shown where it would naturally occur. This increased naturalism and the massive quality of the drapery is representative of 4th century. Eirene's head still shows a certain idealisation, but it is less stern than High Classical creations. "It is the relationship of the adult to the child, however, that shows that a new age is dawning. The inclination of Eirene's head as she looks at her burden and the reaction of the child, who tilts his head to gaze intently at her, indicates a relationship between the 2 which would be alien to most High Classical sculpture. Moreover an attempt has been made to treat the child as a child, not as a miniature adult (but not at all convincing?) Thus realism, though still tempered by the idealism of the previous period, becomes one of the hallmarks of 4th century sculpture."
3. Sculptures from the Temple of Asklepios at Epidauros (c380 BC). Acroteria from west end survive -2 Nereids riding side-saddle - facing Nike on highpoint of Temple -still in late 5th century style of drapery. A very distinctive drapery style (and different therefore from west end) is seen in figures from the east gable, a beautiful acroterion fragment (from east end) and a statue of Hygeia (the goddess of Health) - these associated with the name of the sculptor (from east end) Timotheos. Hygeia - drapery has innovation of great pools of shadow - through deep undercutting -departure from past practice.
4. Scopas of Poros -contemporary (? -perhaps working slightly earlier?) cf Praxiteles -his style is marked by contorted poses and strong emotions. "Apart from a few literary references that seem to indicate these elements of style among others in his repertoire, we are dependent on a rather thin thread of reasoning in assembling possible examples of his work."
(a) Temple of Athena Alea at Tegea -burnt down in 395/4 BC - completely rebuilt - Scopas = overseer of Architecture and sculpture. Heads from front pediment depicting Calydonian Boar Hunt great emotionalism - therefore to be connected with Scopas ? Heracles -with lion-skin cap (another similar head exhibits a sharply turned square shape and distinctive deep-set eyes with seemingly upward gaze). A bit of actual boar's head also discovered - traces of most remarkable quality - although, alas, these sculptures are much mutilated and weathered.
(b) Slabs 1013, 1014 and 1015 from the Frieze of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassos (now in the Brit Mus) -ascribed to Scopas traditionally -these sections from Amazonomachy. 1013- 3 basic figures -one = horse with lower part of rider - Amazon attacking male warrior furiously -shield of latter attempts to parry expected blow - horse rears up -away from the other 2 figures - male warrior in the centre -distinctive features of Scopas' style supposedly present in this warrior. 1014- dying Amazon on the right -calm expression -not too much pain. 4 figures altogether in the slab at various oblique angles -male warrior on left carries shield sunken into stone - recurrent motif. The almost naked Amazon (2nd from left) -wonderful figure -this does indeed powerfully recall Scopas' Maenad (see (C) -twisted torso etc. 1015- horse galloping (?) inwards -warrior making defence against Amazon -but he is still standing -(warrior in 1013 is down on one knee). Drapery of Amazon = rather interesting- it streams out behind her in 2 sections in the rough shape of X. These 3 slabs have also been attributed to Leochares (the other 2 sculptors we know as being employed on the Mausoleum = Timotheos (see [3) and Bryaxis). 1018 and 1020 have composition similar to other slabs, but with very striking muscular figures, lean and long (the new proportions) -these are perhaps the finest of all - and the knobby anatomy taken with the fiery spirit make an ascription to Scopas as designer attractive (acc tc M Robertson). 1022- "calligraphy of flying cloaks over the background is a marked feature of the design." (+1009) - attrib to Timotheos - connections with drapery of figures from Temple of Ask at Epidauros
(c) Statuette in Dresden (c 2' high) -recognisable copy of Maenad (= female follower of Dionysos/Bacchus -usually frenzied). Scopas did very famous statue of Maenad - prose description by Callistratos (C4 AD) and poem in the "Palatine Anthology" -these square with Dresden copy -similarity to heads from Tegea (upward gaze, Emotionalism etc) skilful executed twist in body-torsion in free-standing statues being developed by Scopas.
(d) Column drum from the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus (36 drums sculpted -Scopas credited with one of these by Pliny the Elder) -best preserved and best known drum (in the Brit Mus) with several figures including a woman (Persephone? Alcestis? Iphigenia?) between Thanatos (= Death personified) and Hermes (guide of souls to the underworld) -only the head of Thanatos, with its deep-set eyes and dreamy expression, can be said to show Scopas's influence in a very generalised way. (NB: Head of Hermes has been linked with Leochares in style).