GREEK SCULPTURE - 5TH CENTURY BC
1. "Critian Boy " (or "Kritios Boy ") - c 490-480 BC
- head probably , fits body - join not perfect - a certain amount of trimming done in antiquity. "The last of the Kouroi". Head turned to right - hips and legs responding to the fact that he is walking. Waist to neck frontal, rigid torso - "in a strait-jacket". (Remember to compare "'Strangford Apollo" (c 500 BC - Brit Mus). "Despite the loss of both feet and one lower leg, it is evident that the even rigidity of the archaic kouros has been altered to a new imbalance by setting one foot firmly on the ground and raising the other upon its toes. In response to the uneven load, one leg is relaxed and its knee bent, while the othe remains taut. This differentiation between tense and relaxed support is necessarily transmitted to the torso. Under pressure of the uneven strain, the hips are no longer level; the buttocks and inguinal boundary and heavy hip muscles are no longer shown as symmetrical mirror images, left and right, but are distinguished for muscular tension and release. In the accepted terminology, "weight leg" and "free leg" have been introduced; but this vitalizing change in pose does not yet extend above the waist level to produce axial asymmetry in the torso" (R Carpenter - "Greek Sculpture" - on the "Kritios Boy"). NB expression of his face - archaic smile???
2. Harmodius and Aristogeiton (the 2 "tyrannicides" or "tyrant-slayers").
Harm. and Ar. killed Hipparchus, brother of the tyrant in Athens, Hippias, in 514 BC. Athenians commissioned statues of these 2 heroes - 2 isolated bronzes - standing side by side, erected together in 508/7 BC by Antenor - carried off by Persian invaders. Second set in 477 BC by Critios and Nesiotes (the sculptors) as replacements. Nothing remains of 1st group and only Roman copies in marble of 2nd group. 1st successful rendering of violent action. Public monument with much meaning for the Athenians. The 2 figures formed v shape. NB: sword drawn frorn sheath; cloak over the arm of Arist. right arm of Harm. lifted for the blow; 3rd dimension partly exploited - limbs directly pointed towards the spectator. "Highest attainment of severe style sculptors"?
3. Delphic Charioteer (Delphi Museum, - c 470s BC - after games of 478 or 474 BC?)
- recovered 1894/5 - found in excavations. Once part of a large bronze group - chariot, horses and charioteer - this explains some aspects of style. Technique - made in a number of pieces - feet, arms, torso with drapery, head in 2 pieces - crown lifts off from head. Many qualities of severe style - head and face. Upper part of head, though = archaic. Carving of curls = rather sloppy - not much depth. Expression on face = very serious and looks as if he is concentrating hard on the horses. Remote, proud and off hand character?? Charioteer stands with his feet together. Right arm is missing. Left hand holds reins and long robe down to ankles with high-waisted belt - short sleeves of tunic coming half way down his arm. Drapery = imposing - although superficial appearance of monotony? But no monotony in fact: - 1. Drapery studied from life - movement in and out; 2. Effect of tucking up drapery under belt ~ (which drops down at the sides); 3. He has a strap around his shoulders and behind his neck so the folds have breaks in them above the waist. Work = dedication to Apollo after the games - possibly by a tyrant called Polyzalos from Sicily.
4. Zeus/Poseidon of Artemision (c 470/460 BC - Nat. Arch. Mus., Athens)
Bronze - slightly over life size (6' 11"). Found in the sea - therefore assumed it was being transported on a ship, part of a cargo of treasures. Figure is about to throw something - Poseidon and trident? or Zeus and thunderbolt? But would Poseidon ever throw his trident?? However figure certainly = a god - (i) scale (ii) too atheletic for an old man. Figure is in unique pose - innovative work. Majestic composition. Figure is facing frontally but head turning to follow action. NB: delicate balance - the sculptor has captured the moment of pause within the action - (Greek word for this Rhythmos -> Rhythm).
5. Omphalos Apollo - c 460 BC.
No original - only Roman copies survive. A continuation of the kouroi series. But no straight symmetry - slightly relaxed pose - slight turning to one side - head turning at an angle. Weight on right foot. Hairstyle - 2 plaits brought round under the fringe. Statue = fairly hefty (or even "beefy") - well built figure compared to most of period?
6. Myron's Discobolus (c 460 - 450 BC?)
Myron = sculptor from Eleutherae (frontier town of Attica/Boeotia) - he became to all intents and purposes an Athenian sculptor. (Athens = "centripetal force" = artistic arbiter and centre - esp. provide economic backing). Work = "Retrogression" acc. to some critics - innovations are squashed - blame to be placed on the Pheidian movement in Athens? - beautiful idealism. However Myron known as a master of Rhythmos. Sculpture of a Discus-thrower called the Discobolus - figure just about to swing forward - it is leaning forwards and to the side - a very complicated pose - it looks very awkward However, famous statue - numerous copies - best = the Lancellotti discobolus - represents degree of tension not possible in human. Discrepancy between upper and lower halves of body. 2-dimensionality of the statue - a mark of its time? Innumerable subtleties - fantastic curve described by the 2 outstretched arms - Myron believed in athletic ideal. He was not a sculptor of the emotions or intellect (Pliny the Elder). His heads were not much advanced - lack of care on hair. Depiction of cow = his most famous work - placed on Athens' Acropolis - also copy of statue of Satyr Marsyas (arguing with Athena) = his work??
7. Doryphorus of Polycleitos (450-440 BC)
Polycleitos = extremely famous sculptor from Argos (in the NE Peloponnese) - highly regarded in the Hellenistic and Roman periods - although ancient literary sources not really complimentary to Pol - they emphasise monotony and repetitiveness - beauty susceptible to mathematical proportions. He wrote a book called the "Canon" - which cannot be convincingly determined in his statues - the book being about proportions in sculpture - his ideas were later developed further - it almost became a "sculptor's handbook". Polycl = pre-eminently a sculptor of nude athletes - he stood apart from the sculptural tradition of Athens which was concerned with drapery and refinements. The "Doryphorus" = spear-carrier - a standing youth - direct descendant of the Archaic kouros. Weight thrown on to one leg - left arm is correspondingly tensed - chiastic structure. Pliny Elder and Varro see his solution as being "stale" . NB Marble copy has strut to support statue (not in bronze original)." Viewed frontally the Doryphorus dispels the rigid axial symmetry of the archaic kouros by introducing "chiastic" contrast between physical left and right. Not only does a bent knee and raised heel oppose a knee kept taut and a foot set flat, and a bent forearm and lifted hand oppose an arm hanging idle along the other flank; but the unsymmetrical dispositions are themselves set in oppositionl by associating the raised arm with the lowered knee, and the lowered arm and its lightly drooping shoulder with the taut leg and its raised hip. By this symmetrical asymmetry a visible "differentiation" between tension and relaxation, between muscular contraction and expansion, is introduced into each bodily feature in contrast with its opposite counterpart; and a gently swaying curve expressive of the erect body's living balance replaces the straightly vertical axis of the unliving archaic stance".
8. "Diadoumenos" of Polycleitos (c 440-430 BC)
- "effeminate, soft, boyish" figure - famous for its price in Roman times. Boy binding fillet around his head - 2 hands raised to level of head - NB: "4-square" pose ~ also found with Doryphoros.