High Classical Free Standing Sculpture


Artist: Polykleitos

  • Younger contemporary of Phidias - both classed as most importnat sculptors of the high classical era
  • Phidias more concentrated on the gods whereas Polykleitos focuses on man
  • He is a bronze castor and so much less interested in effects of drapery - this is more an interest to Phidias who ues marble
  • Polykleitos interested in anatomy - wrote a kind of rule book called canon where he sets out his theory of the proportions of the standing male figure
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Doryphoros by Polykleitos

  • Original is in bronze but we only have marble copies
  • Made around 440BC
  • 6ft 11" in size
  • Doryphoros means spear bearer so statue would have been holding spear
  • First time we see in a statue how body reacts to one leg bearing all the weight 
  • Can see from the trailing leg he is paused mid-step
  • Originally back leg would be weight holder but here the walking stance is created with upper leg placed laterally to other and lower left leg trails behind
  • Musculature reacts more to this slight movement than some we have seen in full action
  • Displaced hip - slant between hips carried up body, muscles slightly extended on one side. so this is unlike Kritios boy, we see get full effect throughout body. 
  • Contrapposto embodies this set of proportions but also the equilibrium through the body - natural balance of tensed and relaxed muscles
  • Turn of the head similar to Kritios boy- looking down to the side and not straight at viewer gives statue a bit more life and naturalness
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Diadoumenos by Polykleitos

  • Translates as 'man tying ribbon in hair' - statue of man doing complately mundane activity like this
  • 430BC
  • lots of similarities to Doryphoros but can see improvements showing its a later piece
  • Head turn more pronounced
  • He breaks the traditional conventions of greek sculpture both arms are raised - breaks balance of tensed and relaxed limbs.
  • Many say it is more graceful than Doryphoros - can see curve through body and natural movement of the piece.
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Maiden from Erechtheum

  • a karyatid from Erechtheum - used instead of column 425-400BC
  • Drapery that gathers to form pouch does sweeping curve over belly and hips
  • Falls in minute folds and material stretches out over leg which is bent forward showing form underneath
  • Thinness of drapery over breast and left leg achieved by carving figure as if it were nude but leaving narrow ridges at intervals tp suggest a thin veil of cloth covering body
  • Variation of thick and thin material makes for more realistic and aesthetically pleasing figure
  • elaborate hair, symmetrically arranged but varies from straight hairs to ringlets further down
  • U shaped folds of cloak contrast with vertical folds of skirt to produce powerful complex design
  • At this time line was everything, mass wasnt so important - use of lines could distinguish a more animate figure from a more tranquil one. 
  • folds quite uniform possibly mimicking a column
  • In some ways similar to Berlin Goddess with folds of dress and elaborate hair but more variation here. 
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Aphrodite from Agora

  • 420-410BC
  • Full of so many folds
  • Shows how in the late classical period drapery could look ridiculous and overdone
  • decorative linear effects applied to surface of statue 
  • little interest in showing form underneath. 
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Nike untying Sandal

  • 420BC
  • Quite mundane activity
  • Transparency of drapery very clear here - almost like theres no drapery over breast
  • This pose was clever as it allowed the sculptor to show form underneath and use modelling lines to show flow of drapery against body form. 
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Nike by Painonios

  • 420BC very celebrated piece of the time
  • Placed 10m off ground on triangular pillar
  • Idea is she is descending so drapery and motion lines reflect this movement
  • She is just touching the ground - can see foot making contact
  • Would have had wings
  • she is leaning forwards slightly
  • In contrast with swirling drapery behind it is much thinner material over her body, some parts not covered at all
  • Transparency, modelling lines and motion lines are all hallmarks of 5th C period
  • It is dramatic and lively - sense of motion and her descent 
  • visually interesting and different
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