CLASSICAL AND HELLENISTIC SCULPTURE
OF ANCIENT GREECE
"Kritios Boy" below  is described as "Early Classical," and shows the naturalism that was desired and achieved by Greek artists at this time.
Kritios Boy, c. 480 bce.
Kritios Boy, c. 480 bce.
"Kritios Boy" c.480 bce from the Acropolis, Athens. 
Parian marble, 33 7/8" high.
Acropolis Museum, Athens
(See Page 129 Gardner text, image at right)
"Kritios Boy" is an early fine example of "contrapposto" a term that describes the wieght shift of the torso producing a relaxed and more natural look.
Discus Thrower by Myron, c. 450 bce.
"Diskobolos" (Discus Thrower) by Myron.  Roman copy of a Greek bronze original. c. 450 bce.
Museo Nazionale Romano, Rome.
(See Page 131 in the Gardner text for a different view).
Although the Greeks continued to sculpt in marble, "bronze hollow cast" became the medium of choice of most Greek artists.  The "bronze hollow cast" figure begins as clay, a soft easily worked material that allows for extremely fine details;  it is these fine details that the Greek artists sought to enhance the realism of the figure.
The Charioteer
Roman marble copy of a Greek original
The Scraper, by Lysippos
Athena, 5th century bce.
"Charioteer from Delphi" is from the Sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi, c.470 bce, 5'11" high in bronze.
Archeological Museum, Delphi
"Diaduomenos" is believed to be a Roman marble copy of an original Greek bronze statue,
c.440 bce, 73" high. 
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
"Apoxyomenos (Scraper) by Lysippos, Roman marble copy.  c. 330 bce, 6'9" high.
Vatican Museums, Rome
(See Page 148, Gardner text).
"Athena"
from the 5th Century, bce. 
Many original bronze pieces were lost.  Greek artists melted down older statues to create new, more naturalistic ones.  The Romans and other invaders melted the bronze to create weapons, shields and armor.  Fortunately, the Romans also admired the Greek statues and often made marble copies before destroying the original.  The bronze statues that survived were often found in shipwrecks in the sea, like the "Young Warrior" figure below found off the coast of Riace, Italy.
Warrior, from the sea off Riace, Italy, c.460-450 bce  6'6" high, bronze..
Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Reggio Calabria, Italy
(See Page 129 in Gardner text).
The figure is bronze, with bone and glass eyes, silver teeth, copper lips and nipples.  See detail of the face below. "Dancing Youth," from the late 4th Century, bce. Bronze, 7 7/8"
Metropolitan Museum of Art,
New York
Warror from Riace, Italy.
Bronze figure, c. 460 bce.
Bronze detail of a youthful athlete
Notice the colors in the face.  There is no comparison to the beautiful Greek bronze original!  Click on the image. Bronze figure from the Artemisium Wreck, from c.460 bce.  The brows and lips were originally inlaid with other metals, and the eyes were inset with polished stones. Bronze detail of a "youthful athlete."  The band around his head would have held real olive leaves.
SCULPTURE OF THE "HIGH CLASSICAL" PERIOD
"Nike" (Victory) Adjusting Her Sandal, fragment of a relief from the Temple of Athena Nike, Acropolis, Athens.  c.410-407 bce.  Marble, 42" high.
Acropolis Museum, Athens
"Hermes and the infant  Dionysos" by Praxiteles, c.340 bce.  Marble, 7'1" high.
Archeological Museum, Olympia
(See Page 146 in the Gardner text).
"Relief of a Maenad" (female follower of Dionysos), Roman copy of a Greek original.  Late 5th Century bce.  Marble, 56" high.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
HELLENISTIC SCULPTURE
"Sleeping Eros" - Hellenistic piece
"Sleeping Eros" from the Hellenistic era.
Children were a favorite subject during this time.  Click on the image!
Aphrodite of Melos
"Aphrodite," also known as 'Venus de Milo, the Greek and Roman goddess of love) from the Greek Island of Melos, by the sculptor Alexandros of Antioch-on-the-Meander.  The statue combines the classical features of the 'stoic' face and contrapposto pose with the realism of the Hellenistic era. 
The statue is marble, from c.150 bce and is 6'7" in height.

Louvre Museum, Paris

With a progressive mastery of form, especially the human form, Greek artists developed a great interest in naturalism and realistic detail.
"Old Market Woman," Hellenistic era
Bronze head of a man, Hellenistic era
"Old Market Woman," 2nd Century bce, 49 1/2" high. 
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Bronze portrait of a man, from Delos.  c.100 bce.
Hellenistic art also becomes exaggerated and dramatic, as seen in the works below.  Scale and proportion are distorted, muscles are strained and overdeveloped, facial expressions are intense, real space is eliminated for dramatic content.
"Dying Gaul," by Epigonos (?) is a Roman marble copy after a bronze original from Pergamon, Turkey.  c. 230 bce.  3' 1/2" high. 
Museo Capitolino, Rome. (See Page 158 in the Gardner text for a different view).
The Laocoon, Hellenistic era
Frieze from Pergamum, Hellenistic era
Laocoon and his sons, from Titus' palace, Rome. 1st Century bce, marble, 7' 10" high. Sculptors were Anthanadoros, Hagesandros, and Polydoros of Rhodes.
Vatican Museums, Rome (See Page 163 in the Gardner text).
"Athena and Alcyoneus" frieze from the Altar of Zeus at Pergamum, c.180 bce.
Pergamonmuseum, Berlin
Nike of Samothrace (Winged Victory), Hellenistic era
"Nike alighting on a warship" (Nike of Samothrace), c. 190 bce.  Marble, 8'1" high. 
Louvre, Paris.
(See Page 159 in the Gardner text for the image below;  alternate image to the left).
Page Updated 7/20/04
Continue on to look at Greek architecture!
Copyright M. Hoover and San Antonio College, September 2001.  All rights reserved.