Greece Sculpture 06

Greece Sculpture Part 6

In the meantime, other artists’ tempers were flourishing in Athens. Licio and Cresila are worth mentioning. Licio, son of Mirone, remains faithful to his father’s address. Perhaps the original of the anointing athlete was by Licio, marble from the Glyptothek of Monaco, where in the anatomical treatment it is dryness of the planes, with cut lines in the musculature. Above Licio rises Cresila, a native of Cidonia (Crete), but active especially in Athens. Of Cresila we know the portrait of Pericles in various herms, of which the best known is that of the Vatican, a perspicuous example of the constant nature in Greek portraiture to idealize the physical characteristics of the individual. On the basis of the portrait of Pericles various works have been grouped under the name of Cresila; we can mention the handsome Athena of Velletri.

Attempts to identify vulneratus deficiens up to now they have not been completely persuasive, but, fortunately, it was possible to identify the Amazon that Cresila, according to a report from Pliny, executed, for the Artemision of Ephesus, in competition with Phidias, Polykleitos and Fradmone. The Amazon of Cresila would be recognized in the marble copy signed by Sosicle: wounded under the right breast, it was leaning with the right on the spear, while with the left she cautiously lifted the dress. The Amazon of Polykleitos is the Amazon of the Berlin type, leaning against the pillar, with massive shapes, so as to seem the sister of the Doryphoros; perhaps in the Mattei Amazon of the Vatican, an agile figure in the act of jumping, leaning on the spear, on horseback, the Amazon of Phidias is to be recognized; but the head of the Mattei type is unknown to us.

According to, Polykleitos is the main representative of the Argive-Sicilian school. Born in Argos or Sicyon, he was younger than Phidias. so that the beginning of its activity can be placed around 460 BC. C. or shortly after. Three phases can be felt in this activity; the first Peloponnesian, the second Attic, short, comprising a few years, the third again Peloponnesian, after 430 BC. C. The work that sums up, so to speak, the characters of Polykleitos is the Doryphoros, the spear bearer.

It is known to us especially from the marble copy of Pompeii: there is already the polycletean posture of the support leg and the unloading leg, and there is a treatment of the naked, firm and vigorous, carried out with supreme wisdom. The problem of forms is what interests Polykleitos, since the Doryphoros, like his other works, is lacking as regards the expression of the soul. Rhythm of pose, firmness of gaze, muscularity, and at the same time a rather flat appearance of the body, are found in the Doryphoros, which by its author was considered as the ideal canon, that is, as the norm of proportions of limbs, to which he owed be brought back to the human body at a young age, exercised by the gym.

The characters of the Doryphoros are found in other policletei works. A Heracles, perhaps already existing in Corinth, can be recognized in a Barracco statuette and in a bronze head of Herculaneum: the young hero was leaning with his right hand on the club. More recent is the Diadumeno, or the athlete who fastens the victory bandage around his head.

It is known to us through various copies, including those of Vaison and Delos, and in it we can see the symmetry and the eurythmy of the Doryphorus, of Heracles, and of the Amazon in a degree of greater complication due to the large gesture of the arms: in the Diadumeno, for this gesture, the architectural, indeed mathematical, severity of the Doryphoros is attenuated. The Diadumenus is more adolescent than the Doryphoros; even more unripe age is shown in another work, always of an athletic nature, by Polykleitos, in Cinisco, winner of Olympia in boxing for boys, which should be recognized in the boy athlete who crowns himself, of the British Museum. But the style of this statue badly accords with the age, in which Cinisco would have been victorious (perhaps ol. 80; 460 BC).

One of Polykleitos’ last works is the Age of Argos, executed for the new Heraīon built after 423 BC. C.: it was a chryselephantine simulacrum of which a memory seems to have been preserved in a beautiful marble head in the British Museum. Several pupils of Polykleitos are mentioned; among them the best known is Naucide, of whose art perhaps a document in the Discoforo type has been preserved, known to us especially from the beautiful marble of the Mussolini museum in Rome; there the direct derivation from the policletee works is evident.

In the last years of the century. V and early IV we recognize various currents in Greek sculpture, which constitute an art of transition to that of the great personalities of the IV century. C. The fidiac current dominates among others, especially in Athens. Examples are the so-called Caryatids of the Erechtheion, neither too rigid nor too lively in their architectural function; even removed from the architectural ensemble, they have the decoration, the grace of virginal figures wearing the simple peplos.

Greece Sculpture 06