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Ancient Greece was a place of incredible artistry in terms of architecture, playwriting, and sculpture. At the start of Grecian culture, artists and craftsman were seen as relatively unimportant members of society because they did not contribute anything of perceived importance. They worked in aesthetic mediums which although appreciated were not given as much value as politicians or philosophical thinkers. In around the year 480 BC, art became far more important as it became clear that through artistic media, stories could be written and legacies forged. In the present moment, by looking at the artworks which have been discovered that date back to the period of the Ancient Greeks, modern scholars can interpret what differences occurred in the various epochs of the era, such as the types of artwork created, the subjects which were given the most importance, and the mediums employed. The subject of the sculpture in particular can explain a great deal about the specific epoch in terms of clothing, armaments, and other aspects. Close examination and comparison of two works of art from specific and distinct eras can allow the modern scholar to infer truths about these times. Two different pieces, "Statue of a Kourus" comes from the Archaic period and the "Kritios Boy," also known as the "Kritian Boy," represents the Early Classical period of Ancient Grecian artistry and looking at each allows art scholars and historians to understand the differences in the two periods of Greek history.
"Statue of a Kourus" refers specifically to the statue made of Naxian marble from the Archaic period. Specifically, this piece is from between 590 and 580 BCE (Greek). A kourus was a youthful male who had reached adolescence or perhaps even his middle teenage years but was not yet an adult. Statues of kouruses were a traditional art form in Archaic Greece and found throughout the period most often used to honor the god Apollo (Lechat). These statues would be stoic in pose and in facial expression. The bodies tended to be completely stiff and rigidly erect with very little expression. Details of the face are limited as well. The influence of the Ancient Egyptians can be seen in this piece in the large eyes and the headdress atop the head of the figure (Marble). In this particular sculpture one leg is stepped forward slightly while the other stands in a straight line along with the spine, a frequent aspect of these statues. Its arms are extended and straight, pointing down and very close to the body (Greek). It very much looks like a three-dimensional representation of traditional Egyptian wall art which no doubt was the intention.
The "Kritian Boy" is a sculpture which was created sometime between 485 and 480 BCE. It was carved from Parian marble which was a rare pure white marble used exclusively during the Classical era. This piece has been called "the first beautiful nude in art" (Clark 61). "The Kritian Boy" was so named because it is believed to have been carved by the sculptor Krito, teacher of the more renowned artist Myron (Kritios). This piece originally stood in the Acropolis in Athens, Greece indicating the importance it was given in the Grecian society. The figure is of a young male person approximately in his early to mid teens based upon the structure of his body and the degree to which his muscles have filled out. Also, the sculpture is approximately one meter tall, the height serving to reinforce the idea that the subject is a very young person, perhaps not even adolescent yet. Interestingly, the statues of the Acropolis were mostly destroyed in 480 BCE by the Persians (Faculty). However, despite the fact that the sculpture is missing his arms and both legs, one higher up on the leg than the other, it is believed by historians that the destruction did not occur during the Persian invasion. The head and torso of the piece do not appear and there is a very good reason for this according to some scholars (Hurwit 41). Each piece was discovered individually more than two decades apart and put together despite the fact that they do not appear to match, although some scholars do not agree that this is the case and argue that this is the proper head for the…[continue]
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