CAST ANCIENT GREEK STATUES
This collection showcases sculptures from different epochs of Ancient Greece including Aphrodite of Milos (late 2nd century BCE), Zeus of Artemision (ca 450 BCE), and Hermes and the Infant Dionysos (late 4th century BCE). All statues are replicas from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and the Greek National Archaeological Museum. All statues are housed permanently at the Hellenic Museum.
THE YOUTH OF ANTIKYTHERA
(ca 340 - 330 BCE)
This Late Classical Period bronze sculpture depicts ancient Greek ideals of male beauty and strength. Detailed musculature, like that seen in this sculpture, was a way for sculptors to display their skill in bringing to life raw materials like bronze. The youth has variously been interpreted as: Apollo, Hermes, Heracles with a club or lion-skin, or a victorious athlete holding as prize a: spherical lekythion, wreath, phiale, or an apple. The two prevailing theories however, are that the statue represents Perseus holding the head of Medusa in his outstretched hand or Paris with the golden Apple of Discord.
APHRODITE OF MILOS
(late 2nd century BCE)
This statue is perhaps better known as the Venus de Milo, with the marble original housed in the Louvre, Paris. The work is generally attributed to the Greek artist Alexandros of Antioch who was active in the 2nd century BCE who, in turn, was inspired by a pre-Hellenistic sculpture, possibly that of Praxiteles. Her partial nudity suggests she is Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. There have been suggestions that she is Artemis or a Danaid (one of the 50 daughters of Danaus in Greek mythology), but with any attributes and symbols missing from the broken sculpture, her identity is not certain.
ZEUS OF ARTEMISION
(ca 450 BCE)
Found in an ancient shipwreck in two pieces, this Late Classical bronze sculpture was presumably en-route to Italy, as a result of either export or looting. The statue is generally thought to be Zeus, and would have been holding his lightning bolt, or alternatively Poseidon striking with his trident. From the intense expression on his face, the bulging veins on his feet, and the variegated transitions between muscles, the statue appears to be rendered from the ideal human model.
This statue is known as a Diadoumenos, a youth tying a fillet around his head after a victory in an athletic contest. It is a later Roman copy of a bronze original dated between 450-425 BCE. The original bronze may have stood in a sanctuary such as that at Olympia or Delphi, where games were regularly held. The original statue was one of the most highly esteemed creations of Polykleitos, the renowned Greek sculptor from Argos.
HERMES & THE INFANT DIONYSOS
(late 4th century BCE)
Hermes, the messenger god, is depicted holding an infant Dionysos, who grew to become the god of wine, revelry, theatre and music. The work is generally considered to be that of Praxiteles, one of the most popular artists of the Late Classical period. In this sculpture, Hermes leans against a tree stump, over which his cloak is draped, providing support for his arm. His weight rests on his right leg while his left foot lightly touches the ground. The off-balanced stance of the god’s body forms a pose known as the ‘Praxitelean curve’. Hermes’ body bends sinuously, creating an S-shaped pose, the musculature is defined, but softer than previous styles, giving the statue a sensuous and graceful appearance.
THE DIADEM WEARER
(Roman copy of a Greek bronze original, 450-425 BCE)
(ca 480 BCE)
The statue originally stood on a quadriga (chariot with four horses) and was dedicated by Polyzalos, the tyrant of Syracuse, to Apollo of Delphi. It commemorates the tyrant’s victory in a chariot race during the Pythian Games of 478 BC. Found in the ruins of Delphi, the famous charioteer (iniochos) is highly regarded amongst the great masterpieces of ancient Greece. The temple housing the sculpture was completely destroyed and only the charioteer survived.
KOUROS OF VOLOMANDRA
This statue of a kouros was named after the place in Attica where it was discovered, on the site of an ancient burial ground. In Ancient Greek kouros means "youth, boy, especially of noble rank”. This statue probably stood on the grave of an athlete or a warrior who died around 560 BC. It stands out amongst others of its kind for its natural proportions and radiant smile. Kouroi statues were initially influenced by Egyptian art standards: a rigid pose, broad shoulders, arms at the side with clenched fists and the left foot slightly advanced. Kouroi slowly became more naturalistic as understanding of human anatomy developed and art styles changed.
(ca. 500 BCE)
This kouros was the gravemarker of Aristodikos, hence its name. Compared to previous kouroi, the Aristodikos Kouros is more naturalistic compared to earlier examples; the body itself is more relaxed and the musculature is softer than straight, with the arms no longer stiffly at the sides, but extended outward at the elbow and the hair is no longer strictly stylised. Although the kouros is still quite rigid in nature, these changes, which would eventually lead to the naturalism of Classical statues, marked the transition from the Archaic into the Classical period.