Bust of Athena

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“Lansdowne Bust of Athena of Velletri, 2nd century A.D. Roman copy after a Greek original”
Successful sculptural forms are created through careful attention to common artistic elements and techniques. In order to discover an artist’s intentions while looking at a sculptural piece, it is vital to note the artist’s visual cues. Such visual cues may include form, shape, texture, material, lighting, space, and dynamism. In addition, classical sculpture is commonly comprised of well-balanced idealized forms, with a sense of naturalistic beauty and elegance in mind. Great sculpture also must convey a strong sense of gracefulness and stability. The Lansdowne Bust of Athena of Velletri very successfully exhibits artistic qualities and sculptural elements seen in successful sculpture. The overall form of the sculpture demonstrates qualities such as unity, balance and a great deal of depth. The proportions of this healthy, beautiful figure are perfect. Through careful examination of the details inherent in the face of Athena, the artist is able to capture a great sense of liveliness and dimensionality about the piece. One of the most interesting sculptural forms found in this work is Athena’s helmet. The helmet comes to a soft point in an upward direction in such a manner that it flows with the form displayed given to her hair. In addition, the triangular, arrow-like shape of the helmet, interestingly enough, mirrors the overall form accomplished by Athena’s face. Details such as the wrinkles found in Athena’s garment further promote the piece’s sense of flow as well as depth and dimension. With each section of wavy and undulating wrinkles in the worn garment, the piece more and more stands as an excellent example of a non-moving sculptural piece of marble that is able to appear to have movement. Kresilas’ choice of material—marble—is appropriate. The physical nature of the material lends itself to workable chiseled details. The finish that the particular type of...
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