Classical Greek Sculpture Analysis
Riace Bronzes (Statue A)
This classical Greek sculpture is titled the Riace Bronzes. The Riace statues are two life-size bronze statues each weighing nearly a ton. Statue A which is depicted above is of a young warrior, while statue B which is not depicted is of an older warrior wearing a helmet. In this analysis I will be concentrating on Statue A. The sculptor of this statue remains unknown; however most experts attribute this statue to Polyclitus, an expert Greek sculptor and mathematician, or one of his many disciples. The Riace is from the early Classical Period, made around 445 BCE. It was unexpectedly discovered in the Ionian Sea along with an ancient shipwreck off the coast of southern Italy in 1972. It was restored to its present condition. It once held a lance or spear like weapon in its right hand and a shield strapped to its left forearm. Possessions of weapons such as a shield and spear have earned the statue the title of warrior-hero. However, according to Dr. Jennifer Henrichs of Louisiana State University the statue “exhibits a visible headband thought to be the crowning base for a victory wreath typically reserved for champions” (Henrichs 15), implying that the statue might be of that of an Olympic athlete instead of a warrior. The statue is poised for action but still relaxed, trying to represent physical perfection. This potential energy presented is typical of Greek Classical Period art. The Riace shows that the Greeks valued athleticism and had a warrior culture. They admired men that possessed strong physical qualities and took care of their bodies.
The most significant lines in the Riace are of course the long vertical lines, especially of the legs which were made to be as long as the upper torso, thus making the sculpture very symmetrical, an attribute which was highly valued by Greek society. Also there is a strong division separating the upper and...
Cited: Henrichs, Jennifer. The Riace Bronzes: A Comparative Study In Style And Technique. Louisiana State University, 2005.
Spivey, Nigel. How Art Made the World. London: Basic Books, 2006.
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