How Important Was Polykleitos To The Development Of The Kouros

Topics: Sculpture, Contrapposto, Lost-wax casting Pages: 3 (1265 words) Published: April 16, 2015
How important was Polykleitos to the Development of the Kouros? In fifth century Greek free-standing sculpture Polykleitos and his works the Diadoumenos (430BCE) and the Doryphoros (440BCE) (which were originally bronze) are important in demonstrating the development of the Kouros as they highlight a great level of development in terms of the naturalism of a, sculpture, through the use of contrapposto and application of the ‘Cannon of Proportion’ which is attributed to Polykleitos. Whereas Polykleitos’ two High Classical sculptures demonstrate the ‘harmonious proportion[s] of the parts’ (Galen) earlier Kouros such as the New York Kouros (699-675BCE) and the Kritios Boy (499-475BCE) lack the chiastic pose and do not fully adhere to the cannon of proportion which means they also lack the high level of Naturalism and symmetria which these two components create. Due to this they have a ridged feel which prevents them from being perceived as beautiful as the Diadoumenos or the Doryphoros, but they are the basis from which Polykleitos based his works upon. The New York Kouros was an Early Archaic free-standing sculpture which demonstrates the traditional Kouros stance with the left foot in front, arms held firmly by the sides and the head held high, looking straight. This ridged and unnatural pose is used due to the fragility of the marble from which it is constructed. Marble Kouros unlike their bronze counterparts (which are made from the lost wax method or cire perdu) are easier to break, harder to work and once the sculptor has made a mistake they have to start again. The stiff stance can also be put down to the fact that sculptors of the Archaic period unlike Polykleitos were heavily concerned with achieving high levels of symmetry but did not have the skills to create a lifelike stance through using the natural curves and angles that are created by the body when one stands which can be portrayed through the use of contrapposto. Furthermore the New York Kouros,...
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