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Intro to Visual Culture

  • Date Submitted: 10/10/2011 07:26 PM
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Assignment 1

Support ONE of the following arguments through the analysis of ONE example of artwork/work of architecture from Topics 1 – 4.

  1. Ancient Greek sculpture of the classical period depicts beauty through the balance of naturalism and idealism.

Word Count – 600 words

Tudor – Sally Quin



POLYKLEITOS, Doryphoros (Spear Bearer). Roman marble copy from Pompeii, Italy, after a bronze original of ca. 450 – 440 BCE, 6’11” high. Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples.

The above picture is a marble sculpture of Doryphoros (Spear Bearer) by Polykleitos and can also be known as Canon. It was made originally from bronze around 450 – 440 BCE and is now lost. This sculpture was from Pompeii, Italy and is now on display at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples.

This sculpture to some portrays the perfect male body and the way in which Polykleitos achieved this was in itself truly a work of art all of Polykleitos work on this sculpture was recorded in writing and used in treatise which he titled ‘Canon’ which is why the sculpture can also be known as Canon . The Greeks were trying to break away from the way in which the Egyptians portrayed people in their sculptures. The Egyptians sculptures were more rigid and stylised depicting a god rather than the human form, the sculptures were usually clothed and would be used as tomb markers or around a temple compound, whereas the Greeks wanted their sculptures to represent a face and body that was more human like.

When Polykleitos decided to make the Doryphoros, he closely studied the male form so he could make the sculpture seem like an ideal male form, he wanted to achieve a combination of more athletic body but at the same time a relaxed pose. He was able to achieve this by dividing the body up into 4 even quarters, down the centre of the body and across the middle of the body in which eventually the top and bottom of the sculpture mirrored each other. He then positioned the body with...

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