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Born probably in the first decade of the fourth century B.C., in Sicyon; died in the last decade of the same century. Ancient Greek sculptor; outstanding representative of late classical art.
Lysippus was the court sculptor of Alexander the Great. His works, which were executed primarily in bronze, have not survived, but an idea of them is given by classical authors and Roman copies. Anticipating Hellenistic art, Lysippus revised the canon of Polyclitus. He depicted small-headed, lean figures moving in three-dimensional space. He portrayed people not “as they are” but “as they seem” (Pliny, Natural History, XXXIV, 8). Lysippus did numerous statues of athletes, including Agias and Apoxyomenos (The Scraper—an athlete cleaning himself after competition). The sculptor’s depictions of gods and heroes are characterized by an intense emotional message that was unusual for classical art.
In antiquity, Lysippus’ most celebrated works were a colossal statue of Zeus at Tarentum, a statue of Helios seated in a chariot at Rhodes, an allegorical figure of Cyrus at Olympia, and numerous depictions of Heracles and his exploits. The Heracles Farnese is the most notable of the statues and statuettes modeled after Lysippus’ originals. Lysippus also executed large sculptural groups, such as the group depicting Alexander’s companions on horseback who had fallen in battle on the Granicus. He did a number of portraits of Alexander the Great, in which he succeeded in rendering both Alexander’s earthly, human nature and the image of a deified ruler (the Istanbul copy is close to the original).
REFERENCESWaldhauer, O. F. Lisipp. Berlin, 1923.
Johnson, F. P. Lysippos. Durham, 1927.