Polykleitos


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Polykleitos,

 

Polycletus,

or

Polyclitus

(pŏlĭklī`təs, –klē`–, –klī–), two Greek sculptors of the school of Argos. Polykleitos, the elder, fl. c.450–c.420 B.C., was a contemporary of Phidias. Born either in Sicyon or Argos, he became head of the Argive school. He worked principally in bronze and made a number of statues of athletes. His most famous statue embodied his ideal of physical perfection. This "canon of Polykleitos," which emphasized a counterbalance of tension and relaxation through shoulders and hips, known as chiastic balance, became the standard of proportions for sculptors. It is best known through a copy, the Doryphorus or Spear-Bearer (Naples). Other sculptures representing his athletic, muscular, square-headed type, preserved through copies, are the Diadumenus (National Mus., Athens), a man binding a fillet about his head, and an Amazon. Another of his works praised by ancient writers was a gold and ivory Hera for a temple at Argos; now known only from Pausanias' description and from representations on Roman coins. No recognized originals by Polykleitos exist today. Polykleitos, the younger, worked in the 4th cent. B.C. Although he was also a sculptor of athletes, his greatest fame was won as an architect. He designed the great theater at Epidaurus.
References in periodicals archive ?
In creating the Doryphoros, a name probably not of the artist's devising (Stewart 1997:88), Polykleitos gave expression to a type of male physique, that was to inspire three generations of his pupils and influence sculptors of the Roman empire too (Quintilian Inst.
Polykleitos also wrote a work, entitled the Canon or Rule, in which he set out in detail the artistic principles that governed his sculpture.
The great prowess of Phidias and Polykleitos showed that through you sculpture could equal Nature; It was from you that Lysippos and the others achieved renown.
In the court of the Pompeii palaestra, a marble replica of the Doryphoros by Polykleitos stood on a base over one meter high, sufficient enough to prove the sculpture's new stature of oeuvre d'art(20); at Herculaneum, in the small square peristyle of the so-called Villa of the Pisones, a bronze herm of the work stood beside a bust of one of the Amazons, also by one of the great masters of the fifth century; and a marble herm of the same Doryphoros also came from Herculaneum.
The first statue, a young athlete of Polykleitan ponderation, but of slender shape and archaistic hair(28), combined the styles of different periods for an ensemble the author of Rhetorica ad Herennium would not have disowned, he who went so far as to imagine that a work could have at once a head worthy of Myron, the arms of a statue of Praxiteles, and the torso of one of Polykleitos.
From Diskophoros of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptothek in Copenhagen and other sculptures of a similar kind, she endeavors to show that it is vain to want to return to a single prototype of Polykleitos, emphasizing the richness brought about by associations invented by Roman sculptors, who, unwilling to copy, adapted Greek models according to need, to iconographies, to materials, or to diverse commonplaces.
We are told much about these classical masters: Pheidias who was famous for his colossal gold- and ivory-clad cult-images but also cast bronzes; Polykleitos who theorised about ideal proportions in his treatise called the Canon; Myron who was particularly eulogised for his life-like statues of athletes; and the prolific Lysippos, who worked for Alexander the Great and accomplished a wide range of subjects that included the Apoxyomenos (an athlete scraping oil from his skin) and the intriguingly named 'Intoxicated Flute-Girl' (temulenta tibicina).
One of the more difficult is Diadoumenos, the name for the Classical Greek statue by Polykleitos and a word that explains exactly what the sculpture depicts-a young man tying his victory fillet around his head after winning an athletic contest.
Polykleitos, the Doryphoros, and Tradition, Madison, WI 1995, pp.