This paper explores the technical and art historical importance of dowel holes, a largely overlooked source of material evidence for the study of fifth-century Greek bronze statuary. Generally, the “artistic revolution” in Greek sculpture is associated with the Persian Wars, with two sculptors, Kritios and Nesiotes, and with their sculptural group, the Tyrannicides, precisely dated to 477/476 BC. From an art historical point of view, I discuss whether their statues can indeed be considered “revolutionary.” For this purpose, I investigate inscribed and signed bases connected to Kritios and Nesiotes in order to identify and highlight technical improvements in Greek sculpture. Thanks to a fresh and close inspection of dowel holes and remains of footprints, I argue that it is not until Polykleitos’s activity and not before the Kyniskos base in Olympia that we can detect a new technical solution in positioning bronze sculptures and, consequently, in rendering poses. The different posture resulting from the shift of balance from both feet to only one has profound artistic, technical, and anatomical implications. Polykleitos’s fundamental characteristic breaks with the previous rules and traditional stance and represents a revolutionary innovation. I conclude that the balance on one leg (uno crure), a peculiarity of Polykleitos’s works attested by the remaining dowel holes and in Pliny (Naturalis historia 34.55–56), represents a turning point in perfecting the representation of the human figure and a different solution to the problem of ponderation.
- Gianfranco Adornato, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa
Our 3D shape comparison methods enable us to distinguish millimeter-sized differences between statues. They have shown that, at least in terms of facial and feet areas, “exact” marble Roman copies are actually quite precise. We have also demonstrated that the face shapes of the copies of the Doryphoros, the Diadumenos, and the Sosikles Amazon are almost identical. Adding to these previous results, it is newly demonstrated that the facial features of the Sciarra Amazon are close to those of the Pericles by Kresilas. The face shape of the statue of Diomedes, often attributed to Kresilas, does not match that of the Sciarra Amazon but is rather close to that of the Doryphoros. Through this method, it has been proven that the Sosikles Amazon was made by Polykleitos, the Sciarra Amazon by Kresilas, and the Diomedes statue by a disciple of Polykleitos.
- Kyoko Sengoku-Haga, Tohoku University, Honshu, Japan
- Sae Buseki, Tohoku University, Honshu, Japan
- Min Lu, Tencent Technology Co. Ltd., Shenzhen
- Shintaro Ono, The University of Tokyo
- Takeshi Oishi, The University of Tokyo
- Takeshi Masuda, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Japan
- Katsushi Ikeuchi, Microsoft Research Asia, Beijing
11. Looking at the Bronze of Lost Sculptures: The Reception of the Delphic Monument of the Admirals in the Imperial Age
The paper focuses on Plutarch’s interpretation of the Monument of the Admirals in Delphi and attempts to explain if and how the material (in particular the blue patina of bronze), the state of preservation of the statues, and their style influenced Plutarch’s perception and led him to attribute peculiar meanings and values to the group. It investigates also how these issues intertwined with the philosophical, religious, and historical reflections that are part of his discussion of the monument.
- Eva Falaschi, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa
The economic considerations involved in ancient sculptural production share recognizable characteristics with the concerns of sculptors from subsequent periods. Recent study of the modern “creative class” has led scholars of anthropology to examine additional factors affecting employment opportunity, such as cultural, logistical, and legal influences that motivate mobility. These same principles may help us to focus our perception of the ancient sculptors’ trade beyond the fragmentary body of epigraphic, archaeological, and literary evidence. This paper briefly considers the financial pressures upon sites of sculptural production before embarking on an analysis of legal factors that would affect individual sculptors seeking improved employment opportunities throughout the Classical world. The wealth of epigraphic information from statue bases on Rhodes and logistical documents at Athens provide a body of evidence ideally suited to study how this broader conception of external pressures relates to sculptors and workshops of antiquity.
- Martin Horne, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
Praxiteles’s Bronze Sculpture at Delphi
A statue base (Delphi Museum, inv. no. 3951) discovered in 1896, southeast of the Apollo Temple at Delphi, preserves cuttings for a now lost bronze statue and evidence for the fourth-century Athenian sculptor Praxiteles’s commissions in the eastern Mediterranean. The inscription states that the demos Abydos, a Milesian colony in Mysia, dedicated a portrait of Chairidemos, son of Antiphanos of Pitania, to Apollo, and that Praxiteles Athenaios made it. Attributed to a shadowy third-century member of the Praxiteles family because of tripuncts (vertical rows of dots) separating some words in the inscription, the monument has been ignored. It does not even appear in Jacquemin’s recent publication of inscriptions at Delphi.
- Aileen Ajootian, University of Mississippi, Oxford
A reevaluation of the inscribed text, an examination of the old arguments for the attribution to Praxiteles’s hypothetical grandson, and a new look at the stone itself suggest that it should be assigned instead to the famous fourth-century sculptor himself. Furthermore, this base, with another now in the Thebes Museum, provides secure evidence for Praxiteles’s production of bronze statues. Overall, the five fourth-century bases from mainland Greece bearing his name all attest to Praxiteles’s work as a portrait artist. Delphi 3951, the only surviving Praxitelean votive commissioned by a city instead of a private individual, documents the sculptor’s work in bronze at the panhellenic site. Ancient literary sources emphasized Praxiteles’s mythological statues, especially his famous marble Aphrodite, but analysis of the archaeological record—fourth-century statue bases bearing his “signature”—reveals a different facet of his artistic profile. The inscribed base for a bronze statue at Delphi sheds new light on Praxiteles.