GREEK HUMANISM AND ITS LEGACY IN THE 21st CENTURY
Karin Maria Rager
B.F.A., University of Colorado at Denver, 2001
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Humanities
2007 by Karin Maria Rager
All rights reserved.
This thesis for the Master of Humanities
Karin Maria Rager
has been approved
Rager, Karin Maria (Master of Humanities)
Transcendent Values: Greek Humanism and its Legacy in the 21st Century
Thesis directed by Assistant Director Dr. Margaret L. Woodhull
This thesis presents a re-examination of artistic expressions through sculpture in the
classical tradition in order to explain why we have continued to utilize and be
influenced by those ideas and concepts found through ancient Greek art, literature,
and philosophy. By exploring the stylistic change in sculpture and the extraordinary
developments in Athenian politics, literature and philosophy between sixth and fifth-
century B.C.E., this thesis probes at understanding the catalystic and inspirational
forces that made these aspects of Greek culture so impressive and eternal. Our
contemporary culture was formed from this extraordinary period in Greek antiquity
through the ancient Greek constant historic reincarnation of these values and virtues.
These values and virtues express something fundamental about the human condition
such as our concerns, thoughts, and fears in contemporary culture. Thus, we return to
ancient Greek art, philosophy, and literature again and again. This thesis aims to
contribute to the existing body of scholarship by probing at what these transcendent
values are and why they continue to intrigue us today.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend
I dedicate this thesis to my parents, who continued to encourage and support me
despite the many obstacles Ive had to overcome in order to complete this thesis. I
also dedicate this thesis to my husband, Chris, for his unwavering belief in me.
Lastly, I want to also dedicate this thesis to all the professors who exposed me to a
whole new canon of philosophical literature and taught me the value of true wisdom.
I wish to thank my advisor and mentor, Margaret L. Woodhull, who has inspired me
with her dedication to excellence. Over the past couple of years, her guidance,
friendship and countless hours of support has meant so very much to me. I also wish
to thank Rob Metcalf who prompted me to pursue Greek philosophy in the first place
and whose humor has always made me laugh. And I wish to thank Myra Bookman
for always pushing me to examine the big questions. Thank you all for inspiring
me to write this thesis and believing in my abilities. I will never forget the many
philosophical conversations we have had together either in your offices, coffee
houses, or public transportation, which prompted me to re-examine my own life.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
2. CLASSICAL GREEK TRADITION ...............................6
The Human Figure in Greek Art from Archaic to High Classical
The Kritios Boy....................................21
3. THE CATALYST FOR STYLISTIC CHANGE IN SCULPTURE..........46
Theories Regarding the Evolution of the Human Figure in
Ancient Greek Art..........................46
LIST OF FIGURES
1.1 Archaic Kouros, Krisios from Anavyssos.....................................8
1.2 Rameses II at Luxor Temple and Archaic Kouros from Melos.................12
1.3 Archaic Kouros from Tenea................................................14
1.4 Tomb of Ramose and Tomb of Taussert........................................16
1.5 Kritios Boy..............................................................22
1.6 Side View of Kritios Boy.................................................24
1.7 H ead of Kritios Boy.....................................................25
1.8 Torso of Kritios Boy without head........................................27
1.9 Aristogeiton and Harmodios of the Tyrannicides Group and Kritios Boy.....29
1.10 Polykleitos Dotyphoros..................................................36
1.11 The Warrior from Olympia and Polykleitos Dotyphoros.....................39
1.12 Side and Back view of Polykleitos Doryphoros............................42
Many centuries ago the ancient Greeks wrote, taught, and created through the
mediums of artwork, ideas, and concepts that have influenced and survived in the
ages to follow. Greek antiquity has spoken, and admirably so, to countless others
especially through its artistic expressions of the human figure. Ancient Greece
provided us with a legacy of unprecedented sculptures of the human form and
likeness. Yet, this profound legacy was not just due to the formal developments seen
in sculpture but for the humanity that they evoke, a spirit unmatched in much older
civilizations like the Persians, Egyptians, Assyrians, and Babylonians whom believed
man was ultimately ruled by the gods. Classical Greek antiquity set mankind on a
cultural evolution that freed man, exalting him by reason and personal subjective
experience. There are many wonders, as Sophocles echoed this humanistic
thought, but none more wondrous than man.1 Thus, this thesis presents a re-
examination of artistic expressions through sculpture in the classical tradition in order
to explain why we have continued to utilize and be influenced by those ideas and
concepts found through Greek art, literature, and philosophy. Beginning with the
sixth-century B.C.E. archaic kouros, fifth-century B.C.E. Kritios Boy, and ending
with Polykleitos Doryphoros, this study follows chronologically the stylistic
developments of the human figure that have framed the history of western art. These
particular sculptures speak to us about the significance of the human figure and its
evolving consciousness. For the archaic kouros, Kritios Boy and Polykleitos
Doryphoros signify human form and likeness in full scale- a way in which
contemporary admirers are able to arrive at a comprehension of Greek ideals through
their stylistic transformation from one sculpture to the next.
Furthermore, these three sculptures are generally the most commonly studied
because they embodied the supreme values of classicism. The sculptures expressed
aesthetic principles that are characteristic of ancient Greece, and cultures throughout
the ages adhered to such principles as objectivity, formality, balance, and restraint.
Therefore, the archaic kouros, the Kritios Boy and the Doryphoros symbolized a
powerful ideal to the ancient Greeks and many civilizations to follow. For these
reasons, this thesis will include a brief survey of the three sculptures to complete
historically what scholars view as the final stage in the evolution of Greek sculpture
of the human figure.
This evolution took place within a time span of 150 years, in which the
Greeks achieved a level of sculpture that was truly unique. First, the archaic kouros
marked the beginning of this evolution in statues of the human figure due to its life-
like and life-size characteristics that distinguished it from artistic expressions of the
human figure preceding it. Stylistically, there were subtle attempts in sixth-century
B.C.E. to present more realistic human figures, but none had achieved the level that
the Kritios Boy had in early fifth-century B.C.E. The classical kouros, Kritios Boy, is
neither schematic nor conceptual as his archaic predecessors. Instead, he epitomizes
the closest the Greeks had come to a naturalistic body of an athletic, young man. It is
the departure from this historical moment when, for the very first time, man creates
an image of himself that is fully nude and truly life-like art as the perfect imitation
of life. Thirty to forty years later, Polykleitos Doryphoros completes this evolution
by being among a group of emblematic works of art that represent the departure from
the classical and the beginning of high classical period in art. The Doryphoros with
its unparalleled mathematical perfection was considered to be the perfectly heroic
physique: the most perfect, most complete, and most self-controlled male ego.2
Stylistically, he demonstrates this utopian ideal that the human figure in art would
continue to emulate or rebel against throughout history. Along with this newly
awakened artistic climate, that these three sculptures represented, arose extraordinary
developments in Athenian politics, literature and philosophy. This thesis explores
that extraordinary period in Greek antiquity. Many have noted the impact of these
coincidental changes between artistic expressions and the intellectual climate. The
purpose of this thesis is to contribute to the existing body of scholarship, especially
since one operates within a culture that was formed by its constant historic
reincarnation. Therefore, I find it necessary to examine it again.
Although, it is all too simple to assume a correlation between stylistic change
in art and the transformation of Athens political and social spheres during this time.
The relationship, however, is much more complex. This thesis explores that
complexity in its various dimensions by probing at what was the catalyst for the
stylistic transformation between the archaic and classical periods. First by reviewing
the three sculptures as they developed in their original context, we will then
investigate the following questions: Is it possible to identify corollaries to those
historic causes and effects in Greece that occurred with stylistic changes in sculpture?
What can we learn from the way ancient Greek sculpture might have influenced our
culture? Why do we continue to evoke those artistic expressions and values from
Greek antiquity into artistic and intellectual expression in contemporary culture?
This paper is comprised mainly of the stylistic developments of the male body
from the archaic kouros, to the Kritios Boy, and concluding with Polykleitos
Doryphoros to illustrate the beginnings of western European art history. What is
missing from this particular view of art history, however, is that it focuses solely on
the male physique, without any attention being given to female statues. The intention
here is not to purposefully exclude ancient Greek female artists or female statues, but
to examine what one typically finds in researching the history of western art. From
ancient sources to modem ones, histories of western art were written exclusively by
men that established the ancient Greek art which will briefly be surveyed here as the
originator of all future art to come. Johannes Winckelmann, an eighteenth-century
voice in the history of western art, wrote in Reflections of the Imitation of Greek
Works in Painting and Sculpture, The only way for us to become great or, if
possible, inimitable, is to imitate the ancients. What someone once said of Homer -
that to understand him well means to admire him is also true for the art works of the
ancients, especially the Greeks.3 This notion that the representation and imitation of
the perfect male physique, according to the classic Greek ideal, was the highest order
of art-making, which had influenced archaeologists, museums and scholars alike for
Since the literature on sixth and fifth-century ancient Greece is vast, the major
voices addressing my questions have been isolated in order to facilitate this research.
These range from art historians to archaeologists to philosophers. By considering the
origins of these classical sculptures and values, the work of contemporary voices will
be echoed such as J.J. Pollitt, E.H. Gombrich, Nigel Spivey and E.R. Dodds in order
to set the stage for concluding remarks. Also, the experience of learning philosophy
within the context of understanding historically what made the culture in which
contemporary living takes place inspired this thesis to be written. With this in mind,
this thesis was undertaken to demonstrate similarities between ancient Greek concepts
and ideas to those prevalent in our own contemporary society.
CLASSICAL GREEK TRADITION
The Human Figure in Greek Art from Sixth-Century B.C.E. Archaic
to Fifth-Century B.C.E. High Classical Period
The Archaic Koaros
As a beginning a brief survey will facilitate some of the more general
observations starting with archaic kouroi, the Kritios Boy, and ending with
Polykleitos Doryphoros in their original context. This will enable us to understand
why we continue to be inspired by those transcendental humanistic qualities found
through these particular ancient Greek artistic expressions. In this chapter, the main
characteristics will be examined to distinguish the sculptures from other artistic
expressions because it is for these reasons that many scholars have chosen the archaic
kouroi, the Kritios Boy and the Dorphoros to be chronicled and analyzed. The origins
of each sculpture will be discussed along with dates, purpose or function, sculptor,
influences, appearance, stance, materials used, and heroic nudity in an effort to show
through their form and function the aesthetic principles that are characteristic to
ancient Greece. These sculptures expressed combined notions of order, fitness,
balance, beauty and harmony by how each of them was made. Mathematics,
literature, philosophy and religion were all incorporated on some level to express
these notions; the result being the first in an evolution of statues of the human figure,
life-like and life-size, such as the world had never seen before. Thus, setting the stage
to answer the questions of what caused such a revolutionary stylistic change in
sculpture, and why is this discussion important for contemporary admirers?
The function of sixth-century archaic art underwent radical changes from the
seventh-century geometric period preceding it. The symbolic purpose of the
sculpture shifted to trying to achieve a life-like presence in their art of representation.
The sixth-century archaic kouros leaves an impression of a more realistic figure,
however heroized or immortalized (fig. 1.1). Nigel Spivey in Panorama of the
Classical World noted this attempt by archaic sculptors to express actual presence by
dedicatory inscriptions carved on the left thigh or below it on the plinth that show this
The statue becomes the subject of the verb 'I am' (eimi), as if calling for
the attention of passers-by. It makes claim upon space as a 'marker' or
sign (sema). It also makes claim upon time, as a solid reminder (mnema)
of something that has passed away- particularly in the context of ceramic
or sculpted funerary markers, which now begin to be one of art's primary
Fig. 1.1 The kouros, Kroisos from Anavyssos in Attica, c. 530 B.C.E.
Marble; height 1.94 m. Athens, National Museum. Photo: Hirmer Fotoarchiv, Munich.
When the archaic statue is inscribed, the inscription is normally a speech made in the
first person by the statue. For example, a sixth-century base in Paros has: 'Artemis, to
you Telestodice dedicated this statue...I claim to be the work of Parian Critonides.' It
seems likely, therefore, that all the epigrams which address the god or passer-by in
the second person are conceived as speeches by the statue. The archaic artist
conceived his statue or painted figure as a personality endowed with life-like speech.5
The kouroi represent and embody the dead. To the viewer, they held a magical
presence that still lives on as if speaking to them. "Living statues," as T.L. Webster
characterizes them, can see with painted eyes, speak with either carved or painted
inscriptions, and smile with one leg advanced as if walking. These observations
suggest more than just a silent and stiff noble presence before them.
Early archaic Greeks noted the uniqueness of these living statues, and
attributed them to a mythological figure named, Daedalus.6 Daedalus was
representative of all handiwork, especially that of Attic and Cretan art.7 He was
considered to be a skilled artist, architect, inventor, and most importantly, Daedalus
was the first sculptor who brought the truly monumental in Greek sculpture to
Greece.8 It is most noteworthy to discuss the origins of the kouroi since the ancient
Greeks themselves were interested in this question as evidenced by Diodorus Siculus
in Library Book IV.
[76.1] Daedalus was an Athenian by birth and was known as one of the
clan named Erechthids, since he was the son of Metion, the son of
Eupalamus, the son of Erechtheus. In natural ability he towered far above
all other men and cultivated the building art, the making of statues, and the
working of stone. He was also the inventor of many devices which
contributed to the advancement of his art and built works in many regions
of the inhabited world which arouse the wonder of men.
[76.2] In the carving of his statues he so far excelled all other men that
later generations invented the story about him that the statues of his
making were quite like their living models; they could see, they said, and
walk and, in a word, preserved so well the characteristics of the entire
body that the beholder thought that the image made by him was a being
endowed with life.
[76.3] And since he was the first to represent the open eye and to fashion
the legs separated in a stride and the arms and hands as extended, it was a
natural thing that he should have received the admiration of mankind; for
the artists before his time had carved their statues with the eyes closed and
the arms and hands hanging attached to the sides.9
Daedalus became associated as the representative creator of the shift from geometric
to archaic stylistic developments of the human figure. The kouros so captivated its
viewer by its life-likeness that they now had an explanation for its ability to imitate a
human being. Diodorus had observed in this passage just how important this
historical moment was when he stated that, "he should have received the admiration
of mankind." Diodorus had no idea just how notable the kouroi, inspired by the
mythical craftsman Daedalus, would become.
To this day the archaic kouros captivates the admiration of mankind and is
reminiscent of Egyptian statuary (fig. 1.2). For ancient Greeks, such as the Ionians,
traded with and served as mercenaries for Egypt in the early archaic period and the
corresponding early Saite period in Egypt around 660 B.C.E. We know this from the
ancient Greek fifth-century historian, Herodotus, who writes about the first meeting
between the Greeks and Egyptians in his Histories 2.154.8 As a result, archaic Greek
freestanding statuary like the kouroi led to similarities in stance, smile, sculptural
practices and monumental size and quality to Egyptian statuary. Of the kouroi that
remain, their unique life-like and life-size qualities are what makes them so notable.
Our intrigue began with these statues being early attempts to signify human form and
likeness in full scale perhaps a way of understanding how the Greeks may have seen
themselves and their ideals. Those that are intact can reach from five to seven feet
tall. Most kouroi share very similar attributes that distinguish them from other
archaic sculpture and as mentioned above a reminder of Egyptian influences. Most
importantly, they all convey or express an idealistic representation of the young male
body. Essentially, the word kouros means male youth, and the plural form is
kouroi. They also have a characteristic stance: both feet are placed flatly on the floor
with the left foot forward and right foot back, while the fists are clenched and arms
remain at the sides of the body. As John Boardman points out about the stance of the
kouroi, "we step off naturally with the left foot so this enhances the impression of
Fig. 1.2 On the left, Rameses II, at Luxor Temple, c. 1400 B.C.E. On the right,
Kouros figure from Melos, c. 600 B.C.E. Photo: Charles Jean Marc/Corbis Sygma.
energy and movement as well as providing a more secure support for the heavy mass
of the solid marble body balanced on two slim ankles."10 This stance gives the unique
feeling that the kouros is stepping forward, and yet is frozen in time.
Another distinguishing factor is the appearance of the facial features: almond
shaped eyes, ornamental ears and long beaded hair (fig. 1.3). These features of the
kouroi are described as "Orientalizing," due to the influence of increased trade with
peoples of the Near East. They were especially common to the island of Crete where
immigrants from Syria and surrounding provinces, like Phoenicia, labored in
workshops. Due to the island's centrality as a trading post between the East and
West, the facial features and hair of the kouroi were influenced by the style of these
immigrants.11 J.J. Pollitt notes that the kouroi also had a characteristic "archaic
smile," which may have originated between 580 and 570 B.C.E. (see fig. 1.3) and was
influenced by sculpture from the Egyptian Dynasty XXVI. In many of the kouroi
the archaic smile, "it is not so much an emotion as a symbol, for they are beyond
emotion in the ordinary sense of the word."13 These observations suggest that the
unique stylization and characteristics that typify the kouroi from any other artistic
expressions from the geometric period before them to other archaic art may have
symbolically represented the Presocratic philosophical quest for kosmos or order.
Their stark silence devoid of any individuation symbolized transcendence over
Fig. 1.3 Kouros from Tenea, c.575-550 B.C.E., in Antikensammlung, Munich.
Photo: Hirmer Fotoarchiv, Munich.
mutability in life. To reveal emotion would be to admit a fear or uncertainty about
the world they live in.
The material used by sculptors to create sixth-century kouroi was mainly
marble lending itself to give the spectator the impression of stability and permanence
along with its signature characteristics. Earlier kouroi were known to been made out
of wood or limestone and there are accounts of one late archaic kouros that was made
out of bronze.15 The marble used for the archaic kouroi, however, came from a group
of islands off the mainland of Greece. Marble statuary first appears in the Cyclades,
where Paros and Naxos are rich in the stone and still supply it to modem
workshops."16 Archaic kouroi were carved out from marble expressing the essential
form of the young male body with an impressive order. This order derives originally
from Egyptian influences on Greek sculptural practices. Robin Osborne observed:
Greek use of the second Egyptian canon of proportions is recorded by
Diodoros,...this kouros alone exactly corresponds, so that the distance
from toes to eyes is divided into twenty-one equal squares, the knees fill
the seventh square, the navel completes the thirteenth square, and the
breast completes the sixteenth square.17
This iconic form of the male body was calculated numerically to exact proportions by
using a grid to map out figures in painting and sculpture. There are no surviving
canons describing this process in Egyptian art; however, the Tomb of Ramose and
Tomb of Taussert still have the red painted grid lines still on it (fig. 1.4).18 One sees
similar proportions in successive kouroi. Yet, the Greeks differed from the Egyptians
Fig. 1.4 On the left, unfinished relief in the Tomb of Ramose, at Guma near Luxor, c.1350
B.C.E. On the right, Tomb ofTaussert, Valley of Kings near Luxor, 12th century B.C.E.
in their judgments of the cut of a statue by using the "eye and fancy" as Diodoros
noted in his Library. Simply put, they tried to represent the human figure by what
they actually saw. Also, sculptural techniques progressed technologically from
woodworking techniques to the use of the point, flat chisel, drill and abrasives for the
early marble figures, which enabled the sculptor to shape, smooth and add details that
could not have been done before.
Providing the onlooker or spectator an impression of stability and permanence
is an important factor given the purpose of the archaic kouroi. They had mainly two
functions: as dedicatory offerings to the gods or to commemorate heroism. The
former use most frequently appears in the sanctuaries of Apollo, and thus they used to
be identified as Apollo figures. Yet, they also appeared in the sanctuaries of other
deities, such as Poseidon, Hera and Athena. The kouroi served as a way to edify the
faithful in a "more permanent and silent service to a god than could mortal flesh."19
And the kouroi who served this purpose are sometimes found with one arm extended
at the elbow as if to make an offering to the god or goddess. The latter function
appears to commemorate heroism in the form of grave markers on wealthy citizens' or
war heroes' graves. These particular kouroi served as a symbolic reminder of the
essential characteristics of a Greek idealism regarding humanity. Youthfulness and
strength along with physical beauty are based on balanced portions memorialized in
the kouroi for all to admire. Kouroi were not meant to stand by as fleeting,
momentary visions, but as enduring monuments in the minds of their spectators.
The near-constant nudity of these adolescent youths is likewise striking. It
signaled ideals of beauty, excellence, nobility, athletic prowess, and the good. The
occasional appearance of sculpted belts or boots only highlighted the costume of
nudity. Larissa Bonfante calls attention to the significance of this nudity by stating,
Greek art and athletics exalted the beauty of the youthful male athlete,
whose figure provided the model for the hero or youthful god. The image
of the nude young male, the kouros statue of early Greek art (contrasting
with the clothed female, the kore), embodied the arete or glory of the
aristocratic youth, who was kaloskagathos, 'beautiful and noble'.20
Only the aristocratic class could afford such an immense statue and the nudity acts as
what Bonfante refers to as a "costume", because it serves a purpose. Nudity, for the
ancient Greeks, was rooted in the very ideals that make up Greek society. Partly
based on religious context, the sacredness of nudity is representative of the initiation
of boy ephebe, to manhood hoplite. Nudity, also plays an important role in the social
and civic functions of the gymnasium and the symposium because it "marked men's
status as citizens of the polis and as Greeks."21 It follows that nudity had significance
because of the religious and social contexts of ancient Greece. Nudity embodied a
powerful sacredness and signified aristocratic nobility.
It is ironic that a modem eye accustomed to seeing the heroic nudity of
ancient Greek statuary unpainted cannot experience its intended impression because
the archaic kouroi were originally painted.
Male flesh was probably painted red or brown for the earlier figures,
including kouroi,...Female flesh was probably whitened and on the later
males there was no doubt still some tinting. All this apart from the
obvious painting of hair, eyebrows, eyes, lips, nipples, pubic hair... The
colours may have been intense, and in the brilliant sunlight would have
been muted, but it is hard to say how easily we could have judged
subtleties of carving, let alone the texture or finish, on the originally
This effect may seem unusual for the modem admirer because we are used to seeing
the pure look of white marble of ancient Greek sculpture, and the whiteness of
classical stone sculpture is usually regarded as suggesting idealized form/ This fact
is initially hard to overcome for modem admirers, because we associate the whiteness
of ancient Greek sculpture with the aesthetic principles characteristic of ancient
Greece such as objectivity, formality, balance, simplicity, restraint, etc. For as this
thesis will discover those notions of classicism are found not because of the whiteness
of the sculpture, but because of how the dense marble was sculpted with heroic
nudity, free-standing rigid stance, and monumental size. We will also discover that
the archaic kouroi form will change from its stark and stylized forms, to a softened
and more naturalistic study of the human body in the following century. In the next
section, some of the general observations of the early classical kouros known as the
Kritios Boy and his unique stylistic changes compared to the archaic kouros will be
The Kritios Bov
The early classical kouros, Kritios Boy (fig. 1.5), epitomizes the stylistic
transition that evolved in the human figure from the archaic to the classical eras.
Many have noted the significance the dramatic shift from sixth-century to fifth-
century Greek sculpture represents; it is captured in nearly every scholarly work
concerning the beginnings of western art. A slight bend in the knee, a twist in the
hips, the head turned slightly to the right, all suggest a departure from Kritios Boy's
archaic predecessors, these changes represent what many have called either the
Greek revolution, or the awakening, where life is breathed into an otherwise lifeless
body. As art historian, E.H. Gombrich had observed in Art and Illusion concerning
the dramatic transition in artistic climate from the sixth-century to the end of fifth-
century Greece, in terms of the episode from The Sleeping Princess when the kiss
of the prince breaks the thousand-year-old spell and the whole court begins to stir
from the rigours of unnatural sleep.24 Yet, the Kritios Boy remains enveloped by
mystery and controversy, and scholars debate the novelty of this enigmatic and
The most distinguishing characteristic of the Kritios Boy that makes him
famous is his pose. The sculptor's substantial break with the frontality and rigidity of
Fig. 1.5 Kritios Boy, c.490-480 B.C.E. Marble; height 86 cm.
Athens, National Museum. Photo: Hirmer Fotoarchiv, Munich.
previous kouroi gave rise to the prime example of the stylistic transition of the formal
developments in the human figure. The body has fluidity and softness as opposed to
the rigidity of the archaic kouros. The sculptor's decision to play with the
musculature is unparalleled in antiquity. Consider as an illustration the fact that the
hips are slanted to the right due to the right leg advancing forward with the left leg
back. As a result, the torso, back and buttocks naturally reflect the weight shift in the
body. The torso adjusts with a slight curvature in the back, and the "buttock of the
weight-bearing leg must be taut and higher, and that of the relaxed leg slack and
lower."25 (fig. 1.6). The head is turned slightly to the right and downward with soft
facial features, which has prompted scholars to suggest that the statue looks inward
and displays self-consciousness. The statue invites you to wonder at its story as an
expressive narrative. Kritios Boy has more in common stylistically with the high
classical period than with the archaic kouros. In addition to the pose, the unknown
sculptor gives surprising attention to detail that is more characteristic of bronze than
marble statuary. The originally polished marble surface, the fluid musculature, and
the elaborate hairstyle all point to this distinction.26 For example, the weight of the
hair pushes the tips of the ears slightly down and outward, and there are small wisps
of hair clinging to the neck in fig. 1.7. Although the eyes are missing, they probably
Fig. 1.6 Side view of Kritios Boy, c. 480 B.C., at the Acropolis Museum.
Fig. 1.7 Kritios Boy, back of left side of neck. Photo: J. Hurwit.
would have been made out of glass paste that was also used in bronze statues for a
more life-like effect. The attention to detail is another reason scholars tend to believe
that the Kritios Boy was indeed sculpted by Kritios or someone from his workshop.
Thus, one can now understand why literature concerning the beginning of western art
refers to the Kritios Boy as 'unfrozen,' or how it is "like a sigh of relief for the history
of art, as if artists, statues, and art historians alike could now, somehow, relax."27
The Kritios Boy now stands as one unified sculpture. However, its pieces were
assembled over a period of 23 years in the mid to late 19th century. The torso was
found first on the Athenian Acropolis during excavations between 1865-1866 (fig.
1.8), without a head, forearms, hands, and feet. The Kritios Boy's head was found in
1888 by an archeologist named Kavvadias along the south wall of the Acropolis.28
At 1.167 meters the size of the statue is roughly two-thirds or three-quarters life size,
depending on one's conception of life-size for an early fifth-century youth.29 The
fmdspot of the sculpture itself is important because of its speculated date. The Kritios
Boy must have been dedicated on the Athenian Acropolis, where the various parts of
his body were found.
However, it is safe to say that the Kritios Boy was dedicated around 480
B.C.E. The exact date has been debated among scholars. The two main theories are
that Kritios Boy was dedicated before the Persians sacked Athens, and that they
decapitated him by axe or some other kind of blunt object, severing his head with
Fig. 1.8 19th Century photograph of Acropolis. N. Catsimpoolas Collection, Boston.
On the right is the torso of the Kritios Boy.
several sharp blows. Alternatively, the Kritios Boy may have been dedicated after the
Persian war and was decapitated by the Athenians themselves in the midst of the
rebuilding of the Acropolis by the Periklean building program.30 Either way, the
statue still remains a mystery. Traditionally, the former theory has been followed.
Yet, the latter seems to have more support among scholars today including Pollitt,
Hurwit, Ridgeway and Carpenter.
With the date around 480 B.C.E. generally established, the Kritios Boy's name
creates another puzzle. The original name is lost to us. Scholars have discerned from
the style and formal qualities that he was linked to the two early classical sculptors,
Kritios and Nesiotes. His stylistic resemblance to the Tyrannicides group,
Aristogeiton and Harmodios (fig. 1.9), an ensemble made by Kritios and Nesiotes led
scholars to believe the Kritios Boy came from the workshop of Kritios, hence his
modem name. Although, attribution is disputed because Aristogeiton and Harmodios
are Roman copies of the original fifth-century figures and thus their style may be
deceptive. None of the original Greek sculptures by Kritios or Nesiotes remain.
Furthermore, Kritios only worked in bronze, and considering that the Kritios Boy is
marble raises questions and problems with attributing him to Kritios. If Kritios was
not the artist, then it is still possible that the artist who created this sculpture "may at
least have been influenced by his style, and at most have come out of his
Fig. 1.9 The Tyrannicides of Kritios and Nesiotes (Roman copies), Naples,
Museo Nazionalc (as exhibited in National Museum, Athens, 1985). Photo: J.
workshop.Still, almost all literature reviewed on the subject maintains that the
name Kritios Boy is best for lack of a better attribute.
Since marble is what makes part of this Greek sculpture enigmatic for
Acropolis dedications, it should then be discussed in conjunction with its purpose.
The front of the torso is shiny from polished marble, while the back is pockmarked
and pitted probably weathered from time. Weathering and the way the sculpture was
buried may account for this, but what is of importance is why marble would have
been used as opposed to bronze. As Andrew Stewart noted:
The Greeks derived their word for marble, marmaros, from marmairein,
meaning to shine or sparkle. Marble is a sparkling stone, and bodies
carved in it would naturally appear rocklike, hard and brilliant. Since
"hard," "shining," and "brilliant" were powerful epithets in the Greek
poetic vocabulary of praise, helping to make both gods and heroes
"wonder to see," a marble body would naturally take on these
connotations, dazzling the gaze and impressing the mind with its solidity
If the Kritios Boy was viewed as a "wonder to see", what was the purpose of this
youthful kouros in his mid-teens? The purpose of the sculpture is debated along with
all the other aspects of the Kritios Boy; however, he was traditionally believed to be a
victorious athlete from the Panathenaic Games.
More recently, he is thought to represent the hero Theseus because Kritios
Boys hair or coiffure is representative of early classical style due to a ring that
continuously holds 22 bundles of hair securely around the young boy's head (see fig.
1.7). This particular hairstyle is "reserved for heroes or gods, and usually not for
athletes who typically wore fillets or wreaths as symbols of their athletic arete
(excellence)." Also, the traditional view of Kritios Boy as a Panatheniac victor was
suggested by the archaeologist, Furtwangler, who also was responsible for putting the
incorrect head on the Kritios Boy. It can be also argued that Theseus was always
portrayed in Attic sculpture as slim, beardless, and as an "ephebe", a boy in his mid
teens like the Kritios Boy.
Either as victor or hero, the Kritios Boy represents the most culturally
powerful ideal of the human figure of his day. In this sense, he is analogous to the
archaic kouros. The archaic kouros expressed aristocratic ideals such as beauty,
nobility, formality, and permanence. Its unique stylized form suggested transcendence
over mutabilities in life. Similarly, the early classical kouros, Kritios Boy, embodies
the same strong ideals. Stewart concisely points out:
Greek art sought to produce an abstract image of the perfect man, rooted
in empirical observation but purified of the less palatable aspects of
human condition. Naked gods represented the apotheosis of this ideal;
naked heroes retrojected it into Homers world; naked athletes presented it
in contemporary form; naked charioteers symbolized it; and naked
warriors were heroizing...34
Ancient Greeks did not go about everyday life without clothes. In private life,
nakedness was reserved for the symposium. In public life, it was reserved for bathing
and athletics. Thus, nudity in sculpture symbolically upheld a culturally powerful
ideal that differentiated the subject from the ordinary.
In short, the Kritios Boy typifies the beautifully athletic youthful body prized
by early fifth-century Greek culture. He must have captivated the viewer with his
polished, shiny and tan flesh, realistic eyes, and perhaps auburn hair to signify his
godlike status exuding what the ancient Greeks called "agalma." Agalma means to
delight and applies to the rich splendor and brilliance that the Kritios Boy projected in
antiquity, most likely for the purpose of pleasing the gods as a dedicatory offering on
the Athenian Acropolis. Andrew Stewart states that:
The sculptor's aim is to create a perfect object of male desire: what we
ourselves would each ideally want to be. Well-fleshed, well-muscled, and
the right age to be an eromenos or 'beloved,' it appeals to what has been
called the glance's fetishistic, even narcissistic component which, so far
from keeping aloof from what it wants to be at one with it and emulate
In light of these general observations about the Kritios Boy, the question remains:
why is he stylistically so different from his archaic predecessors? The differences
between the archaic kouros and the Kritios Boy are notable, even traditionally thought
of as revolutionary. The stylistic break has been characteristically described as a
movement from the frozen, rigid, or schematic, to unfrozen, realistic, and naturalistic.
Whichever term one chooses to describe this dramatic shift, it must be noted that the
Kritios Boy's purpose was not to represent a real human figure. Rather, it was
intended to present a cultural ideal of the human figure. Greek sculpture is not
intended to reflect ordinary everyday life, but a fantasy or "metaphorical constructs
intended to express a particular politics of truth about the human condition."36 If this
is the case, scholars like J.J. Pollitt have noted that the unique stylization of the
archaic kouros symbolically represented the ancient Greek search for a kosmos. The
intellectual and artistic climate of the sixth-century dealt with mutabilities of life by
searching for a way to transcend this anxiety. Presocratics "looked for something
permanent, persisting through the chaos of apparent change. Thus, the archaic
kouros parallels the Presocratic movement in its unique stylization and rhythmos.
The Kritios Bov, on the other hand, expresses part of the human condition that
was not captured by the archaic kouros. As opposed to the emotional impassivity of
his archaic predecessors, Kritios Boy looks contemplative and expresses a self-
consciousness that had not been seen before. The Kritios Boy reflects on the
mutabilities of life through his naturalism and softness expressed in human form.
Specifically, the head turned slightly to the right, fluid play with musculature, and
slight twist in the hips all suggest a display of self-consciousness not present in
archaic kouroi. Something changed, however, when moving from the artistic and
intellectual climates of sixth to fifth-century B.C.E. At this time, the Greek city
states, and perhaps Greek psyches, were filled with the stress of warfare, politics, the
integration of different cultures and skepticism. Philosophers began to question
human life and conduct rather than the universe or the world around them. The
reaction against the Presocratic philosophers was a revolt of common sense against
the incomprehensibility of the world as the physicists present it.38 Scholars have
called this a turn towards humanism or the real enlightenment in early to mid fifth-
century Greek thought. Along with this newly awakened artistic climate rose the
dawn of a humanism that birthed the beginning of Socratic philosophy. Thus, the
Kritios Boy, being the earliest and best preserved free-standing sculpture is
considered to be the turning point of the stylistic change from archaic to the classical
period in art. Yet, in order to accurately present the chronology of the human figure in
Greek art, we cannot end with the Kritios Boy. We must examine, Polykleitos'
Doryphoros, the Greek sculpture that the rest of future art would be measured or
rebelled against to complete the circle of the most famous three statues that frame the
beginning of western art history.
To follow chronologically the stylistic developments of the human figure in
the history of Western art would not be complete if we did not include Polykleitos'
Doryphoros (fig. 1.10). Generally, the archaic kouros, the Kritios Boy and the
Doryphoros are the most commonly studied sculptures because they embodied the
supreme values of ideal male beauty, balance, nobility, athleticism, heroism and
restraint. For this reason, a brief survey will only be included of the Doryphoros as
was done with the two former statues to complete historically what scholars view as
the final stage in the evolution of Greek sculpture of the human figure.
Surrounding Polykleitos' Doryphoros, like the Kritios Boy thirty to forty years
before him, are many unanswered questions. The Doryphoros, meaning "spear
bearer," is a marble Roman copy in place of the bronze original sculpture. The
original name is unknown as well as the place where this freestanding statue might
have stood in antiquity. Nonetheless, the Doryphoros remains throughout the history
of western art as the supreme symbol of the perfect physique. There are several
reasons why this particular statue created by the Argive sculptor, philosopher, and
Fig. 1.10 Doryphoros from Pompeii (Naples, Museo Nazionale 6011) Munich Cast.
Photo: H. Glockler
theoretician, Polykleitos, has been so widely admired for centuries; and they will be
discussed further detail in the following paragraphs. To give a short synopsis, it was
specifically his treatise called the Kanon or "rules" that set him apart from his
sculptor contemporary, Pheidias. Polykleitos applied a new standard to be respected
with the Kanon and set forth rules on "how to create the ideal physique in bronze or
stone, using a system of mathematical calculations."39 Unfortunately, the original text
has been lost to us, but there are some fragments left. Most famously is the fragment
that states, "beauty comes about from many numbers."40 This fragment is key to
understanding Polykleitos' sculptures as will be discussed in more detail.
Considered one of the first of high classical bronzes, interestingly, the
Doryphoros shares many similarities with the archaic kouroi. The Doryphoros stands
"at over six and a half feet tall, it would have towered over the average adult Greek
male by a foot."41 It has a height ratio of 1:7, or seven heads tall, which is a pattern
unique to the monumental size of the archaic kouros. Another common characteristic
is the "standing-walking" stance that both the Doryphoros and Archaic kouros share:
they both give the impression of stepping forward, yet are frozen in time. Also, the
Dotyphoros' expressionless face, devoid of emotion, is a reminder of the
characteristic 'archaic smile.' Lastly, the block like "foursquare" physique closely
resembles the frontality of the archaic kouros rather than the softer two-dimensional
anatomy of the early classical period.
The similarities between Polykleitos' Doryphoros and the ancient Greek
tradition of the kouroi point to the spear bearer being part of this heroic "warrior"
genre. In the beginning of this thesis, the importance of heroic nudity was discussed.
As you may have noted, there were a few exceptions however in which the nude
kouros wore a helmet, belt or boots. These exceptions signify that those particular
kouroi are spear bearers, known in the sixth and fifth-centuries as the bodyguards of
tyrants and "barbarian" kings (fig. 1.11).42 Although Polykleitos' Doryphoros displays
a complete heroic nudity without the typical warrior attire, his left-handed fingers curl
around a now lost spear. He is still considered amongst the group of statues dating to
the high classical period around 450-440 B.C.E.
The question still remains where this particular spear bearer might have stood,
or whom exactly he represented. There are speculations, however, that may help to
explain some of the mystery surrounding the Doryphoros. For example, J.J. Pollitt
suggests that "The Doryphoros is recorded to have been a kind of display piece made
as an illustration of Polykleitos' Canon, but it too probably stood in some public place
as part of a votive or sepulchral monument."43 And the scholars Robin Osborne and
Andrew Stewart both mention with uncertainty that the Doryphoros may have been
the mythological hero, Achilles. Without any direct evidence though, both scholars
note the importance of keeping with its generic title of spear bearer.
Fig. 1.11 On the left, Warrior from Olympia, c. 700. Bronze; height 23.3 cm. Olympia
Museum. Photo: Deutsches Archaologisches Institut, Athens. On the right, Doryphoros by
Polykleitos of Argos, (Roman copy); bronze original, c. 440. Marble; height 1.99 m. Naples,
Museo Nazionale. Photo: Deutsches Archaologisches Institut, Rome.
Most importantly, what makes Polykleitos' Doryphoros so renowned, and so
frequently replicated a sculpture throughout time, is its rhythmos and symmetric*.
Rhythmos and symmetric/ are the two most notable characteristics that make the
Doryphoros admired by so many in subsequent ages. Polykleitos' Kanon expounded
upon a theoretical system to represent the perfect human physique in sculpture based
on the principle of symmetric/ or "commensurability of parts in art."44 Polykleitos
was considered the first to devise such a system based on mathematical calculations
that aimed at creating the eu or 'the perfect' or 'the good.'
As we know with archaic kouroi and Egyptian sculptural practices preceding
them, the sculptor aimed at representing the male figure through symmetric/ or
proportion using a grid system. Polykleitos sought this same aim as did his
predecessors; but Polykleitos is known as being the first to express to eu as 'the
perfect' or 'the good" and to kallos as 'the beautiful' through written laws.45 Never
before had a sculptor inspired written laws regarding the perfect anatomy through
geometry in sculptural practices. Polykleitos' aim was not only to express perfect
proportions, but in doing so to express a Greek humanistic ideal. Ancient Greek
philosophers such as Aristotle took notice in Metaphysics Book XIII:
Now since the good and the beautiful are different (for the former always
implies conduct as its subject, while the beautiful is found also in
motionless things), those who assert that the mathematical sciences say
nothing of the beautiful or the good are in error. For these sciences say
and prove a great deal about them; if they do not expressively mention
them, but prove attributes are their results or their definitions, it is not true
to say that they tell us nothing about them. The chief forms of beauty are
order and symmetry and definiteness, which the mathematical sciences
demonstrate in a special degree.46
Polykleitos' Doryphoros was the prime example of this ideal, not only recognized in
antiquity, but also for centuries to follow. Furthermore, he has earned the title,
"Father of Art Theory" in the western European artistic tradition for originating such
Even though Polykleitos' Canon is lost to us, except for a few fragments, one
can discern from studying the Doryphoros that it contains a visible harmony, meaning
that there are opposing forces at work with separate parts of the body that create a
harmonized whole. For example, the Doryphoros' straight weight-bearing right leg is
counterbalanced by the bent left arm carrying the spear. The bent left leg is
counterbalanced by the straight right arm, the heightened left hip opposes the raised
right knee, and the head is turned slightly to the right while the body twists to the left
(fig. 1.12).48 This counterbalancing or harmonizing of opposing parts is referred to as
a chiastic balance. Although it is not known numerically how these proportions were
measured, Polykleitos' stylistic invention is easily recognized through all copied
Scholars have conjectured and speculated as to where Polykleitos might have
gotten his inspiration for the innovative system of symmetria. There is an obvious
Fig. 1.12 On the left, left profile of Minneapolis Doryphoros. In the middle, back view of
Minneapolis Doryphoros, and on the right, right profile of Minneapolis Doryphoros. Photo:
The Minneapolis Institute of Art.
and evident link between Polykleitos' use of numbers to express the beautiful or the
good and the Presocratic philosopher, Pythagoras. First, it has been theorized that
Pythagoras, the sculptor, may have been the mentor and predecessor to Polykleitos.
This Early Classical sculptor was known to have captured in his bronze statues
Presocratic Pythagorean principles of symmetria through mathematically expressible
proportion. Pythagoras the sculptor also left the Eastern Greek island of Samos in
496 B.C.E., as did the philosopher, Pythagoras, before him around 532 B.C.E.49
Secondly, Pythagoreanism, like other Presocratic schools of thought, sought to
explain the universe around them. Rather than questioning the arche or the
beginning source in terms of what the world is made up of through scientific
inquiry, the Pythagoreans understood numbers as the key to understanding the
universe. "Mathematics was of central importance" to Pythagoras as Spivey states,
He taught that numbers (arithmoi) were built into the nature of all things,
so that everything could be expressed numerically, including the ultimate
philosophical goal of'attunement,' or harmonia.50
Pythagoras believed that mathematical ratios or harmonies, like those found in a
music scale, could bring a rational, intelligible order to the world and all living things.
Yet, their inquiry was religious in nature and rooted in metaphysical ideas.
The core beliefs of Pythagorean thought consisted of immortality, the
transmigration of the soul into other bodies (even animals), cyclical reoccurrence of
events, and most importantly, that all living things and the universe are from the same
source.51 They identified themselves with a living cosmos, and considered the
universe to be a kosmos or ordered whole. Pythagoras believed the universe and
human beings to be one in the same, and thus a kosmos in miniature. They strove to
live by philosophical principles of kosmos, whereby order, limit, and harmony of
opposites represented goodness and well being of the soul. Too coincidental to
ignore, many scholars have noted this uncanny reference to Pythagorean thought and
its philosophical influence in Polykleitos' creations.
Although Polykleitos may have followed the tradition that originated with
Pythagorean thought, his Doryphoros still presents us with a remarkable stylistic
transformation from the Kritios Boy and the archaic kouros. Pollitt noted that in
spite of his strongly traditional interests,
The goal his system of symmetria was to describe an ideal nature in man,
as in the sculptures of the Parthenon. He also concentrated on
harmonizing opposing forces. What the Parthenon artists did with light
and shade, with substance and impression, with the knowable and the
apparent, Polykleitos did with theoretical proportions and the eyes
perception of them: he developed a form in which the commensurability
which one knew to exist was also felt or sensed to exist.
Therefore, the Doryphoros, for these many reasons already mentioned, is perhaps the
most famously discussed and copied sculpture in the history of western European art.
In conclusion, the archaic kouros, the Kritios Boy, and the Doryphoros mark
an extraordinary artistic climate in Greek antiquity. By examining these sculptures
in their original context, connections between their unique characteristics and
aesthetic principles that are characteristic to ancient Greece have been constructed.
Each sculpture expressed stylistically combined notions of order, fitness, balance,
beauty and harmony of what made fifth-century Greece an unprecedented period of
time in history. As discussed, mathematics, literature, philosophy and religion all had
some influence on the expression of these notions; and the end result was an
evolution of statues of the human figure that the world has been influenced by and
has inspired subsequent ages. We know that not only did fifth-century Greece
experience stylistic change in art, but also a transformation of Athens political and
social spheres as well. Taking this into consideration, the next chapter examines that
complexity and its various dimensions by investigating what was the catalyst for
change from the archaic kouros, to the Kritios Boy and lastly, to the Doryphoros.
THE CATALYST FOR STYLISTIC CHANGE IN SCULPTURE
Theories Regarding the Evolution of the Human Figure in Ancient
Greek Art from Archaic to High Classical Period
In the previous chapter, the archaic kouroi, the Kritios Boy, and Polykleitos'
Doryphoros were explored in their original context. This thesis examined in detail
the origins and meaning of each sculpture to show the relationship between their form
and function and the aesthetic principles that are characteristic of ancient Greece.
Yet, from what source did these aesthetic principles that were expressed creatively
through sculpture come? Also, what specifically were the influences that acted as
catalysts for the stylistic transformation between these three sculptures? As stated, the
influence of mathematics, which we have seen especially with Polykletios'
Doiyphoros, expressed such notions as beauty, order, and balance of proportions to
create harmony. Philosophy, too, had mirrored the expression of these notions from
dealing on the one hand with the Presocratic concerns of the nature and origins of the
world at large; and on the other hand, philosophers like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle
turned their attention to human life and conduct. Scholars see this philosophical
transition towards humanism paralleled first in the Kritios Boy, and continuing
throughout fifth-century art. In addition the ancient Greek discovery of the narrative
form in literature from Homer's epics to Athenian tragic drama has been credited as
one of the main catalysts for the stylistic changes in sculpture. It is all too simple to
state that just these three elements have caused such a dramatic change in art, for this
period in history is far more complex. Warfare, politics, economics, and religion
triggered by the rise of Athens as an imperial power all had an immense influence on
the arts. For these reasons this complexity will be explored in its various dimensions
by illustrating two schools of thought at work in interpreting the dramatic stylistic
changes of the human figure from sixth to fifth-century Greek sculpture. Thereby,
the investigation of these two interrelated theories will set the stage for greater
understanding of the causality and influences that were expressed through sculpture.
The first theory falls in line with the work of art historian J.J. Pollitt. Pollitt
follows an art-historical tradition originating with Johann Winkelmann (1717-68),
and later associated with German scholars like G.W.F. Hegel and Heinrich Wofflin.
This tradition chooses to understand the change in art within cultural contexts and
may be considered by some idealistic in its analysis. Pollitt suggests in Art and
Experience in Classical Greece that the naval victory over the Persians at Salamis in
480 B.C.E. (not coincidentally the same date given the Kritios Boy) and its aftermath
led to the rise of the citizen's pride and self-confidence, as well as uncertainty,
anxiety, and tensions.53 Pollitt attributes the stylistic shift from the archaic kouroi to
the Kritios Boy and the Doiyphoros to this victorious moment. He states,
It seems something more than a natural evolution from what had gone on
in the Archaic period and should perhaps be ascribed to both a new self
confidence and a new uneasiness which arose among many thoughtful
Greeks in the wake of the Persian wars.54
Likewise, Kurt Raaflaub observes in Democracy, Empire, and the Arts in Fifth-
Century Athens, "The poor condition of sources, the changes that happened in Athens,
especially between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars, in the political, military,
economic, social, and religious spheres" all had an influence not only on the arts, but
on all of society in fifth-century Greece.55 Because of the amount of change and
transformation that Athens experienced, this dramatic shift was more than just a
natural evolution from one style of sculpture to the next.
Thus, fifth-century art reflected the experience that the Greek world was
undergoing. In turn, the stylistic developments of the sculpture also mirrored
philosophy and literature. Beginning with philosophy, we know that the archaic
kouroi paralleled the Presocratic movement. At the basis, was the Presocratic search
for an order to explain the universe and how man is to understand the world, but
underneath this quest for kosmos or rational order lies a psychological need to relieve
anxiety. Pollitt notes: anxiety prompted by the apparent irrationality of experience
and the drive to allay this anxiety by finding order which explains experience had a
profound effect upon Greek art...56 The intellectual and artistic climates of sixth-
century B.C.E. Greece were essentially looking for formal qualities to transcend their
own anxiety and fear about the uncertainty of the human condition in the face of a
chaotic or ever-changing world. Both the sculpture and philosophy dealt with this
apparent mutability by searching for a way to transcend this anxiety. Presocratic
philosophy did this by searching for a kosmos and sculptors paralleled this same
search by creating the uniquely stylized archaic kouroi.
Scholars see the philosophical transition towards humanism of fifth-century
art first paralleled in the Kritios Boy. For as Jeffrey Hurwit observed, ...the Kritios
Boy is the earliest extant, well-preserved, free-standing sculpture to break
fundamentally with the formula of the automaton-like archaic kouros. The body is an
organism now, not a mechanism...57 This philosophical turn towards humanism
came with a class of teachers who were not of a philosophic tradition per se.
However they were called the Sophists or Sophistes, which means practitioners of
wisdom. The sophistic contributions were threefold: participation in politics,
questioning of the Presocratics, and skepticism. They questioned the possibility of
absolute knowledge and had a mistrust of anything that was considered to be known
in the absolute sense.
Socrates (470 B.C.E.- 399 B.C.E.) is sometimes thought of as coming from
the sophistic tradition. Yet he certainly would have not considered himself a Sophist,
and is known for his great dislike of them in Platos dialogues. Socrates had also
studied the Presocratic philosophers and was initially impressed with their
questioning of the world around them, which was evident in Plato's dialogue the
Phaedo.59 Socrates knew, however, that turning attention to human life and conduct
instead of following Presocratic philosophy was what really mattered. For he is
known to have engaged in philosophical discussions about human life and conduct
with interlocutors from politicians to priests in the Athenian agora. The goal was the
same for Socrates even though his interlocutors may have not been aware of it the
goal was to ask such questions that Socrates is so famous for in Platos dialogues like:
What is good? What is justice? What is piety? What is courage? His aim was to
challenge the absolutism of their knowledge of particular concepts. As the existential
philosopher, Merleau-Ponty states In Praise of Philosophy,
The irony of Socrates is not to say less in order to win an advantage in
showing great mental power, or in suggesting some esoteric knowledge.
Whenever I convince anyone of his ignorance, the Apology says with
melancholy, my listeners imagine that I know everything that he does not
know. Socrates does not know any more than they know. He knows only
that there is no absolute knowledge, and that it is by this absence that we
are open to the truth.60
Socrates claimed he knew nothing. Yet, he did know that virtue or moral excellence
lay in the questioning of knowledge. Socrates sought to make men better by urging
them to examine critically ones own knowledge. He thought that,
If men could be taught to see clearly their real interests, to see afar the
distant results of their deeds, to criticize and coordinate their desires out of
a self-canceling chaos into a purposive and creative harmony-this,
perhaps, would provide for the educated and sophisticated man...61
This philosophical thinking that Socrates and the Sophists preceding him had
purported had been termed by scholars as humanistic thought or the enlightenment
in early to mid-fifth century thought.
As the rise of humanistic thought influenced philosophy, it also influenced
literary expressions as well as artistic ones. As shown previously, one consistent
subject or motif seen throughout this fifth-century sculpture was the introduction of
wholly convincing images of mankind like the Kritios Boy and Polykleitos
Dorphoros compared to their archaic brothers. Ancient Greek discovery of the
narrative form in literature from Homers epics to Athenian tragic drama had been
credited as one of the main catalysts for the stylistic changes in sculptures along with
humanistic thought in philosophy. Specifically, scholars who have considered this
influence on art, the Homeric hero in the Iliad and Odyssey, have suggested that it
was the narrative style in which Homer chose to tell the story. In fact, E.H. Gombrich
credits the stylistic changes in sculpture between the archaic and classical periods
(traditionally termed the Greek revolution) to the ancient Greek discovery of the
narrative form of literature. He puts forth the hypothesis that when classical sculptors
and artists discovered the character of Greek narration, they set up a chain reaction
which transformed the methods of representing the human body-and indeed more
than that.63 His theory admits that the Homeric freedom of narration was as
necessary as was the acquired skill of craftsmanship to open the way for the Greek
revolution.64 Spivey described this unique influence of Homers narrative style when
From Homer onwards, the poets and dramatists of Greece favored
mimesis, or imitation. Their stories were almost invariably mythical, yet
they peopled these myths with believable characters: rounded characters
described as if actively alive, using direct speech. Was Homer himself
present when his heroes Achilles and Hector shouted challenges at each
other and joined combat? Of course not. Yet the poet relates exactly what
happened on that distant occasion with all the enthusiasm and immediacy
of an on-the-spot reporter.65
These character-protagonists of Homeric epics were the most widely influential
heroic role models in ancient time. The heroes and warrior-kings of Homers Iliad
and the Odyssey were the inspiration for the life-like and life-size living statues of
young males, for they encompassed an heroic ideal that included courage, nobility,
and exploits, especially in war. Yet both Pollitt and Spivey agree that the influence of
these heroes was not just because they displayed these heroic qualities, but because
they also displayed a human side conscious of their own human condition as seen in
the Kritios Boy and Polykleitos Doryphoros66 Pheidias for example, a
contemporary sculptor of Polykleitos most known for his Parthenon sculptures,
modeled his sculptures not from human models but from Homers Iliad.61
Homer, in short, had created a cultural framework that gave ancient Greeks a
way to deal with mutabilities in life. Homeric heroes confronted forces that appear to
be beyond human understanding. Moreover, they provided a personal ideal to be
striven for or imitated to the best of ones abilities. For there is abundant evidence
that immersion in the Homeric poems formed the Greek males education, as Angela
Hobbs noted in Plato and the Hero,
Both Xenophanes and Plato himself, for example, refer to Homer as the
teacher of Greece, and in Xenophanes Symposium a certain Niceratus
recounts how his father, wishing him to become a good man, made him
leam the entire Homeric corpus; even now, he says, he can still recite the
Iliad and Odyssey by heart. Nor was the point of such close study simply
to cultivate ones aesthetic sensibilities: the poems were commonly
regarded as repositories of ethical and perhaps even technical wisdom,
practical manuals for a gentlemans life.68
Homer had reached canonical status even in ancient times. To offer another example
of Homers widespread influence, Alexander the Great kept a copy of the Iliad under
his pillow on all of his campaigns.69 It was because of this appeal that sculptors
wanted to capture it in their statues, students studied it as practical manuals for a
gentlemans life, leaders like Alexander the Great were obsessed with it, and Attic
tragedians drew from the Homeric tradition to compose their own works.
Attic tragedians like Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides captured the heroic
ideal in poetic tragedy. These ancient Greek tragedians represent a very particular
historical situation that occurred within the fifth-century and helped articulate and
express conflicts within Athens political and social spheres.70 They drew upon
Homers Epic Cycle, or series of subsequent epics. What the characters of the
tragedians share with Homers is the capacity for making oneself do things in the
face of desire or disruptive feelings, whether it is mere endurance in the face of
suffering imposed on one, or the suffering undergone in the interests of ethical
action. Ethical action being the key notion at work here. For gods and fate shaped
the world around human beings and they were helpless against these mysterious
forces that could not be controlled. "The Greeks knew and felt the terror and horror
of existence, as Nietzsche noted in The Birth of Tragedy,
That he might endure this terror at all, he had to interpose between himself
and life the radiant dream-birth of the Olympians. That overwhelming
display in the face of the titanic powers of nature, the Moira (fate)
enthroned inexorably over all knowledge, the vulture of the great lover of
mankind, Prometheus, the terrible fate of the wise Oedipus, the family
curse of the Atridae which drove Orestes to matricide: in short, that entire
philosophy of the sylvan god, with its mythical exemplars, which caused
the downfall of the melancholy Etruscans-all this was again and again
overcome by the Greeks with the aid of the Olympian middle world of art;
or at any rate it was veiled and withdrawn from sight. It was in order to be
able to live that the Greeks had to create these gods from the most
It is for this reason that Nietzsche so eloquently stated in this passage, that artistic
expressions sought to transcend this terrifying view of the world and suffering
through recourse to the most forceful and pleasurable illusions.73
Yet, this is also where the tragedians differ in respect to Homer. The
Tragedians as evident in Aeschylus Prometheus Bound and Sophocles Antigone, as
did the Sophist movement, followed a more subjective line of thinking in interpreting
personal experience and values.74 As opposed to Presocratic thinkers in the archaic
period that were concerned with more cosmological interpretations, the tragedians as
was Socrates, Plato and Aristotle concerned themselves with mans personal
subjective experience which became the standard by which judgments about the
nature of existence, knowledge, and ethics were to be made.75 Scholars note that
this transformation in fifth-century Greece as a cultural evolution, which emphasized
the progression of mankind that were more consumed with human institutions, human
endeavors, and human achievements.76 This influence is most notable in sculpture as
shown from the archaic kouros to the classic sculptures, Kritios Boy and Doryphoros
as Pollitt suggests,
Greek sculpture in the Classical period, and the Parthenon sculptures in
particular, show a tendency toward subjectivism in the design of sculptural
form, that is, a tendency to think of sculptures not only as hard, real
objects known by touch and by measurement but also as impressions, as
something which is in the process of change, a part of a flux of experience,
bounded not by solidity and hard edges but by flickering shadows and
almost undiscemable transitions.
We can see this line of thinking especially in the dialogues of Plato. Platos
Protagoras, Theatetus, and most notably evidenced in the Republic, we get the best
sense of this shift towards ethical deliberation from a subjective place. Plato knew
that myth and poetry provided a cultural framework for educating youth, and he also
realized that the gods behaved irrationally. Rather than the perception that gods
controlled human events with undisciplined appetites in the pursuit of pleasure, he
recognized these forces as irrational elements within the soul itself.79 Plato
experienced that the gods and fate were either no longer there or enough to shape the
world around human beings. Therefore, he discovered ethical categories inside the
structure of the soul to control with reason those irrational forces that exist within us.
Bernard Williams stated,
It was invented, it seems, by Plato. The tripartite division of the soul in
the Republic is the earliest full expression of it, and one of the most
extreme. The theory, although it is designed from the beginning with
political ends in view, is presented as a psychological model. The model
is intended to explain and make intelligible certain kinds of psychical
conflict, and it is central to it that only some kinds of psychic conflict
demand the explanatory distinctions it offers. The divisions of the soul are
invoked, basically, to describe and explain conflicts between two kinds of
motive: rational concerns aimed at the good, and mere desire...Conflicting
desires have just one location, a department of the soul that will indeed be
chronically at war with itself unless order is brought to it by the superior,
rational part...reason operates as a distinctive part of the soul only to
extend that it controls, dominates, or rises above the desires.80
Homer had depicted humans as largely powerless against irrational forces. It was
through Platos Republic that man was seen to exert control over psychical conflict
(irrational forces) through logos or reason. Plato presented the ancient Greeks with a
psychological model as a new framework to free oneself from tyrannical drives and
seek harmonious relationships with the self and the world.81 Homer, the tragedians,
and Plato had each in their respective ways analyzed, described, and written about
internal and external struggles in human existence that influenced Greek sculpture in
a profound and unprecedented way.
Therefore, these literary and philosophical expressions and concepts of
Homer, the tragedians, and Plato reinforce parallels with the stylistic changes in
sculpture. In contrast to offering a more idealistic analysis though, recent scholarship
adopts a pragmatic approach arguing that technological advancements in sculptural
practices account for the stylistic changes between the archaic kouroi, Kritios Boy,
and Polykleitos Doryphoros. Moreover, C.H. Hallett is not suggesting in The
Origins of the Classical Style in Sculpture that we cease using important
philosophical, literary and political developments to examine stylistic changes. On
the contrary, he cautions us not to be solely dependent on an analysis that interprets
ancient Greek sculpture within its cultural context.
In contrast to scholars like J.J. Pollitt, Hallett contends that the aftermath of
the Persian wars does not adequately account for the stylistic changes from the
archaic to the classical period. To characterize the origin of classical art as the result
of philosophical and political influences can be merely an illusion the product of
our limited evidence and inspired historiography.82 According to Hallett, such
conclusions about classical art may impose our own modem ideas on the evidence in
order to make sense out of that which belongs to an ancient culture. The importance
of including some of Halletts more pragmatic approach in exploration of various
theories is that he brings up two pertinent points:
Firstly, all of our evidence suggests that the rational and optimistic
humanism of the Sophistic Enlightenment. by which some have sought
to characterize this whole period, did not penetrate very deeply into Greek
society at Athens. Secondly, it was very short-lived; the extant literature
reveals a very swift decline in confidence.
Hallett joins E.R. Dodds in suggesting that this turn towards humanism did not
penetrate entirely into the mass collective consciousness of the Greek people. The
idealistic spirit of the enlightenment and the Periklean politics of early fifth-century
Athens is a little suspect as a primary cause or explanation for the actual appearance
of classical sculpture.84 To put into perspective how the Athenian public really saw
the turn towards humanism or enlightenment in fifth-century thinking, E.R. Dodds
gives a description:
The most striking evidence of the reaction against the Enlightenment is to
be seen in the successful prosecutions of intellectuals on religious
grounds, which took place at Athens in the last third of the fifth century.
About 432 BCE or a year or two later, disbelief in the supernatural and the
teaching of astronomy were indictable offenses. The next thirty-odd years
witnessed a series of heresy trials which is unique in Athenian
history...But the evidence we have is more than enough to prove that the
Great Age of Greek Enlightenment was also, like our own time, an Age of
Persecution-banishment of scholars, blinkering of thought, and even (if we
can believe the tradition about Protagoras) burning of books.85
It is perhaps for these reasons that Hallett cautions readers and argues for more of a
technological viewpoint. The advent of new techniques such as: the development of
original principles of balance and movements as can be seen in Kritios Boy and the
Doryphoros; the emphatic articulation of the male torso; and the adoption of a better
more neutral facial expression occurred during this time, all aided in the creation of a
more life-like and naturalistic representation of man. Hallett suggests that these new
techniques help explain the dramatic shift that Aeschylus had noted in one of his
Consider whether...this image could more [like] my looks, this Daedalus
reproduction; all it lacks is a voice!, exclaimed a chorus of satyrs
approaching a shrine- this fragment almost certainly comes from a satyr
play...A chorus of satyrs is approaching a shrine, probably the temple of
Poseidon at the Isthmus, singing about some votive offerings that they are
bringing with them. These offerings are... images or likenesses of the
satyrs themselves; and it is clear that they are lost in astonishment at
them...The satyrs are marveling at works of art of some kind, which are
felt to be extraordinarily life-like.86
Also, the experimentation with hollow-caste bronze in early fifth-century free-
standing sculpture enabled artists to express human form in more detail than
previously. As we have seen with the Kritios Boy, his unique transformation may
have been credited to Kritios who had been known to have worked mainly with
bronze. All these technical advances within the artistic tradition itself were set on its
course towards greater naturalism and cannot be ignored as part of the catalyst for the
change in style between the three main statues that frame the beginning of western art
history. Therefore, it would be a mistake not to look at different interpretations in
light of the questions being presently examined in this thesis.
This thesis began by asking: what were the catalysts for stylistic change in
sculpture from the archaic to classical periods in art. In this chapter, parallels were
explored between ancient Greek sculpture, philosophy, literature, technology, and the
influence of social/political spheres. Most importantly, what had remained a constant
theme, along with the wholly convincing images of mankind in classical Greece seen
through the archaic kouros, Kritios Boy, and the Doryphoros, is mans need to search
for meaning. The ancient Greeks achieved this through reason and personal
subjective thinking, while expressing it through various human endeavors like the
sculptures we have discussed. For as Gregory Vlastos best stated in Socrates, Plato,
and Their Tradition:
What is excellence for? What is science for, and art, and every other
value-creating form of human endeavor? I can only answer, for the sake
of human beings-those now living and those yet unbom-whose lives may
be thereby more secure and more free, may be ennobled and enriched.87
Therefore, one is better able to understand the influential factors and motivating
forces shaping the origin and development of the human figure in ancient Greek
If ever a people influenced the ideals and expressions of mankind in so many
ways, it was the Greeks of the sixth and fifth centuries B.C.E. Their legacy left us
with many virtues and values of the human spirit and imagination. Greek antiquity
contemplated human existence and experience, which created an unprecedented ideal
of man that had yet to be so fully realized. Longer histories have existed in other
cultures, but none have left us with so rich a record through its artistic and intellectual
expressions of what man can truly achieve through reason and subjectivity. Hence,
the primary objective of this thesis was to illustrate parallels between artistic and
intellectual climates of sixth and fifth-century ancient Greece and to understand the
motivating forces which shaped classical Greek sculpture. This was best
accomplished by not focusing solely on formal developments, or a fully comparative
history between Greek art, philosophy, literature, and social/political spheres.
Therefore, cultural contexts, like philosophy and literature, speak to us about the
nature of classical experiences and thereby the expression of those experiences, which
were realized through the archaic kouros, Kritios Boy and Polykleitos Dotyphoros.
Each sculpture expressed stylistically classical notions such as restraint, order,
fitness, balance, beauty and harmony which made sixth- and especially fifth-century
Greece an unprecedented period of time in history. Ages like the Italian Renaissance
that followed saw these classical notions as a standard of perfection and a model by
which succeeding developments in European art are to be judged.88 The direction
that the Greek sculptors employed using a more naturalistic representation of the
human figure beginning with the archaic kouros, Kritios Boy and Polykleitos
Doryphoros was remarkable and happened during a very short span of time. Greek
culture was the only culture that had achieved such life-like, like-size statues of the
human figure during this period in history. This thesis investigated why this period in
art history was so unique and what where the catalysts for revolutionary stylistic
changes between the three sculptures. References throughout this paper were made to
ancient Greek philosophy, literature, social and political spheres to show the
motivating and influential forces which shaped Greek sculpture. These particular
aspects of Greek culture were unique in their own right and have in their own genre
stood as a standard by which succeeding developments would be judged. However in
this thesis they were chosen to assist in the understanding of catalystic and
inspirational forces that made the Greek sculpture so impressive and eternal. For as
Pollitt observed in Art and Experience in Classical Greece,
All Greeks were subject to and respected the maxims of the Delphic
oracle: know thyself (i.e. know your limitations) and nothing in
excess. These pleas for restraint and measure, which summed up in the
virtue of sophrosyne (discretion, temperance, self-control), were not, it
should be emphasized, a purely negative prescription. From Hesiod
through Solon to the Classical dramatists and philosophers, such virtures
were presented as the key to right living, to a happiness which was
keeping with mans nature and was divinely sanctioned.89
These values and virtues that have been presented in previous sections of this work as
first expressed through the archaic kouros. However, it was with the advent of the
Kritios Boy and the Dorphoros one ultimately perceives the embodiment of
rhythmos, symmetric/ and sophrosyne in the sculpture.
This thesis explored that extraordinary period in Greek antiquity from which
our contemporary culture was formed through the ancient Greek constant historic
reincarnation of these values and virtues. From the Renaissance onwards, most of the
great names of western art have either submitted themselves to or rebelled with the
advent of modernism against the classical study of the human figure, which
originated with the ancient Greeks. Philosophers and writers of the Renaissance
were also inspired by this extraordinary period in Greek antiquity. Yet, Ancient Greek
accomplishments and qualities continued to be prevalent throughout the ages
following the Renaissance to contemporary society. There are countless artistic
expressions and intellectual pursuits influenced by ancient Greek achievements and
ingenuity found in their Greek art, literature and philosophy. The sheer amount of
imitations and pursuits say something fundamental about the human condition and its
search for meaning through various ways of contemplating, questioning, and
expressing every kind of human emotion and thought.90 It was for this reason that
Greek antiquity needed to be revived and reviewed so that countless others in past
and future generations have and would continue to benefit.
Bernard Williams had stated in Shame and Necessity that the ancient Greeks
are among our cultural ancestors and to learn about them is part of our self-
understanding. He found that through ancient Greek literature and our own reasons
for returning to these age-old myths we could understand similar conceptions. Some
of these similarities are very obvious, lying in universal needs, as Williams wrote,
Human beings everywhere need a cultural framework to deal with
reproduction, eating, death, violence. Some of the similarities may be
unobvious, because unconscious; theorists claimed to make sense of Greek
myths and rituals and their reflections in literature by appeal to structures
of imagery that at some level we share.91
Williams had written this statement about literature. However, it seems to apply to art
and philosophy as well. We return to ancient Greek art, philosophy and literature
again and again in order to express something fundamental about the human
condition such as our concerns, thoughts, and fears in contemporary culture. Ancient
Greek art, philosophy, and literature are essential to the understanding of the
transcendent humanistic qualities so abundantly evident in these three famous Greek
sculptures: the archaic kouros, Kritios Boy, and Polykleitos Doryphoros.
1 J.J. Pollitt, Art and Experience in Ancient Greece (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1972), 70.
Andrew Stewart, Art, Desire and the Body in Ancient Greece (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1997), 97.
3 Donald Preziosi, The Art of Art History: A Critical Anthology> (Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 1998), 31.
4 Nigel Spivey and Michael Squire, Panorama of the Classical World (London:
Thames & Hudson, 2004), 295.
5 T. B. L. Webster, Greek Theories of Art and Literature down to 400 B.C., The
Classical Quarterly 33, (1939) : 177.
6 See T.B.L. Webster in Greek Theories of Art and Literature down to 400 B.C.,
The Classical Quarterly 33, (1939) : 177, John Boardman in Greek Scidpture: The
Archaic Period (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978), 26, Nigel Spivey and
Michael Squire, Panorama of the Classical World (London: Thames & Hudson,
2004), 294, all mention that ancient Greeks attributed kouroi to Daedalus.
7 Harry Thurston Peck, Daedalus, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities,
(1898). Perseus Digital Library, http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/ cgi-
8 John Boardman, Greek Sculpture: The Archaic Period: A Handbook (New York:
Oxford University Press, 1978), 26.
9 Diodoros Siculus, Library, Book IV. 76.1-76.3, (Trans. By C.H. Oldfather), (Theoi
Project, Guide to Greek Mythology),
10 John Boardman, Greek Sculpture: The Archaic Period: A Handbook (New York:
Oxford University Press, 1978), 22.
11 Please see Nigel Spivey and Michael Squire, Panorama of the Classical World
(London: Thames & Hudson, 2004), 294, and John Boardman in Greek Sculpture:
The Archaic Period, A Handbook (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978), 11.
12 Kim Levin, The Male Figure in Egyptian and Greek Sculpture of the Seventh and
Sixth Centuries B.Q.f American Journal of Archaeology 68, no. 1 (1964) : 21-24,28.
13 J.J. Pollitt, Art and Experience in Ancient Greece (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1972), 9.
14 J.J. Pollitt, Art and Experience in Ancient Greece (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1972), 5. The Milesian philosophers of the sixth century were
interested above all in primary substance from which, by an orderly process of
derivation, all other phenomena could be explained. Whether it was water, air in
various states of condensation, or some other element, the Milesians used their
primary substance as the basis for a cosmology (kosmos=oi:der)." I understand this
philosophical quest was first termed, arche or source. It was the Pythagoreans,
according to W.K.C. Guthrie in The Greek Philosophers page 37, who first used the
term kosmos he states, In short the world may be called a kosmos, an untranslatable
word which combined the notions of order, fitness, and beauty. Pythagoras is said to
have been the first to call it by this name.
15 Alan Johnston, Pre-Classical Greece in The Oxford History of Classical Art, ed.
John Boardman (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 54.
16 Alan Johnston, Pre-Classical Greece in The Oxford History of Classical Art, ed.
John Boardman (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 17.
17 Robin Osborne, Archaic and Classical Greek Art (Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 1998), 76. See also Diodoros Siculus, a first-century BC historian, who wrote
in Library> Book I pages 97-98, For with them (Egyptians) the exact cut of a statue
is not judged of by the eye and fancy, (as it is with the Greeks), but after that they
have cut out the stone, and wrought every part by itself, then they measure the exact
proportion of the whole, from the least stone to the greatest. For they divide the
whole body into twenty-one parts, and one-fourth, which makes up the symmetry and
Nigel Spivey, How Art Made the World: A Journey to the Origins of Human
Creativity (London: BBC Books, 2005), 64-65. Archaeologists have found that these
fine red lines had been made by dipping a length of string in red paint, stretching
them taut by the tomb wall, and then twanging it against the plaster surface. The
purpose was to mark out the proportions of the figure with the red-lined grid. Another
example that you can see the grid system is from the Tomb of Tausert, in the Valley
of the Kings, c.l2th century B.C.E.
19 John Boardman, Greek Sculpture: The Archaic Period: A Handbook (New York:
Oxford University Press, 1978), 22.
20 Larissa Bonfante, Nudity as a Costume in Classical Art. American Journal of
Archaeology 93, no.4 (1989): 544.
21 Larissa Bonfante, Nudity as a Costume in Classical Art. American Journal of
Archaeology 93, no. 4 (1989): 569.
John Boardman, Greek Sculpture: The Archaic Period: A Handbook (New York:
Oxford University Press, 1978), 80.
John Boardman, Greek Sculpture: The Archaic Period: A Handbook (New York:
Oxford University Press, 1978), 80.
24 E.H. Gombrich, Art and Illusion (London: Lonsdale & Bartholomew, 1959), 99.
25 Jeffrey M. Hurwit, The Kritios Boy: Discovery, Reconstruction, and Date.
American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 93, no. 1 (1989): 70.
26 Jeffrey M. Hurwit, The Kritios Boy: Discovery, Reconstruction, and Date,
American Journal of Archaeology 93, no. 1 (1989) : 70. Scholars have noted that the
Kritios Boy has more in common with High Classical Greek sculpture or the
Doryphoros because of its proportions and shape of the torso.
Jeffrey M. Hurwit, The Kritios Boy: Discovery, Reconstruction, and Date,
American Journal of Archaeology 93, no. 1 (1989) : 70.
28 Jeffrey M. Hurwit, The Kritios Boy: Discovery, Reconstruction, and Date,
American Journal of Archaeology 93, no. 1 (1989): 67.
29 Jeffrey M. Hurwit, The Kritios Boy: Discovery, Reconstruction, and Date,
American Journal of Archaeology 93, no. 1 (1989) : 67-68.
30 Jeffrey M. Hurwit. The Kritios Boy: Discovery, Reconstruction, and Date,
American Journal of Archaeology 93, no. 1 (1989): 60-62.
31 Jeffrey M. Hurwit, The Kritios Boy: Discovery, Reconstruction, and Date,
American Journal of Archaeology 93, no. 1 (1989) : 65-67.
Andrew Stewart, Art, Desire, and the Body in Ancient Greece (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1997), 46.
Jeffrey M. Hurwit. The Kritios Boy: Discovery, Reconstruction, and Date.
American Journal of Archaeology, 93, no.l, (1989): 76-77.
34 Andrew Stewart, Art, Desire, and the Body in Ancient Greece (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1997), 25.
Andrew Stewart, Art, Desire, and the Body in Ancient Greece (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1997), 67.
36 Andrew Stewart, Art, Desire, and the Body in Ancient Greece (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1997), 12.
37 W.K.C. Guthrie, The Greek Philosophers: from Thales to Aristotle (London:
Methuen & Company 1950), 23.
38 W.K.C. Guthrie, The Greek Philosophers: from Thales to Aristotle (London:
Methuen & Company 1950), 63.
39 Nigel Spivey, How Art Made the World: A Journey to the Origins of Human
Creativity (London: BBC Books 2005), 75.
40 See Nigel Spivey, How Art Made the World'. A Journey to the Origins of Human
Creativity> (London: BBC Books 2005), 75 and Jeffrey Hurwits article, The
Doryphoros: Looking Backward in Polykleitos, The Doiyphoros, and Tradition, ed.
Warren G. Moon, 11.
41 Andrew Stewart, Art, Desire, and the Body in Ancient Greece (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1997), 88.
42 Andrew Stewart, Art, Desire, and the Body in Ancient Greece (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1997), 88.
43 J.J. Pollitt, Art and Experience in Ancient Greece (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1972), 108.
44 J.J. Pollitt, Art and Experience in Ancient Greece (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1972), 106.
45 J.J. Pollitt, Art and Experience in Ancient Greece (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1972), 106.
46 Albert Hofstadter and Richard Kuhns, eds. Philosophies of Art and Beauty:
Selected Readings in Aesthetics from Plato to Heidegger (New York: The Modem
Library, 1964), 96.
47 Jeffrey Hurwit, The Doryphoros: Looking Backward in Polykleitos, The
Doryphoros, and Tradition, ed. Warren G. Moon, (Madison: University of Wisconsin
Press, 1995), 19.
48 J.J. Pollitt, Art and Experience in Ancient Greece (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1972), 108. Describes in the best detail how this chiastic scheme
that can be seen in the Doryphoros.
49 Jeffrey Hurwit, The Doryphoros: Looking Backward Polykleitos, The
Doryphoros, and Tradition, ed. Warren G. Moon, (Madison: University of Wisconsin
Press, 1995), 11.
50 Nigel Spivey and Michael Squire, Panorama of the Classical World (London:
Thames & Hudson, 2004), 235-236. Also see J.J. Pollitt, Art and Experience in
Ancient Greece (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972), 107.
51 W.K.C. Guthrie, The Greek Philosophers: from Thales to Aristotle (London:
Methuen & Company 1950), 34-35.
" J.J. Pollitt, Art and Experience in Ancient Greece (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1972), 108.
53 Deborah Boedeker and Kurt Raaflaub, eds. Democracy, Empire, and the Arts in
Fifth-Century Athens (Cambridge: Harvard University Press 1998), 340-341.
54 J.J. Pollitt, Art and Experience in Ancient Greece (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1972), 22-24. The last and final naval victory over the Persians gave
the Greeks a new self-confidence that was more than just a heroic triumph, it was a
divinely sanctioned triumph over irrationality. Yet, the Greeks could not have won
without the alliance of Athens, Corinth, and Sparta. When the war ended, the unity
began to disassemble due to political infighting and the hunger for power. Athens
became the great power in Greece, and through her control of the Delian League her
power and finances increased at the expense of her subjects. The new founded
imperialism of Athens had several consequences. Sparta had become an enemy
instead of an ally, politics had become ruthless and each political factions challenged
the other faction by violence, and the self-confidence that the Greeks felt turned to
uneasiness. This uneasiness of mind was produced by the growing belief that men
were responsible for their own fortunes, good or bad, and by the implications which
this belief had for the course of Greek domestic policies after the Persian Wars.
55 Deborah Boedeker and Kurt Raaflaub, eds. Democracy, Empire, and the Arts in
Fifth-Century Athens (Cambridge: Harvard University Press 1998), 341.
56 J.J. Pollitt, Art and Experience in Classical Greece (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1972), 5.
57 Jeffrey Hurwit, The Kritios Boy: Discovery, Reconstruction, and Date.
American Journal of Archaeology 93, no.l, (1989): 61.
58 W.K.C. Guthrie, The Greek Philosophers: from Thales to Aristotle (London:
Methuen & Company 1950), 66.
59 Eva Brann, Peter Kalkavage and Eric Salem, eds. Platos Phaedo (Newburyport,
MA: Focus Publishing/ R. Pullins Co. 1998), 99e-l 14c.
Socrates uses his own life as an example of the pursuit of wisdom through
philosophical inquiry. Socrates was blinded by the looking in that he, like the Pre-
Socratics, looked to material causes. He references the mythos of Odysseus again,
when Odysseus was swept back out to sea within sight of home. He calls this his
second sailing, which implies an undertaking that might have required great effort by
Socrates, because he is no longer relying on the senses or sense perception that is
proven to be untrustworthy, but searching within himself. He explains that his second
sailing was to take refuge in accounts (plural for logos) and look in them for the
truth of beings. (99e) In the true earth mythos, Socrates again warns us against
trusting our senses now to insist that all this holds in just the way Ive described it,
isnt fitting for a man with any mind (114d). Instead we should do everything so as
to partake of virtue and thoughtfulness. (114c) Socrates second sailing is exemplary
of the wisdom one can get from living the philosophical life that Socrates urges us to
60 Maurice Merleau-Ponty, In Praise of Philosophy, Trans. John Wild and James
Edie. (Northwestern University Press 1963), 39.
61 William Durant, The Stoty of Philosophy the Lives and Opinions of the Greater
Philosophers (New York: Simon and Schuster 1926), 14.
62 C.H. Hallett, The Origins of Classical Style in Sculpture, Journal of Hellenic
Studies 106, (1986): 75.
63 E.H. Gombrich, Art and Illusion (London: Lonsdale & Bartholomew 1959), 110.
64 E.H. Gombrich, Art and Illusion (London: Lonsdale & Bartholomew 1959), 113.
65 Nigel Spivey, How Art Made the World: A Journey to the Origins of Human
Creativity (London: BBC Books 2005), 100.
66 Nigel Spivey, How Art Made the World: A Journey to the Origins of Human
Creativity (London: BBC Books 2005), 87-90. Also see J.J. Pollitt, Art and
Experience in Ancient Greece (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1972), 78-
67 J.J. Pollitt, Art and Experience in Ancient Greece (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press 1972), 99-100.
68 Angela Hobbs, Plato and the Hero (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
69 Angela Hobbs, Plato and the Hero (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Bernard Williams, Shame and Necessity (Berkeley: University of California Press
Bernard Williams, Shame and Necessity (Berkeley: University of California Press
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy, from Walter Kaufmann, ed. and trans.,
Basic Writings of Nietzsche (New York: Modem Library 2000) See section 3 page 42.
73 Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy, from Walter Kaufmann, ed. and trans.,
Basic Writings of Nietzsche (New York: Modem Library 2000) See section 3 page 43.
74 J.J. Pollitt, Art and Experience in Ancient Greece (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press 1972) 68-70.
J.J. Pollitt, Art and Experience in Ancient Greece (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press 1972), 69.
J.J. Pollitt, Art and Experience in Ancient Greece (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press 1972), 69.
J.J. Pollitt, Art and Experience in Ancient Greece (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press 1972), 69.
78 J. Cooper and D.S. Hutchinson, eds. Plato: Complete Works, (Indianapolis: Hackett
1997) Book II of the Republic lays out the foundation of Platos own concern for
humanity and its morality. Disturbed by his own aristocratic classs greed and need
to satisfy their irrational desires, Plato attempts a theory of justice that never before
and thereafter has ever been matched. Interlocutors like Glaucon are asking the same
questions why act in accordance with our own excellence when it seems more
profitable to act unjustly. Socrates goal is not an easy one, and the essence of the
question he is posing to his interlocutors is, what kind of life do you want to have?
Glaucon represents the devils advocate and asks why and for what purpose. But
perhaps what Glaucon should be doing, according to Socrates, is to not be looking for
some kind of end or purpose. Rather he should be examining the choices he makes
for his own life and practicing the continual exercise of excellence for the harmonious
relationships inside his soul and outside himself with others.
79 E.R. Dodds, Plato and the Irrational Journal of Hellenic Studies 65, (1945): 18.
See also Jonathan Lear, Open Minded (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999),
80 Bernard Williams, Shame and Necessity (Berkeley: University of California Press,
1993), 42. See also Jonathan Lear, Open Minded, Chapter 8 Inside and Outside the
Republic for more information on the tripartite division of the soul.
81 J. Cooper and D.S. Hutchinson, eds. Plato: Complete Works (Indianapolis: Hackett
1997) See Book IX of the Republic regarding the tripartite division of the soul. Also,
read Book X to get further information regarding Socrates opinion of Homers
82 C.H. Hallett, The Origins of Classical Style in Sculpture. Journal of Hellenic
Studies 106, (1986): 73.
83 C.H. Hallett, The Origins of Classical Style in Sculpture. Journal of Hellenic
Studies 106, (1986): 83.
84 Hallett, C.H. The Origins of Classical Style in Sculpture, Journal of Hellenic
Studies 106, (1986): 84.
85 E.R. Dodds, The Greeks and the Irrational (Berkeley: University of California
Press 1951) : 189. Socrates was one of the intellectuals included in Dodds
description. He was tried for impiety and corrupting the youth, and was put to death
by the Athenians in 399 B.C.E.
86 C.H. Hallett, The Origins of Classical Style in Sculpture, Journal of Hellenic
Studies 106, (1986): 78.
87 Gregory Vlastos, Socratic Studies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1994),
88 J.J. Pollitt, Art and Experience in Ancient Greece (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press 1972), 80.
89 J.J. Pollitt, Art and Experience in Ancient Greece (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press 1972), 11.
90 Nigel Spivey and Michael Squire, Panorama of the Classical World (London:
Thames & Hudson 2004), 108.
91 Bernard Williams, Shame and Necessity (Berkeley: University of California Press
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