Ancient Greek art set the bar for artists around the world for thousands of years and still does today. Its sophistication peaked during the Classical Period which has been called the “Golden Age” of Greek art. The idea of being able to make the world and people around oneself seem flawless was captured through their art.
The usage of geometric shapes to the idea of symmetry helped to give way to the idea of equilibrium, a balance, to which the Greeks held as one idea of perfection. Many sculptures in Greek art took the qualities of a person and made them bigger, stronger, and more beautiful.
They took nature broke it down and rebuilt it to make it perfect in the eye of the artist. Apollo, the Greek god of the sun, was always pictured as the perfection of a youthful man. He was strong, handsome, and intelligent. The Statuette of a Youth was a cast bronze sculpture supposedly of the god Apollo. It is from the Early Classical Greek period, made around 470 B.C. The statue depicts the young Greek man reaching out towards something.
The Statuette of a Youth is a typical Greek sculpture; he has one foot forward, one arm down by his side, and a solemn look on his face. This pose is much like that of an archaic sculpture but, there is much more detail and realistic qualities to his form which makes him from the Early Classical period in Greek art. It is similar to the archaic Kouras from Attica in the sense that this pose puts off the impression of strength and of an athlete and he has thick ankles that support and stabilize the statue. Since, this sculpture is supposed of the god Apollo who was used throughout ancient Greek art as the perfect male form; it is understandable that the statuette has a muscular idyllic build.
When taking notes on the sculpture one can still see how geometric shapes are used as the building blocks and the basis of his figure. There is a triangle from the shoulders to the abdomen, cylinders are used for his legs and arms and finger, a sphere for his head, triangles for his nose, and rectangles for his feet; however, they are fluid and there are natural curves to his body. Furthermore, his pose is natural, it is realistic.
One can see the shift in weight in his hips, his right arm which is reaching out towards something is bent at the elbow and his eyes are focused on what he is reaching out towards, and his knees are bent. He interacts with his space well, it seems he could just walk right out of his pose. The Statuette of a Youth has beautiful facial features which include large eyes and a strong nose. His hair has individually carved locks which is a typical trait of bronze sculptures. These strong features can be compared to most other Greek sculptures because they are flawless. This perfect form gives him a sense of godliness.
The Statuette of a Youth is supposedly Apollo. Many of the attributes would lead one to believe this assumption to hold true. Apollo was the Greek god of intellect, the arts, prophecy, healing, and light. The statuette is focused on something he is bending down towards; he is concentrating and seems to be interacting with it almost as if he has been having a conversation with it. The figure may remind a person of paintings and descriptions of Jesus Christ bending down to help and cure people. This may lead a person to believe that the statuette is trying to help heal someone, which is plausible because of what Apollo was the deity of.
He seems confident with his broad shoulders and facial expression almost as if he knows something and is reaching down in sympathy to help comfort someone. Apollo was known for being a great intellect and having a lot of wisdom and confidence. With the ability to see the future would make people believe that a confident look from him meant that he or she was going to be okay or it could be that the statue is reaching out towards someone to give them support in light of bad news in his or her future.
The Statuette of a Youth could serve many functions. When looking at the statue his characteristics are that of Apollo; however, one gets the impression that he is human because there are no symbols that the figure is proving he is a god such as Apollo’s lyre or his crown of Laurel leaves. The Greeks always wanted to feel closer to the gods; this was the purpose for temples and myths. It made them feel as if they had something in common with them or that they interacted with them in their daily lives. The Greeks relied on the Gods and held the Gods responsible for most that happened to them whether it being the Nile overflowing to the simple sun rising, moving across the sky, and setting. When looking at the statue through his line of sight it seems as if he is bending down from a higher place to reach down to something. This higher place could be something like Mt. Olympus, and the object he is reaching out towards could be Earth or a person, which in turn gives the feeling or function of making the Greeks feel closer to the gods.
The piece the Statuette of a Youth is a piece from the Early Classical period in Greek art. There is not much one can use as information to reflect on the piece other than that the piece is possible of Apollo. Therefore, when a person looks at the statuette he/ she must gather information about Apollo to see if there are qualities and attributes about it that are similar to the deity. The Statuette of a Youth has many qualities that are similar to him. The piece is beautifully sculpted with much detail to his facial features and hair.
The intimate details on such a small statuette must have been difficult for the sculptor. Furthermore, the attention to detail in specific to his movement and shape of his muscles gives the statuette a realistic feel as if someone just turned someone into a cast-iron statue and shrunk it. The proportions compared to a human are very close; the length from fingertip to finger tip from an eye measurement seems to be about the same. The intimate detail given to this statuette is greatly appreciated by most art lovers and if one knows anything about Apollo one can more about the sculpture itself.
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