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Greek and Hellenistic Sculpture

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Classical Greek sculpture (ca. 480-400 BCE) and Hellenistic sculpture (ca. 323-30 BCE) are the examples of changes in the art of Ancient Greece. In order to study these differences, two sculptures, a Classical Greek sculpture Discus Thrower by Myron and a Hellenistic sculpture Laocoon and His Sons by Athanadoros, will be compared.

Discus Thrower excellently represents human anatomy and movements. However, the author demonstrates a perfect man with ideal body and mind and without negative emotions. Therefore, classical sculpture is somehow a materialization of idealized person, natural and even scientific (Neer 1). Discus Thrower represents such artistic achievement as showing of a “frozen motion”.

Unlike the Classical Greek sculpture, Laocoon and His Sons by Athanadoros is a part of Hellenistic art. It represents “unorthodox subjects, such as grotesques, and of more conventional inhabitants, such as children and elderly people” (Hemingway). Hellenistic sculpture became more expressive, emotional and naturalistic; it represented not ideal but real people and scenes (Marcel). Very often sculptures focused on suffering and pain. This is perfectly demonstrated in Laocoon and His Sons by Athanadoros since it shows the tragic death of a man and his children. This sculpture embodies several innovations and artistic achievements, such as high level of realism, dynamism and real emotions.

Hellenistic sculpture is more realistic than Classical and it is better in representing real life with its tragedy. Hellenistic sculpture shows people that their life is imperfect and always brings struggle. Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to call this piece of art worse than Classical one. A real fall in the long development of western sculpture occurred during the Middle Ages.

However, if I could have one of compared sculptures to take home I would not choose Laocoon and His Sons. It shows suffering and tragic destiny, provokes negative emotions. I would choose Discus Thrower to take home, because it represents a steadfast person who is concentrated on the goals and achieves them regardless of all obstructions.

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