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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Piece from Between Greek Periods; from deep within the Acropolis

The Kritios Boy

The Kritios Boy, found in Athens, deep within the foundation of the Acropolis, proves to be a major find defining a change in the times in Ancient Greece.  The Κριτιος Κουρος, (or Kritios Kouros in Greek, Kouros meaning boy) demonstrates the shift between the Late Archaic and Early Classical periods in Greece. 
Finally found in 1865, this Kouros is believed to have been sculpted during the late 5th century (commonly agreed to have been finished around 480) BC.  From beautiful marble the teacher of Myron, Kritios, therefore the namesake, gave a new spin to the common Kouroi (Kouros plural, boys being a frequently sculpted image).  This particular Kouros is believed to be a depiction of an ephebe, or a young soldier in training, usually near the end of his teenage years.  While done many times before to demonstrate the greatness of man in youth, the Kritios Boy differs from others by its influence by a growing understanding human biology and especially natural balance.  The "shock factor" of this piece is due to its use of the revolutionary of controposto.  Controposto was a new technique of the time, which made a figure appear more lifelike through a sculpture's relaxed and seemingly natural imbalance in stance, shown on this piece by the boy's lean on a single foot.
However, please don't be confused, the missing leg is a flaw, not an intentional action, unrelated to controposto.  However, by the new style's mastery, the character looks more realistic, as even the Discobolus (another famous work to be mentioned) seems to be based off of this piece.  Smaller than life size, this figure, like many of the time, only measures to about 3 feet 10 inches, or 1.17 m (  The piece now rests near its location where discovered, inside the Acropolis Museum in Athens.

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