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Friday, November 30, 2012

The Canon of Polykleitos

Just as Greek architects defined and followed a set of standards for ideal temple design, Greek sculptors sought an ideal for representing the human body. sculptors studied actual humans closely and selected those characteristics they considered most desirable, such as regular facial features, smooth skin, and particular body proportions. They would then combine them into a single idea of physical perfection. Polykleitos's Spearbearer, also known as Doryphoros and The Canon, was probably one of the most well-known sculptures during the High Classical Period. He developed a rules for what he considered creating the perfect human figure. Not only did the artist experiment with proportions, but he also dealt with the relationships between weight-bearing as well as relaxed arms and legs in a perfectly balanced figure, which would be called a contrapposto. The figure pictured here is a Doryphoros Roman marble copy showing a male athlete, perfectly balanced, with all the weight supported by the right leg. This pose evolved from that of the Kritios boy, but is especially known for more of the tilt and an S-curve.

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