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The Doryphoros of Polykleitos at the Archaeological Museum of Naples

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The statue represents the spear-bearer. This statue is located at the Archaeological Museum of Naples and it is one of the best copies we receive from history. T

he original statue was executed in bronze by Polykleitos around 440 BC with the purpose to represent the ideal of harmony of the greek man, kalòs Kai agathòs (physically beautiful and intelligent).

The beauty of a body born from the exact proportion of all its parts.
The perfect anatomy of the figure follows a rhythm between tenance and flexing of the muscles, giving a shape reminiscent of the X, the letter chi in greek language.

This marble copy was found in Pompeii in the Samnite Gym , a building built in the second century BC This building was probably the seat of youth associations in which it recognized the heroic characteristics to mythical figures such as Achilles.

Pliny wrote: “..once the statues were dressed with a toga, but then liked the naked statue leading a spear that resembles that of the Efebi located in the gymnasiums, called Achilee …” (Pliny, Naturalis Historia, 34,10,84)

The spear was probably a javelin called akòntion.

The races javelin looked  like the exercises of war and hunting.

This sculpture seems to epitomize the ideal male human form. All of the body parts seem perfectly proportioned and the muscles are beautifully defined as if the image were of an athlete. The image is youthful with a calm demeanor. The right missing forearm looks as if it used to be resting at his side, while the left elbow was probably at a 90 degree angle, with the hand holding something. The slight bend in the left leg gives the impression of movement, as if the image was frozen while walking. The counterpoised stance adds an air of nobility to the "man".

This sculpture seems to epitomize the ideal male human form. All of the body parts seem perfectly proportioned and the muscles are beautifully defined as if the image were of an athlete. The image is youthful with a calm demeanor. The right missing forearm looks as if it used to be resting at his side, while the left elbow was probably at a 90 degree angle, with the hand holding something. The slight bend in the left leg gives the impression of movement, as if the image was frozen while walking. The counterpoised stance adds an air of nobility to the “man”.

the Doriforo

The Doryphoros, Archaeological Museum of Naples, from Palestra Sannitica, Pompeii

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1 Comment

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