Archaeologies of the Greek Past - Home
Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & the Ancient World
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by Amanda Bauer
The Discobolos was originally sculpted in bronze in about 450 BCE by Myron, but is known today only through marble Roman copies. The copies may or may not have been of the same quality as the original, and Roman artists may have taken some liberties when copying Greek words. The copyist also had to add a supportive trunk of marble because of the weight of the statue and struts between arms and body to keep the arms from falling off the figure.
The Discobolos is an exemplar of action statuary of the Classical period. The athlete is poised at the moment of highest tension, when he has swung his arm back and is about to fling the discus. The musculature of his body is beautifully incised and he looks like a coiled spring. His face, however, does not reflect this tension, but rather is expressionless. In the typical severe style, the facial features are simplified and emotionless. The statue is therefore exemplary of both Severe and High Classical attributes.
Biers, William R. The Archaeology of Greece: An Introduction. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1980. 2nd ed.
Kleiner, Fred S. and Mamiya, Chrisitin J. Gardener's Art Through the Ages. 12th ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson Learning Inc., 2005.