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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
 

F. B. Tarbell, A History of Ancient Greek Art

The Great Age of Greek Sculpture. Second Period 400-323 B.C.

Lysippus of Sicyon

ELPENOR EDITIONS IN PRINT

HOMER

PLATO

ARISTOTLE

THE GREEK OLD TESTAMENT (SEPTUAGINT)

THE NEW TESTAMENT

PLOTINUS

DIONYSIUS THE AREOPAGITE

MAXIMUS CONFESSOR

SYMEON THE NEW THEOLOGIAN

CAVAFY

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With Lysippus of Sicyon we reach the last name of first-rate importance in the history of Greek sculpture. There is the usual uncertainty about the dates of his life, but it is certain that he was in his prime during the reign of Alexander (336-23). Thus he belongs essentially to the generation succeeding that of Scopas and Praxiteles. He appears to have worked exclusively in bronze; at least we hear of no work in marble from his hands. He must have had a long life. Pliny credits him with fifteen hundred statues, but this is scarcely credible. His subjects suggest that his genius was of a very different bent from that of Praxiteles. No statue of Aphrodite or indeed of any goddess (except the Muses) is ascribed to him; on the other hand, he made at least four statues of Zeus, one of them nearly sixty feet high, and at least four figures of Heracles, of which one was colossal, while one was less than a foot high, besides groups representing the labors of Heracles.

In short, the list of his statues of superhuman beings, though it does include an Eros and a Dionysus, looks as if he had no especial predilection for the soft loveliness of youth, but rather for mature and vigorous forms. He was famous as a portrait- sculptor and made numerous statues of Alexander, from whom he received conspicuous recognition. Naturally, too, he accepted commissions for athlete statues; five such are mentioned by Pausanias as existing at Olympia. An allegorical figure by him of Cairos (Opportunity) receives lavish praise from a late rhetorician. Finally, he is credited with a statue of a tipsy female flute-player. This deserves especial notice as the first well-assured example of a work of Greek sculpture ignoble in its subject and obviously unfit for any of the purposes for which sculpture had chiefly existed.


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