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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
 

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

The archaic period of Greek Sculpture. Second half: 550-480 B.C.

Early Attic sculpture

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Our knowledge of early Attic sculpture has been immensely increased by the thorough exploration of the summit of the Athenian Acropolis in 1885-90. In regard to these important excavations it must be remembered that in 480 and again in 479 the Acropolis was occupied by Persians belonging to Xerxes' invading army, who reduced the buildings and sculptures on that site to a heap of fire-blackened ruins. This debris was used by the Athenians in the generation immediately following toward raising the general level of the summit of the Acropolis. All this material, after having been buried for some twenty three and a half centuries, has now been recovered. In the light of the newly found remains, which include numerous inscribed pedestals, it is seen that under the rule of Pisistratus and his sons Athens attracted to itself talented sculptors from other Greek communities, notably from Chios and Ionia generally. It is to Ionian sculptors and to Athenian sculptors brought under Ionian influences that we must attribute almost all those standing female figures which form the chief part of the new treasures of the Acropolis Museum.

The figures of this type stand with the left foot, as a rule, a little advanced, the body and head facing directly forward with primitive stiffness. But the arms no longer hang straight at the sides, one of them, regularly the right, being extended from the elbow, while the other holds up the voluminous drapery. Many of the statues retain copious traces of color on hair, eyebrows, eyes, draperies, and ornaments; in no case does the flesh give any evidence of having been painted. (...) Fig. 90 is not in itself one of the most pleasing of the series, but it has a special interest, not merely on account of its exceptionally large size – it is over six and a half feet high – but because we probably know the name and something more of its sculptor. If, as seems altogether likely, the statue belongs upon the inscribed pedestal upon which it is placed in the illustration, then we have before us an original work of that Antenor who was commissioned by the Athenian people, soon after the expulsion of the tyrant Hippias and his family in 510, to make a group in bronze of Harmodius and Aristogiton. This statue might, of course, be one of his earlier productions.


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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/ancient-greece/history-of-ancient-greek-art-27.asp