In view of the exalted rank assigned to Polyclitus by Greek and Roman judgment, his identifiable works are a little disappointing. His Doryphorus, a bronze figure of a young athlete holding a spear such as was used in the pentathlon, exists in numerous copies. The Naples copy, found in Pompeii in 1797, is the best preserved, being substantially antique throughout, but is of indifferent workmanship.
The young man, of massive build, stands supporting his weight on the right leg; the left is bent backward from the knee, the foot touching the ground only in front. Thus the body is a good deal curved. This attitude is an advance upon any standing motive attained in the "Transitional period". It was much used by Polyclitus, and is one of the marks by which statues of his may be recognized. The head of the Doryphorus, as seen from the side, is more nearly rectangular than the usual Attic heads of the period, e.g., in the Parthenon frieze. For the characteristic face our best guide is a bronze copy of the head from Herculaneum, to which our illustration does less than justice.
A strong likeness to the Doryphorus exists in a whole series of youthful athletes, which are therefore with probability traced to Polyclitus as their author or inspirer. Such is a statue of a boy in Dresden. One of these obviously allied works can be identified with a statue by Polyclitus known to us from our literary sources. It is the so-called Diadumenos, a youth binding the fillet of victory about his head. This exists in several copies, the best of which has been recently found on the island of Delos and is not yet published.
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