The lost Greek prototypes, by masters such as Praxiteles, Polykleitos
The admiration for the Doryphoros and its creator--along with the use of kanon to denote correct proportion--persisted into the Roman times, so that Pliny the Elder (23-79 CE), in his Natural History (77 CE), described Polykleitos
as the sculptor who '"perfected the art of sculpture'" and "the Doryphoros as 'the statue that artists call the Canon, .
The art historian Kenneth Clark (1956:35) comments on the manner in which Polykleitos
accentuated the system of rendering the male torso, as exemplified by the Kritios Boy and other earlier works: "Polycletus' control of muscle-architecture was evidently far more rigorous, and from that derives that standard schematisation of the torso known in French as the cuirasse esthetique (Fig.
The naturalistic sculpture which we associate with the classical world is set against the extraordinary aniconic funerary cippi from Cyrene and Pompeii, the fine art of the Hellenic tradition of Pheidias and Polykleitos
against the self-consciously rustic 'coarse' art of statues of ithyphallic Priapus.
In Trecento and Quattrocento Italy, Phidias, Polykleitos
, and Praxiteles were recognized, by way of sources like Pliny the Elder, as legendary-historical sculptors of the highest rank.
This leads to the room's main event, a trio of sculptures that invite visitors to compare the sculptural styles of Polykleitos
, Myron and Pheidias in the 5th century BC.
To argue for this Haselberger relates the use of entasis in a column to the human figure, specifically to the use of contrapposto as seen in the Doryphoros of Polykleitos
And from Pausanias it was also clear that these statues were, in the main, commemorative figures of the unclad youths and men who had personally triumphed in the Olympic contests--figures of the finest specimens of Classical athleticism, crafted by some of the legendary virtuosi of Greek sculpture, Myron, Polykleitos
and so on.
We are told much about these classical masters: Pheidias who was famous for his colossal gold- and ivory-clad cult-images but also cast bronzes; Polykleitos
who theorised about ideal proportions in his treatise called the Canon; Myron who was particularly eulogised for his life-like statues of athletes; and the prolific Lysippos, who worked for Alexander the Great and accomplished a wide range of subjects that included the Apoxyomenos (an athlete scraping oil from his skin) and the intriguingly named 'Intoxicated Flute-Girl' (temulenta tibicina).