The Dying Gaul Essay

971 words - 4 pages

The ancient Roman Masterpiece, The Dying Gaul (also known as The Dying Gladiator) symbolizes more than just heroism; it represents stressful situations and events that soldiers went through whilst dealing with an opposing army. The sculpture is well known for its realistic depiction of human emotions and for capturing sentiments displayed in the battlefield.
The Dying Gaul is an emotionally enticing marble sculpture that is thought to have been made between 230-220 BC by an unknown artist. It is believed that statue is a marble copy of its original which was sculpted in bronze. The statue was ordered to be made by Attalus I of Greek who was seen as the savior of the Greeks against the ...view middle of the document...

The popularity of themes related to war and gallantry in Hellenistic art not only tell us that the era was marked by frequent warfare and conquests but also that the characteristics that typically define a successful soldier, such as fearlessness and self-assurance, were lauded as virtues in the Hellenistic society.

The realism of the sculpture is what makes it a true masterpiece. The sculpted warrior depicted is not entirely “suited up” or in ‘uniform’ it is in fact, represented nude; the torque around his neck, unshaved mustache, matted locks, and the dropped sword portrays a warrior of a tribal society called Celts. According to Polybius, the ‘barbaric’ warriors would wear “nothing but their weapons . . . all in the prime of life, and finely built men.” Both Roman and Greek art are equally known to not only present masterpieces in the world of art but rather to tell elaborate stories by precise projections, creative visual components, and other particular elements that make the respective culture of origin vibrant in the most unique of ways. This brings us to the vividness of this statue’s physique and detailing. Although the warrior’s body appears to be fit and healthy, he seems to be losing blood faster than the healing process, as suggested by the gash on his chest. Despite, the warrior’s evident discomfort and pain, he strikes to the audience’s eye as a powerful patriot because of the way he is positioned; even while facing death he does not lie flat on the ground, but rather maintains an assertive posture with the upper half of his body still erect. Therefore, it would not be wrong to label this sculpture as the epitome of heroism and resilience.
However, one must not view the art sculpture in the light of patriotism and courageousness alone; The Dying Gaul demands one to go beyond the set criteria of...

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