Trace The Development Of The Female Figure In Freestanding Sculpture Through The Archaic Period Making Reference To At Least Three Korai

2242 words - 9 pages

The earliest types of sculpture were fertility goddesses similar to the 'Venus' of Willendorf, which is thought to date from between 24,000-22,000 BCE. They were only large enough to fit in the hand as the earliest civilizations were nomadic and could not carry large statues around with them, nor did they have the skills to make them. The figures had overly large stomachs and breasts showing that the importance of women at that time was for producing offspring and large pregnant bellies and breasts to feed children were what were valued in a woman.Later Greece imitated this handheld sculpture including many that have been found in the Cycladic style, that is with very thin, angular bodies and triangular faces. These are dated between 3000-2000 B.C. It is a mystery as to their meaning or purpose as they are very unlike the fertility goddesses mentioned above although it is assumed they were votive offerings. After the Cycladic style came the Daedalic style, clearly human shaped figures they are characterised by an inverted triangular face and are mentioned by Pausanais, an ancient traveller and writer of the second century A.D. to have been made of wood as well as stone, although no wooden ones have survived. These were at first on a small scale and also thought to have been votive offerings.As the people of Ancient Greece started to establish stable settlements however they had more time to develop the art of sculpture in stone, then marble and later in bronze. The statues also became much larger in size as it was no longer necessary for them to be transported around as the people moved. During the Archaic period (generally considered to date from 800 - 500 BCE) much of the development of Greek Art can be witnessed in vases, grave stellai, temples and sanctuaries and in freestanding sculpture such as kouroi and korai. During this period the Ancient Greeks also started to travel further and to trade with other countries, particularly Egypt (or Phoenicia, as it was then known). In his epic, The Odyssey, Homer says in one of Odysseus' lies that he made 'an expedition to Egypt'. The Egyptian influence was probably one of the key influences that helped the development of the kouroi, as Early Greek kouroi are similar to earlier statues of males found in Egypt.The kouroi were male figures, and far more common than their female counterparts. This reflected the fact that Ancient Greece was a very male-orientated country and so they were far more likely to sculpt men rather than women. Male figures in sculpture were usually naked as this was a sign of heroism or divinity as it was thought the gods did not wear clothes as well as to show off the beauty of the body. There are exceptions such as the charioteer at Delphi although he was not a kouroi, as he was not sculpted in the traditional kouroi stance. This position was initially standing, in a frontal pose with their arms parallel and their left leg advanced but as time went by they tried to make the pose...

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