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Head of a Man Marble Sculpture

This Classical style was notable for its idealized realism realistic in its depiction of the appearance of the body, but idealized in the sense that few if any human beings can match the perfection of beauty in limb and face represented by these works.

Polykleitos' Doryphoros (the spear-bearer) dates from about 440 BCE, and represents his ideal, or canon, of the male body: muscular, stocky, and too perfect to be anything other than an ideal type. It's possible that the body of the surviving bust of the Head of a Man might have looked like Doryphoros, since the faces are almost mask-like in their impassive perfection. Polykleitos' treatment of the body is very volumetric, with masses of muscle and flesh rounded off into virtually abstract shapes, and the hair pasted tightly on the roundness of the skull.

Praxiteles's Hermes and the Infant Dionysos is based on Greek myth. In the scene depicted Hermes is holding Dionysos after saving him from the ashes of his mother Semele after she burst into flames at the sight of Zeus (Allan and Maitland 103).

Here again we have the idealized realism of Classical Greek sculpture. The face of the Head of a Man could be grafted onto the image of the god with little loss of effect, since these artists strove to imbue their human subjects with a god-like perfection of beauty. Like Polykleitos,


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Head of a Man Marble Sculpture. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 19:51, October 22, 2014, from
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