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The Frieze Sculpture

This section of the frieze is probably a self-contained compositional unit. Tansey and Kleiner note that Archaic Ionic friezes did feature continuous sculptured friezes but in their example one story, the gigantomachy, is related in the continuous frieze. The battle that is depicted contains numerous encounters that can all be shown as taking place at the same time. The labors of Herakles, on the other hand, happened one after the other and it seems more likely that they would be depicted as separate or only nominally connected compositions. In either case this section of frieze sculpture features a plain border that is consistent at the top and bottom and only varies, with additional width, at what would be the center of the composition if it were meant to be viewed separately. In addition to this framing emphasis on the center of the composition there are compositional indications of its unity as well. The centaur who appears to have been struck in the head by an arrow looks back at Herakles firing his arrow. His head occupies the central position in the composition. His backward glance contrasts sharply with the forward view of the next centaur (the head of the third has been broken away). In addition, this centaur's arms are bent at the elbows and his hands are raised and bracket his head. Not only does this contrast with the outstretched arms of Herakles and the other centaurs, the two bent elbows that frame the centaur's head are also echoed at either end of the composition by similar upraised arms of the figure on the left and of the last centaur on the right. The entire composition is, therefore, bracketed in the same manner as the centaur's head. These verticals also contrast with the right-leaning diagonal thrust of the sculpture as a whole and serve, along with the relatively vertical back of the wounded centaur, to make him the center of the composition.

The shock of the centaur at being hit and the absence o...

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The Frieze Sculpture. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 18:04, August 18, 2017, from
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