Comparing and contrasting works of art throughout history is expected to shed light not only on the different approaches of separate artists but also reveal the evolution of society through the ages (Kleiner 78). The current analysis will focus on comparing the sculpture of Kritios Boy, which is dated 480 BC and Dying Gaul, which is dated late 3rd century BC. While both sculptures depict men in the nude, the approaches taken by the sculptors who created them differ not only in the artistic methods used but also in the themes that the works were meant to portray.
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The sculpture of the Dying Gaul, which was found to be from the Pergamon, depicts a partially naked man on the ground, who seemed to have fallen from a chest wound (“Dying Gaul”). His entire body weight is placed on a weakened arm, creating a sense of defeat and imminent death. The piece transfers the feeling of loss hope and the grand drama of pain and the loss of life.
In contrast to the Dying Gaul, the sculpture of the Kritios Boy was intended to show how the human body acts as a system. While the Gaul’s body is dramatically posed, the Kritios Boy is relaxed in a naturalistic pose that transfers the balance of movement (“Kritios Boy”). This method of depicting a human body is known as contrapposto, which was widely used by Greek sculptors.
Therefore, while the significance of the Dying Gaul is associated with the sculptor’s ability to transfer the drama of death and defeat, the Kritios Boy is rather an ode to the human body and its functions. Despite depicting male bodies, one of the pieces is dedicated to exploring a sophisticated philosophical theme while another glorifies the human body, its beauty and its function.
Kleiner, Fred. Gardner’s Art through the Ages: The Western Perspective, Volume 1. 15th ed., Cengage Learning, 2016.
“Dying Gaul.” YouTube. 2010, Web.
“Kritios Boy.” YouTube. 2014, Web.
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