The Classical Antiquity, a period stretching from approximately the 8th century BC to the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, is often considered the cradle of Western civilization. This era saw the rise of philosophy, literature, science, and art, which laid the foundations for the modern world.

Sculpture held a central place in the culture of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Statues from this time were not only decorative but also served as religious and political symbols. In this article, we list the ten most famous statues from classical antiquity.

The Discus Thrower (Discobolus)

discus
MatthiasKabel/wikipedia/CC BY 2.5

Created by the sculptor Myron around 450 BC, the Discus Thrower is one of the most iconic statues from classical antiquity. This marble statue depicts an athlete in mid-motion, ready to throw a discus.

It is a perfect example of Greek appreciation for the human body and the pursuit of dynamism and proportion. Myron succeeded in capturing movement and balance in stone, something unprecedented until then. The Discus Thrower symbolizes the perfect harmony between body and mind, an ideal deeply rooted in Greek culture.

The Venus de Milo

venus milo
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The Venus de Milo, also known as the Aphrodite of Milos, is a masterpiece from the Hellenistic period, created by Alexandros of Antioch between 130 and 100 BC. This statue, depicting the goddess Aphrodite, is famous for its elegant forms and mysterious charm, partly caused by the missing arms.

The statue was discovered on the Greek island of Milos in 1820 and is now housed in the Louvre in Paris. The Venus de Milo has become a symbol of classical beauty and timeless elegance.

The Laocoön Group

This dramatic sculpture, created by the sculptors Hagesander, Athenodoros, and Polydorus of Rhodes around 40-20 BC, depicts the Trojan priest Laocoön and his two sons being attacked by sea serpents. This statue was discovered in 1506 in Rome and is now on display in the Vatican Museums.

It is renowned for its intense expression of pain and struggle, which greatly influenced Renaissance artists. Michelangelo was particularly impressed by this work, and it served as an inspiration for his own creations.

The Spear Bearer (Doryphoros)

Polykleitos is one of the most famous sculptors from the classical Greek period. He created the Spear Bearer around 440 BC. This statue is known for its perfect proportions and harmony, as described in Polykleitos’ own Canon of Proportions.

The Spear Bearer, a statue of a young man carrying a spear, symbolizes the ideal human form and the perfect balance between tense and relaxed muscles. The original has been lost, but many Roman copies testify to the lasting influence of this masterpiece.

The Statue of Zeus at Olympia

The Statue of Zeus at Olympia, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, was created around 435 BC by the famous sculptor Phidias. This colossal statue, made of ivory and gold, stood in the temple of Zeus at Olympia and was one of the most revered statues of ancient Greece.

Although the original statue has been lost, descriptions by ancient writers and depictions on coins and other artworks give us an idea of its majesty and grandeur.

The Statue of Athena Parthenos

Also created by Phidias between 447 and 438 BC, the Statue of Athena Parthenos was a gigantic statue of the goddess Athena, placed in the Parthenon in Athens. This statue, also made of ivory and gold, depicted Athena in full armor and symbolized the power and protection she offered to the city of Athens. It was not only a religious icon but also a symbol of Athenian identity and pride.

Like the statue of Zeus, this statue has also been lost, but it remains a legendary symbol of classical antiquity.

Nike of Samothrace

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The Winged Victory of Samothrace, created around 200-190 BC, is another masterpiece from the Hellenistic period. This statue, representing the winged goddess of victory Nike, was discovered on the island of Samothrace and is now housed in the Louvre.

The statue is known for its dynamic composition and the illusion of movement, with its clothes appearing to flutter in the wind. It symbolizes triumph and divine protection and has inspired many artists throughout the centuries.

Hermes with the Infant Dionysus

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Created by the famous sculptor Praxiteles around 340 BC, Hermes with the Infant Dionysus depicts the god Hermes holding the baby Dionysus. This statue is a beautiful example of the graceful and sensual style of Praxiteles, with soft, flowing lines and a relaxed posture.

The discovery of this statue in the Temple of Hera in Olympia in 1877 provided us with one of the best-preserved examples of classical Greek sculpture.

The Riace Bronzes

The Riace Bronzes, found in the sea near Riace, Italy, in 1972, are two statues of warriors, created around 460-450 BC. These statues, made of bronze, are exceptionally well-preserved and are known for their detailed anatomy and realistic depiction of muscles and faces.

They are considered masterpieces of Greek craftsmanship in bronze and offer a rare glimpse of what Greek bronze statues originally looked like.

The Apollo Belvedere

The Apollo Belvedere, a marble sculpture dating from the 2nd century AD, is a Roman copy of an original Greek bronze statue, probably made by Leochares in the 4th century BC. This statue depicts Apollo, the god of music, poetry, and the sun, in a relaxed yet confident pose, with his cloak casually draped over his shoulder. The statue was rediscovered during the Renaissance and quickly became regarded as one of the most perfect examples of classical beauty and idealization. It is now housed in the Vatican Museums and remains a symbol of the aesthetic ideal of classical antiquity.

Radiating with a chic, girly charm, Chloe brings a fresh and vibrant perspective to the latest trends in the beauty world and the glitz of the cinema. Her passion for makeup artistry and film analysis shines through in her engaging and informative articles. With a keen eye for aesthetic and storytelling, Chloe offers her readers insider tips, thoughtful reviews, and a touch of glamour in every piece.

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