Lysippus of Sicyon and Pathos

Athens, in antiquity,  is the place where many believe architects and artisans have never been more successfully engaged between the meeting of the human and the divine. We can surely believe such a statement when we view the statue of the spirit of wild nature, Silenus gently cradling the infant Greek god of wine, Dionysus in his arms. The sculptor, Lysippus of Sicyon (370 – 300 BCE) introduced into the arena of Greek art, as represented in sculpture, that which so many had been seeking to render for so long – naturalism. This was a school of thinking that promoted realistic interpretations of life, including its unpleasant aspects. It was quite literally a warts and all approach. His relaxed style implies something more than just simple emotion. It is a moving celebration of man’s heroic qualities combined in harmonious proportion with the pursuit of pathos, that interior universe to which we are all drawn attracted by life’s complexities and contradictions. If perfection is a state of existence in the here and now then surely we could consider we may have reached it when we can connect with an illusion of humankind made from marble so clearly, that we expose ourselves to being animated and moved by it.

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