The Doryphoros Essay, Research Paper
This stone sculpture is a naked human-like figure standing six feet tall. The body is in chiasmos stance with the left leg slightly bent and the left foot slightly behind the right. The head is turned slightly downward and to the right, and its size is approximately 1/6 of the body. The hair is cropped closely to the head with no part. The body has a defined musculature, however the forearms appear to be missing. There is an object behind and to the right of the right leg that is about 2 feet tall and 10 inches wide.
This sculpture seems to epitomize the ideal male human form. All of the body parts seem perfectly proportioned and the muscles are beautifully defined as if the image were of an athlete. The image is youthful with a calm demeanor. The right missing forearm looks as if it used to be resting at his side, while the left elbow was probably at a 90 degree angle, with the hand holding something. The slight bend in the left leg gives the impression of movement, as if the image was frozen while walking. The counterpoised stance adds an air of nobility to the “man”.
The sculpture is a Roman copy of the original Greek bronze made by artist Polykleitos in 450BC. It is recorded that he made the Doryphoros as an example of perfect proportion. He wrote a book to accompany the statue called, “The Cannon of Proportion, ” and countless artists copied the statue because of its perfection. This regal figure was named Doryphoros (Greek for “spearbearer”) because it originally held a long spear in its left hand. The statue epitomized the Greek human ideal — the athletic body is perfect in proportion and muscle, and the face is classically handsome as well. The Ancient Greeks believed that goodness and beauty went hand in hand. A sound mind equalled a sound body. The Greek culture sought after this perfection for themselves not only because it was attractive but also “moral” — Doryphoros was their example.