Polykleitos of Argos is one of the most celebrated sculptors of classical Greece. This richly illustrated volume of superb essays by art historians, classical scholars, and archaeologists discusses Polykleitos’ life and influence, his intellectual and cultural milieu, and his best-known work—the bronze Doryphoros, or “Spear-Bearer.” Polykleitos, the Doryphoros, and Tradition displays an impressive range of approaches–from commentary on the artistic and philosophical antecedents that influenced Polykleitos’ own aesthetic to the role of contemporary Greek anatomical knowledge in his representation of the human form. The essays offer extended analysis of his work as well as reflections of his style in sculpture, paintings, coins, and other art in Greece, Italy, and Asia Minor. This volume also contains a thorough discussion of Polykleitos’ original bronze Doryphoros, its pose, its relation to other spear-bearer sculptures, and the fine Roman marble copy of it now at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
Few tales of artistic triumph can rival the story of Zeuxis. As first reported by Cicero and Pliny, the painter Zeuxis set out to portray Helen of Troy, but when he realized that a single model could not match Helen’s beauty, he combined the best features of five different models. A primer on mimesis in art making, the Zeuxis myth also illustrates ambivalence about the ability to rely on nature as a model for ideal form.In Too Beautiful to Picture, Elizabeth C. Mansfield engages the visual arts, literature, and performance to examine the desire to make the ideal visible. She finds in the Zeuxis myth evidence of a cultural primal scene that manifests itself in gendered terms. Mansfield considers the many depictions of the legend during the Renaissance and questions its absence during the eighteenth century. Offering interpretations of Angelica Kauffman’s paintings, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, Mansfield also considers Orlan’s carnal art as a profound retelling of the myth. Throughout, Mansfield asserts that the Zeuxis legend encodes an unconscious record of the West’s reliance on mimetic representation as a vehicle for metaphysical solace.Elizabeth C. Mansfield is associate professor of art history at the University of the South.