Greek sculptures have been known to be captured as an epic beauty that depicts the peak of artistic excellence that has never been achieved before. The popular sculptors of Greece were focused on the equilibrium, poise and idealized flawlessness of the human figure. These life-size figures, instilled with life and energy, glorified the human and most especially, the nude male form. Some of the great sculptors of Greece include Myron (Active 480 – 444BC), Pheidias (Active 488 – 444BC), Polykleitos (Active 450 – 430BC), Praxiteles (Active 375 – 335BC) and Lysippos (Active 370 – 300BC).
The three major materials that were used in crafting the Archaic (600 – 480BC), Classical (480 – 323BC), and Hellenistic (323 – 31BC) ancient Greek artifacts in the form of life-statues and sculptures are Bronze, marble and chryselephantine (Gold and ivory on wood). Marble was a great medium for creating those sculptures because it made the human figures appear as though they were carved from the inside—the desire of every great sculptor. Bronze is known to be problematic as a result of the fact that the original bronze sculptures were melted.
Furthermore, a lot of amazing architectural wonders of the world that took their origin from Greece are still in existence today. The following are the famous beautiful statues of ancient Greece that will be fascinating to behold, alongside information regarding their discovery, origin, and current location.
- Athena Parthenos (Around 447 BC): The Athena Parthenos, also known as Athena the virgin, was made from Chryselephantine (Gold and ivory on wood) by Pheidias. It was discovered and removed by the Romans from the Parthenon on the Acropolis of Athens. The 11 meter tall figure is the representation of the goddess Athina. The Ancient reproductions, such as the “Varvakeion Athena” and the ‘‘Lenormant Athena’’ are displayed in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, Greece.
- Lady of Auxerre (Around 650 – 625 BC): The Lady of Auxerre was mysteriously found in the storage vault of the Louvre Museum in the year 1907. No one can tell how the sculpture got to the Louvre Museum. This Cretan sculpture was made from limestone and was brightly painted; although, the color has faded away with the passage of time. This figure, 65cm high, is a sculpture of ‘‘Kore’’ which is interpreted as a maiden or young girl and is another name for Persephone, daughter of Demeter, in Greek mythology. It can be seen today at the Louvre Museum, Paris, France.
- Laocoon and Sons (Around 200 BC): The Laocoon group was discovered in the buried ground of the Rome vineyard owned by Felice de’ Fredis during excavations in the year 1506. This piece was credited by Pliny to three ancient Greek sculptors from the island of Rhodes; Agesander, Athendoros, and Polydoros. This marble masterpiece, with a height of more than 2 meters, depicts Laocoon, with his twin sons: Antiphantes and Thymbraeus, being attacked by two gigantic sea serpents. This scene was believed to have occurred because Laocoon, a priest in Troy during the Trojan War, warned against bringing the Trojan horse, discovered outside the gates by the people, into the city. This piece can be found in the Vatican museum
- The Charioteer of Delphi (Around 470 BC): The Charioteer of Delphi was discovered in the sanctuary of Apollo, Delphi, in the year 1896. It is an excellent piece of ancient bronze sculpture that was made by Pythagoras of Samos. This piece, although made of bronze, was preserved because it was buried under the rock fall at Delphi. This sculpture depicts a young man, Charioteer, wearing the customary Jockey’s tunic as a result of his victory at the Pythian games. It is still in existence today and can be found in the Delphi Archaeological Museum, Greece.
- The Fallen Warrior of the Temple at Aphaia (Around 480 BC): The piece was removed from the East and West pediments of the temple, shipped abroad, and sold to the Crown Prince, soon to be Ludwig I of Hanover, by Charles Robert Cockerell and Otto Magnus von Stackelberg in the year 1811. The temple of Aphaia, from which the sculpture was removed, was built within a sanctuary on the island of Aegina, dedicated to the goddess Aphaia. The figure depicts two warriors from the Trojan wars that fell in battle. The warrior from the west pediment is missing. The warrior from the east pediment is still in existence and can be found in the Glyptothek of Munich, Germany.
- The Venus de Milo (Around 130-100 BC): The Venus de Milo is the most recognizable of all the Greek statues. It was discovered inside a buried niche, in the ancient city of Milos by a Greek peasant, Georgos Kentrotas in the year 1820. It was made from Parian marble by a sauntering minstrel and artist, Alexandros of Antioch. This Hellenistic figure was believed to represent Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. This statue was presented to France as a gift and can be located at the Louvre Museum, Paris, France.
- The Winged Victory of Samothrace (Around 200 BC): The Winged Victory of Samothrace, also known as the Nike of Samothrace, was discovered on the Greek island of Samothrace, by the French archaeologist, Charles Champoiseau under the Ottoman rule in the year 1863. This Hellenistic statue was made from the grey Thasian marble and the white Parian marble and is 2.44 meters tall. The figure was created in honor of the goddess Nike, and also of the sea battle such as Battle of Salamis, or Battle of Actium. This Greek statue is seen today to dominate the Daru staircase of the Louvre Museum, Paris, France.
- Zeus and Ganymede (Around 470 BC): The first fragments of this sculpture were discovered in the stadium at Olympia in 1874; more pieces were found, at the same place in 1938. These two terracotta figures indicate a popular scene from the Greek mythology which describes Zeus trying to steal Ganymede from his father. Zeus was enchanted by Ganymede’s beauty and so, he deceived him and brought him along to Mount Olympus. It is still in existence and is now located at the archaeological Museum of Olympia, Greece.