Miron “Discobolus”, Essay Example

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Essay

The Discobolus or disc-thrower is a sculpture attributed to the Greek artist Miron, made in approximately 460-450 B.C. The work is commonly placed in the Severe or early Classical style, with its emphasis on simple forms and bodies i. Miron’s Discobolus according to its iconic status may be described as having informed this retroactive classification of style itself, as opposed to be merely being a byproduct of this style. Above all, the notion that informs Miron’s Discobolus is the attempt to faithfully portray the movements of bodies, thereby providing a closer view into the dynamics of the world around us. At the same time, the aesthetic value of the work attempts to emphasize the beauty of physical forms with this depiction of the grace of corporeal movement.

The stylistic characteristics of the Discobolus are above all determined by the aforementioned attempt to faithfully depict motion. Sculptures are shown in Miron’s work to attempt to become alive, thus creating a distinct paradox that runs throughout the piece: sculptures by definition, in their heaviness, seem to represent an arresting of the possibility of movement. In contrast, Miron takes the dynamic movements of the discus thrower and thereby makes it the theme of a sculpture, thus unlocking the hidden potentials of sculpture itself.

At the same time, the work is clearly committed to developing ideas of the beauty of the human body. The athletic figure of the Discobolus designates certain idealized versions of the human form. At the same time, however, these idealizations are very real, since they are based on the physical potential of the human body. Accordingly, Miron tries to show the very beauty of the latter.

Miron arguably defines the Severe style with this piece, while also simultaneously representing a unique moment within this period. The simplicity of form that marks the style and its underlying heaviness from where the name “severe” comes from is repeated in the sheer power of the sculpture, as the Discobolus exudes a sense of strength. At the same time, however, Miron contrasts this notion with the very idea of the Discobolus as depicting an athletic endeavor wholly defined by an idea of motion. Despite sculpture’s internal possibilities as dictated by a certain freezing of time, Miron can be said to challenge the contextual constraints of this form of art by emphasizing motion. At the same time, however, the sculptor can be said to attempt to break down and freeze a moment of radical movement with this work, isolating an instance within time that basically shows how motion itself functions.

The characteristic elements of style of Miron’s Discobolus in relation to other works of the Severe period are above all exemplified in his clear dedication to faithful depictions of human anatomy. The figure of the athlete becomes an ideal representation of what human anatomy can represent, such that the work functions as a certain celebration of the potential of the human form. At the same time, the motion of the sculpture can be said to challenge some of the more heavy elements that characterize the Severe style. Miron is interested in stretching the boundaries of this style, showing that motion can also be a subject of interest for the sculptor, despite the apparent paradox that this suggests. Accordingly, Miron makes a broader theoretical claim with this work that no piece of art is ultimately defined by its genre or its medium, but can rather dedicate itself to portraying diverse series of objects.

Hence, whereas clear elements of the Severe style exist in Miron’s Discobolus, such as the attention to human anatomy and the overall imposing power of the sculpture itself, Miron also introduces into this style a novel dedication to the phenomenon of motion. This can be understood as explaining the beauty of corporeal bodies not only in terms of their actual appearance, but also in terms of their potential to act. Miron thus becomes a classical example of this style, while at the same time transcending it.

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