The piece of art I have selected to critique is Discobolus, aka The Disc Thrower currently on display in Rome, Italy. This majestic Classical period piece of art is the perfect portrayal of a finely tuned athlete at the peak of immense concentration prior to his release of a discus into space. The symbolism of Discobolus includes perfection, concentration, and athleticism. It is an explosion of kinetic energy displayed throughout every muscle fiber of the human body.
It was sculpted by the infamous Athenian sculptor Myron during the 5th Century around 450 B.C. Myron is noted for making statues of Gods and other Greek hero’s, he is most famous for his sculptures of athlete’s. His sculpting of athletes was more diligent, introducing greater boldness and rhythm, focusing on the sculpture as a whole not separated by parts. Myron’s sculptures were said to be more harmonious in proportions and more realistic than any other sculptor of his time. Myron is often credited with being the first sculptor to master this style and it was his attention to care to the finer points of the Art that truly set him a part from his peers and predecessors.
Originally cast in bronze, Discobolus is one of the most famous classic Greek statues’ from this period. Discobolus is engaging in the discus throw boasting vigorous and convincing movements in a perfect made form. His flexing muscles and concentrated expression create the impression of a tightly stretched bow. The symmetria is perfect. Myron has created the enduring pattern of athletic energy. He has taken a moment of action so specific that current students of athletics still debate if it Discobolus movements are even feasible today. The moment Myron has captured in the statue is an example of perfect harmony and balance.
Discus-Throwing was one of the first sports mastered by a pentathlon. Pentathletes were often considered inferior to athletes of other sports. Since no single muscle group is over developed in a Discus-thrower there physic was more admired vice their physical ability as an athlete.
Discobolus is displayed completely nude as were many sculpture’s of Greek athletes of this time period. His pose is said to be unnatural to man, and in today’s time period considered to be a rather inefficient way to throw the discus. Critiques believe that pentathletes of the 15th century utilized a three-quarter turn throwing technique, rather that the two and a quarter turn used by today’s athletes. That makes comparison of techniques rater void.
There is very little emotion shown in the discus thrower’s face. To many critiques it may seem that Myron’s desire for perfection has made him focus too rigorously on the sense of strain in the individual muscles, and not the complete action of the athlete.
Discobolus is a sculpture in the round that was molded upon perfection that has been copied numerous times. As early as 1781, Discobolus Palombara is the first known replica. Once owned by Adolf Hitler, it is now displayed in the National Museum of Rome. There are many other copies of Discobolus that are on display throughout the world. Few are in its original bronze state many are made of marble and plaster. Even in currency Discobolus was portrayed on the Greek 1000 Greek drachma banknote of 1987-2001, further establishing itself as one of the greatest pieces of art ever created.
I consider this work by Myron a piece of art that will live on for generations. The inspiration it provides and precise mechanics it follows stuns critiques and athletes a like. Discobolus form and precise function even though developed over 15 centuries ago is still emulated and admired by sculptors and artists today.