Sculptor (c.395 BC – c.300 BC)
Lysippus was one of the greatest sculptors of the world, together with Skopas and Praxiteles. Active during the late Classical period, Lysippus was primarily a bronze sculptor, having sculptured a total of 1500 sculptures, according to Pliny. The personal sculptor of Alexander the Great, he was renowned for his excellence in art, characterized by his extraordinary detail.
Numerous modern and contemporary historians agree unanimously that Lysippus was highly innovative in bronze sculpture. Among his main contributions were attributing a more natural appearance to the hair, making the head smaller in comparison to the body, making the body with less flesh and better proportions overall as well as elongating the limbs.
Lysippus mainly sculptured Gods, mythical heroes, athletes, armaments, animals and allegorical beings. In addition, he made busts and statues, most notably those of Alexander the Great, as he was the only one allowed by the king to depict him while Apelles the only one to paint him. Of his 1500 sculptures, very few to almost none of the originals have survived. Roman copies, however, that have survived have allowed us to know today Lysippus’ magnificent art. Of them, 35 are mentioned by ancient historians.
Some of Lysippus’ best sculptures include the following:
- Apoxyomenos (The Scraper) is among his most recognizable works, a Roman replica of the original bronze statue found in Rome. It depicts a young athlete scraping oil, dirt and sweat from his body using a strigil.
- The bronze statue of Agias, part of a complex of Olympians.
- An enormous statue of Heracles in Sicyon, a smaller copy of which is the famous Farnese Hercules by Glykon.
- Eros Stringing the Bow
- The Victorious Youth a bronze statue now in the United States.
- The Horses of Saint Mark, a set of 4 bronze horses
- Famous Olympian victors such as Troilus and Coridas
- Apollo riding the chariot of the Sun with the four horses
- A colossal bronze statue of Zeus situated in Tarentum.
The influence of Lysippus on subsequent sculptors was significant. Most of his students went on to become prominent sculptors, most importantly Chares of Lindos, who created the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Today, Lysippus’ creations decorate museums all around the globe, except from Greece.
- “Lysippus”. Helios New Encyclopaedic Dictionary. Passas, I. Athens: 1946. Print.
- Lysippos (c.395–305 BCE). Encyclopaedia of Sculpture. Visual-arts-cork.com. Web. September 16, 2018.