Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History



  • Statuette of a diskos thrower, ca. 480–460 b.c.; Classical
    Greek
    Bronze; H. 9 5/8 in. (24.5 cm)
    Rogers Fund, 1907 (07.286.87)

    Diskos throwing, an event in the pentathlon, demanded rhythm, precision, and strength. The athlete represented in this bronze statuette is about to begin the throw, a movement depicted with such understanding that we can feel its energy and anticipate its consequences. He is about to swing the diskos forward in his left hand, transfer it to his right, and then release it with the force of the gathered momentum. With his right, weight-bearing leg advanced, the position of his limb carries through to his torso.

    The beauty of the statuette lies in the calm and concentrated physiognomy that forms part of a perfectly developed and disciplined body. Notice the athlete's powerful, well-developed shoulders, and the bulging muscle of his left arm. His drilled eyes suggest intense concentration, and the high position of his ears seems to extend the tension of the muscles of his neck.

    Athletes in ancient Greece trained and competed in the nude. In its original state, the shining bronze of this statuette would have resembled suntanned skin, rubbed with oil and glistening in the sun. Perhaps this piece was an offering to the gods, dedicated by a diskos thrower to celebrate his victory in one of the many Panhellenic competitions.

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  • Statuette of a diskos thrower, ca. 480–460 B.C.; Classical
    Greek
    Bronze; H. 9 5/8 in. (24.5 cm)
    Rogers Fund, 1907 (07.286.87)

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