emerged in the early years of Greek monumental sculpture, around the middle of
the 7th century B. C. It portrays an unclothed youth standing with his
left leg forward and his arms at his sides. The Cypriot sculptures of this
period, like the statue cat. no. 76 found at the shrine of Apollo at Pyla
on Cyprus, largely conform to this type in their composition and posture. (On
the statue’s history in the 19th century cf. the essay by
A. Bernhard-Walcher in the present catalogue.) However, other influences
are also manifest in Cypriot sculpture, resulting from the island’s turbulent
history: in the 7th century B. C. it was under Assyrian, in the 6th
century under Egyptian and later under Persian hegemony. Like some kouroi from
eastern Ionia -- from Samos, Pergamum and Miletus -- the Cypriot statues are
almost invariably clothed in accordance with Oriental convention. Their attire
is reminiscent of the diagonally worn cape which, originating in eastern Ionia
in the middle of the 6th century, is worn by the late-archaic Greek korai.
were erected as votive offerings at shrines or as heroic portrayals of the
deceased on graves. This larger-than-life statue was unearthed at a shrine to
Apollo and will have been donated as a votive offering.
kouroi are depicted as beardless, an indication of the figure’s youthfulness.
The statue from Pyla, on the other hand, has a prominent beard made up of
stylized curls deriving from Assyrian models. The figure also has a delicate
moustache in the form of several plastic horizontal strips. The hair is curled
over the forehead and at the back falls thickly to low on the back in the
manner of a wig. Here, however, is it only crudely elaborated, like the back of
the statue as a whole. Behind the ears, which are located far back and too high
up, three locks of hair are draped over the shoulders and hang down over the
chest. The regular recessed waves, resembling indentations in clay, are
intended to suggest plaits. A wreath of leaves is woven into the hair, the
adversifoliate leaves changing direction over the middle of the forehead.
principal features of the radiant face are the large, almond-shaped eyes with
their raised eyebrows, the prominent (partially restored) nose and the mouth.
The lips and the slight upward curl of the corners of the mouth evoke a
restrained smile. The figure is of sturdy stature with broad shoulders, a very
powerful chest and strong arm and leg muscles. A notable feature is the kneecap
of the left leg, depicted as a lentiform indentation somewhat reminiscent of an
eye. The coat was originally red (there are traces of paint above the right
thigh). It leaves the right half of the chest and the left side of the body
exposed. Originally there would probably have been a painted, tight-fitting
undergarment beneath the coat (cf. cat. no. 77). The coat is fastened at
the left shoulder and encloses the torso in curving folds. A length of fabric
pleated several times hangs from the left shoulder in stepped zigzag folds.
strictly frontal aspect, the homogeneity of the silhouette with the lowered,
slightly angled arms and the clenched fists, and the one extended leg all
suggest that these kouroi were influenced by Egyptian sculptures. This
influence was evident even in ancient times. Writing in the 1st century AD,
Diodorus (I,98,9) described a sculpture of Apollo Pythios in the kouros style
on Samos as “similar to Egyptian works.” However, whereas the Egyptian
sculptors left their figures attached to the stone of the block from which they
were fashioned, the Greek sculptors always detached their figures from the rear
column of stone. And in Egypt the form, once it had emerged, was retained,
while in the context of Greek culture the archaic kouros evolved over a period
of 150 years into the early classical depiction of the young man. In Cyprus
(and in much the same way in Etruria) the process occurred more slowly and less
consistently. Thus, this votive statue, dating from the threshold to the 5th
century, still has a distinctly archaic feel about it, with the incomplete
separation of the lower legs -- reminiscent of Egyptian statues -- a notable
A. Bernhard-Walcher u. a., Die Sammlung zyprischer Antiken im KHM. Sammlungskataloge des KHM Bd. 2, Wien: 1999
550 - 525 v. Chr.
Pyla , Zypern
Kalkstein; Reste von Bemalung
H. 201 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Antikensammlung
Antikensammlung, I 341
Lang, Sir Robert H.; Millosicz, Georg von, Wien; 1872 Kauf
This object is still without a Art Patron. Accept the patronage and make sure that this cultural treasure is preserved for future generations.
Your donation is a direct and sustainable contribution to the scientific documentation, research, restoration, and presentation of the artworks of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien.