Archaic Greek Sculpture in the Eyes of Ancient and Modern Viewers


ACLS Fellowship Program


History of Art


For modern audiences the most appealing category of ancient art is Archaic art, while ‘Archaistic’ works—monuments created in Archaic style during the Classical and Hellenistic periods—are in contrast felt to be inauthentic and unimpressive. This is because what we moderns admire in Archaic art is not what the ancients most admired in it. Authors of Hellenistic and Roman times say very little about what they thought of the earliest monuments of their culture. But the many surviving ‘Archaistic’ works show us exactly what Archaic art looked like in the eyes of later Greeks and Romans. Archaistic statues and reliefs turn out to be documents of remarkable interest to the cultural historian. They represent a much-neglected body of material well worth reclaiming for the history of art.