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This statue of a discus thrower is modeled after a Greek bronze original by Myron, cast sometime during the Classical Period, 460-450 BC, now lost. It is a Roman marble copy and can be found in the National Roman Museum, Palazzo Massimo. The athlete is caught in a moment of great tension just before unwinding and releasing the discus. This moment of intense concentration is belied, however, by the calm features of the athlete’s face.
The Greek bronze Discobolus by Myron is lost but the work is known through numerous marble Roman copies. The first Discobolus marble copy to be recovered was the Palombara Discobolus. There were also smaller scale versions in bronze.
The discus thrower statue is an example of rhythmos, harmony and balance. Myron is often credited with being the first sculptor to master this style. The Discobolus is completely nude. The potential energy expressed in this sculpture’s tightly wound pose, expressing the moment of stasis just before the release, is an example of the advancement of Classical sculpture from Archaic. The torso shows no muscular strain, however, even though the limbs are outflung.
The Discobolus pose has been criticized as unnatural, and not considered an efficient way to throw the discus. Compounding these problems of verisimilitude, the discus thrower’s face shows no evidence of the effort involved in making such a cast. Nevertheless, despite these shortcomings, the Discobolus achieves a greater truth because of its symmetria, its proportionality, the relationship of all of its parts to each other and to the conception of the whole.
This idea symmetria has been traced to a treatise on sculpture by Polyclitus, probably written in the fifth century BC. It presented the argument that by mastering symmetria, a work of art can achieve kallos, the beautiful, and lead to eu, the perfect or the good.
Craig took this picture for Pro Romanis several years ago on a photographic expedition to Rome. Craig Phares is a photographer, artist, designer, and programmer. He built his first game on a TI-85 calculator when he should have been doing math homework, and has never stopped, creating numerous jaw-dropping digital masterpieces for the web, desktop, and mobile devices. Craig studied sculpture at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, while constantly improving his design and programming skills on his own time. He went on to work for several advertising agencies, finally leaving to form his own company. Craig is the founder of Six Overground, a progressive digital agency focused on building full-scale digital platforms. His company has produced award-winning work for major brands and corporations including Citigroup, Estée Lauder, Havaianas HBO, Johnson & Johnson, Mars, NFL, U.S. Air Force, and USDA. When he’s not glued to a computer monitor, you’ll find him in the real world, dreaming up the next big thing. To learn more about Craig, visit his website at http://sixoverground.com/about/.