|Delphi Archaeological Museum
|Kleobis and Biton
|Excavated at Delphi (the statues and part of one of the inscribed bases were found in 1893 and 1894 near the Athenian Treasury; the second base was found reused in a wall of the Roman baths in 1907)
|Kleobis and Biton
|Signed by [Poly]medes of Argos
|Free-standing statue: kouros
|Original or Copy:
|ca. 580 BC
|H. of Statue A: 2.16 m, with base 2.35 m, W. of base 0.38 m, L. of base 0.70 m, H. of head 0.30 m; Restored H. of Statue B: 2.18 m
The twin kouroi dedicated at Delphi are most often identified as the brothers Kleobis and Biton. Their story is told be Herodotus (
The kouroi are naked except for boots, which distinguish them from images of Apollo and may mark them as travellers. They are stockily built, short though over-life-size, with broad shoulders and broad faces.. The heads are sub-Daedalic, i.e. triangular in form. The round eyes are set within curving upper and lower lids, the entire eye unit cut deeply into the head beneath heavy brows. The mouth is full. The large ears are set far back at the side of the head; the lobe is a flat disk. The transition between the front and sides of the head is very abrupt. A single row of large disk-like curls line the forehead. The rest of the hair, emphasizing the flat top of the head, is combed and then subdivided into large bead-like elements. In back the hair springs out from beneath the double cord which holds it in place, at the top of the ears and, again, at the base of the neck. Each of the tendrils, front and back, is neatly finished with a tie.
The abdomen is defined linearly. Another line sets off the triangular are of pubic hair above the genitals. The round knees are set off by incision as well as by modeling. The arms are held close to the body, the clenched hands securely attached to the thighs, the thumbs facing outwar
Form & Style: The stocky proportions and rounded forms are thought to be characteristic of the Argive style. To what extent the muscular appearance has been emphasized in order to characterize them, especially if these figures represent the Argive heroes whose fame rested on their brute strength, is not known.
Condition Description: Statue A (inv. 467) (on the right as displayed in the Delphi Museum) is well preserved and nearly complete, missing only the feet, although the soles are intact on the base, providing the stance. Statue B (inv. 1524) is much more fragmentary: a large fragment comprises the head through knees, several joining fragments comprise the left arm and part of the base. The lower legs and remainder of the base are restored. The right arm and left leg are missing. the surface is heavily eroded.
Material Description: Island, Parian marble(?) (GuideDelphMu 1991, 33)
On the top of Base B (which goes with Statue A): a:
b: another line, including questionable letters
On the top of Base A: