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Lysippus

Λύσιππος). A native of Sicyon, and one of the most famous Greek artists, a contemporary of Alexander the Great. He was originally a worker in metal, and taught himself the art of the sculptor by studying nature and the canon of Polyclitus (q.v.). His works, which were said to amount to 1500, were all statues in bronze, and were remarkable for their lifelike characterization and their careful and accurate execution, shown particularly in the treatment of the hair. He aimed at representing the beauty and harmony more especially of the male human body; and substituted for the proportions of Polyclitus a new ideal, which kept in view the effect produced, by giving the body a more slender and elegant shape, and by making the head smaller in comparison with the trunk, than is the case with the actual average man. The most famous among his statues of gods

Marble Copy of the Apoxyomenos of Lysippus. (Vatican Museum, Rome.)

were the colossal forms of Zeus and Heracles, at Tarentum of which the former was second in size only to that at Rhodes, while the latter was afterwards brought to the Capitol at Rome, and then to the Hippodrome at Constantinople, where it was melted down in A.D. 1022; and, lastly, the sun-god on the four-horse chariot at Rhodes (Pliny , Pliny H. N. xxxiv. 40, 63).

The first example of pure allegory in Greek art was his Καιρός, the “Favourable Moment”—a delicate youth with modest look standing on a ball, with his foot winged, and holding shears and a balance in his hands. The hair hung down in front, while it was so short behind that it could not be grasped (Anthol. Gr. ii. 49, 13; Callist. Statuae, 6).

By far the greater number of his statues were portraits. Of these the various representations of Alexander the Great from boyhood onwards were of marked excellence (Pliny , Pliny H. N. xxxiv. 64). Indeed, the king would have no sculptor but Lysippus to represent him, even as he would have no other painter than Apelles (Pliny , Pliny H. N. vii. 125; Epist. ii. 1, 240; Ad Fam. v. 12, 13).

Among his large groups were Craterus saving the life of Alexander chasing the lion (Pliny , Pliny H. N. xxxiv. 64), and the portraits of twenty-five horsemen and nine foot soldiers who fell at the first assault in the battle of the Granicus (Arrian, Anab. i. 16.7; Plut. Alex. 16). The excellent copy in marble, at the Vatican, of the Apoxyomenos, a youth removing the dust of the palaestra with a strigil, affords an idea of his skill in representing beautiful and perfectly developed bodies of delicate elasticity and graceful suppleness (Pliny , Pliny H. N. xxxiv. 62). See Perry's Greek and Roman Sculpture, pp. 478-488.

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