Pondus, uno crure, and Polykleitos’ statues
Authors: Gianfranco Adornato
In: Excellence. Studies in honour of Olga Palagia
Edited by: H.R. Goette – I. Leventi
Publisher: Rahden: Leidorf, 2019
Description: The article focuses on aesthetic judgments on Greek artists, mainly on Polykleitos, and on technical and formal achievements in Greek sculpture during the fifth century. The first part investigates the concept of pondus, as attested in Latin sources, in order to better understand Quintilian’s statement on the lack of pondus in Polykleitos’s statues. In my perspective, the term can be associated to the new, peculiar stance of Polykleitos’s statues, uno crure or on one leg, as attested by Pliny the Elder. The second part explores the archaeological evidence and the technical and stylistic improvements on fifth-century sculpture. Thanks to the analysis of the dowel holes of extant dedications, it is worth noting that the stance on one leg was introduced for the first time by Polykleitos on the Kyniskos’ monument in Olympia. From an art historical point of view, it represents a turning point and a significant progress in the representation of the male body, in the rendering of the standing figure, and in technique.