SECRETS, SCANDALS AND LESSER KNOWN STORIES: FIVE ICONIC CLASSICAL STATUES LAID BARE
Dr Samantha Masters, lecturer, Department of Ancient Studies, Stellenbosch University
Ancient classical statues still beguile and intrigue modern audiences. In art history they have traditionally been considered the epitome of artistic perfection. However, nowadays, aside from this acknowledged technical skill, the interest in archaeological objects has rightly shifted to their biographies. This means a consideration of different phases in their life cycle and reception. This series of lectures will consider five iconic ancient Greek statues: the Kouros of Apollo from Naxos, the Caryatids from the Athenian Acropolis, the Discobolos (discus-thrower) of Myron, the Knidian Aphrodite and the statue of the dying Laocoön and his sons in the Vatican. It will look at the meaning of these artworks in a variety of contexts over time. This interest in their biographies includes their origins, unexpected charms, scandals, co-optation by nefarious agents and, finally, in a sculpture by South African artist, Wim Botha: liberation.
1. The Kouros of Apollo and the sleeping giants of Naxos
2. The maidens of Athena: Caryatids from the Acropolis
3. The discobolos: a shadowy reception by nefarious agents
4. Aphrodite and the economics of agalmatophilia (love of statues)
5. Laocoön set free: a reinterpretation by Wim Botha