Ancient Greek Sculptures; Kritios Boy & Warrior from the Sea off Riace

Ancient Greek Sculptures; Kritios Boy & Warrior from the Sea off Riace


The classical period of Greece is marked between 480B.C and 400 B.C. Kritios Boy is believed to have been named after the artist who sculpted him. The weight of the sculpture has been redistributed to make the left hip slightly higher than the right. The Kririos Boy’s weight rests on his left foot instead of both feet. The lines of the graceful thighs make them to appear almost like the living as well as the slight swell on the belly. The face too is looks closely like that of a real human being (Wilder, p 76). Kritios Boy was actually sculpted in a period that marked the beginning of a new era from Kouros adopted from the Egyptians and Minoans which was rigid and lifeless to the naturalistic Kritios Boy. Kouros which means youthful boy was taken to represent the old order of rigid, powerful and proud aristocrats (archaic period) to the naturalistic form of Kririos Boy which represented the emerging democracy (Wilder, p 76). The warrior from the sea off Riace, Italy was reclaimed from sank Greek ship. It is taken to be a continuation from the Kritios Boy because of the shift of the medium from marble to bronze. Both of the sculptures represent a break away from the rigid archaic sculptures (kleiner, 2009 p 121).


This two sculptures mark the beginning of Classical period. This period is characterized by conscience and consciousness of art. The art though still were made to resemble the human form both in proportion, size and consciousness (Pollitt, 1972 p 15).This art at that time new took another interest which was to capture emotions and shifting states of mind in art or dramatic context (Pollitt, 1972 p 15). The art at that time was linked to particular times and a circumstance (Pollitt, 1972 p 15) in these two sculptures is the democratic emergence where Greece was ruled by all men from Greece. Kouros represented those that are greater than man while the new art then wanted to portray the ordinary man.

Developments that allowed the depiction

There was the change from the Egyptian heroic enormous sculptures which were huge and rigid to the new art that was naturalistic in the sense that it gave the exactness in size and proportion to the real human beings and also bearing the expression of living human beings. There was the change to democratic Greece which laid more emphasis on the ordinary man.


The sculptures distinction

The expression of emotion and the clear depiction of the artist’s message are two items that make the Kritios Boy distinct. The expression on his face shows that he is more concerned of his fate and pain and the on-lookers (Kleiner & Mamiya, 2010 p 65). The fact that it represented a change in political and cultural order shows the artist depiction of broken arms and supported limbs are clear depiction of the archaic down fall or fate not knowing where to turn to (Kleiner & Mamiya, 2010 p 65). The soldier sculpture is believed to be of the classical age where statues express motion and represent the consciousness of the living humans. Both are the normal size of human beings present the smooth curves of the human body despite the materials used which are hard to sculpt; marble and bronze. The nudity of the sculpture together with the athletic body of the sculptures seeks to withdraw admiration from viewers all which make them unique (Rager, 2007 p 32); naked yet still admirable even to be kept outside.





Kleiner F., (2009). Gardner’s Art through the ages: A global history. Boston: Thomson Wadsworth.

Kleiner S.F., & Mamiya J.C., (2010). Gardner’s Art through the ages: A concise western history, 2nd edition. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Pollitt J.J., (1972). Experience in Classical Greece. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Rager M.K., (2007). Transcendent values: Greek humanism and its legacy in the 21st century. Ann Arbor: ProQuest Information and learning Company, UMI Microform 1450957.

Wilder B.J., (2007). Art History for dummies. Indianapolis: Wiley Publishing, Inc.