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Sounion kouros

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Sounion kouros

The Sounion Kouros is an early archaic Greek statue of a naked young man or kouros (Ancient Greek κοῦρος). Larger than life size, the statue was carved in marble from Naxos in around 600BC. It has similarities with Egyptian statues (the frontal stance, arms by the sides, and advanced left leg) but the kouros is naked with no skirt.

The figure stands in a conventional pose, with head and body on the centreline, and the left foot advanced but weight distributed equally on both feet, with fists clenched to the side of large thighs. The head is large and square, with an archaic smile; the stiff body faces frontally, with wide shoulders, narrow waist and hips. Some red colouring remains in the strands of braided hair, which are held by a ribbon tied by in a Heracles knot, and with curls on the forehead. Anatomical features are suggested by surface marks, including eight compartments to the abdomen. Some details are abstracted: it has large volute earlobes, over large almond-shaped eyes, and the proportions are elongated.

The statue was found buried near the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion in 1906, and may have been removed and buried by the Persians when the temple was destroyed in 480BC during the second Persian invasion of Greece. Restored to a height of 3.05 metres (10.0 ft), it is now held by the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.

References

  • Sounion Kouros, Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge
  • Athens, Attica and the Megarid: An Archaeological Guide, Hans Rupprecht Goette, p.12
  • Sounion kouros, Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports
  • Sculpture in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens, edited by Nikolaos Kaltsas, Ethnikon Archaiologikon Mouseion (Greece), p.39
  • Greek Bronze Statuary: From the Beginnings Through the Fifth Century B.C., Carol C. Mattusch
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