The Kroisos kouros – Archaic period (6th century BC)


This kouros, which means “young man”, was discovered in Anavyssos on the southern end of Attica. It was made around 530 BC in Paros marble. This 1,94 meter high kouros is now on view in National Museum of Athens. Its base was discovered a few years later in the same spot. On the base, we can read the inscription: “Stop and show pity beside the marker of Kroisos, dead, whom, when he was in the front ranks, raging Ares destroyed“. This inscription confirms that this sculpture was a grave marker and it also gives us an essential element: the name of the young man, Kroisos.

The kouroi and korai have been deeply studied by Gisela Richter, who is the originator of the Richter system. This technique is a tool to help specialists date sculptures relative to one another. Here, his thighs are powerful and his shinbones are shown with acute lines, which is a old treatment. The waist is very narrow compared the thighs. The thoracic arch is wider than previous kouroi. The forearm is detach from the body, which was a later development, since at first sculptors didn’t attempt this because it made parts of the kouros more fragile and easily breakable. His decorative hair is composed of pearled locks, which places the kouros after 550 BC. His face has a solid chin and prominent cheekbones. The corners of the mouth are set back and not high, and the young man shows us a hint of a smile. The tragus, antitragus and helix of the ear are noted. The canthus is almost invisible, which is a sign of antiquity. There is no lacrimal caruncle. The eyes seem to move up the upper eyelid. There is a perfect treatment of the passage from the frontal view to the lateral view which explains why eyebrows are a bit up.

There are several hypotheses about Kroisos. He might have been a mercenary who came to Athens for a battle, possibly the Pallene battle. The sculpture might be in the Anatolian style and the face in the Attic one, as we find many sculptures with this face type in Attica.


One thought on “The Kroisos kouros – Archaic period (6th century BC)

  1. Pingback: Annotation 1 – Kroisos Kouros | kerry513852

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