Artifacts > Archaic Greek Sculpture
Archaic Greek Sculpture
The kore known as the Dedication of Nikandre is probably the oldest to survive. 180 years after it was made, the genre was at an end, and Greek sculpture was recognisably Classical.
Life-size human sculpture in hard stone began in Greece in the Archaic period. This was inspired in part by ancient Egyptian stone sculpture: the proportions of the New York Kouros exactly correspond to Egyptian rules about the proportion of human figures. In Greece, these sculptures best survive as religious dedications and grave markers, but the same techniques would have also been used to make cult images.
The best-known types of Archaic sculpture are the kouros and kore, near life-size frontal statues of a young man or woman, which were developed around the middle of the seventh century BC in the Cyclades. Probably the earliest kore produced was the Dedication of Nikandre, which was dedicated to Artemis at her temple on Delos between 660 and 650 BC, while kouroi began to be created shortly after this. Kouroi and korai were used to represent both humans and divinities. Some kouroi, such as the Colossus of the Naxians from around 600 BC, are known to represent Apollo, while the Phrasikleia Kore was meant to represent a young woman whose tomb it originally marked.
Over the course of the sixth century, kouroi from Attica become more lifelike and naturalistic. However, this trend does not appear elsewhere in the Greek world. The genre began to become less common over the last part of the sixth century as the elites who commissioned kouroi declined in influence, and by around 480 kouroi were no longer made.