Laocoon and His Sons

919 WordsNov 22, 20124 Pages
This essay is an attempt to address the marble sculpture commonly known as Laocoon and His Sons, and why exactly I believe it to be a work of high art, of great value and significance to the species. Laocoon and His Sons is a marble sculpture representing a scene that is a part of the tale of the siege and invasion of Troy. Laocoon was the protagonist in a play by Sophocles that is now lost. He was also written about by Virgil. The statue itself is one of the most famous sculptures of Greek and Roman antiquity, its subject is Laocoön, a Trojan high priest, who, along with his two sons, is – according to legend - attacked and killed by two snakes, or sea serpents. The tale is known as myth, but its content may have symbolic roots in actual…show more content…
History is hearsay. We can’t be sure. One of the pieces defining characteristics, what makes it such a marvel, is how the physique is anatomically perfect. This speaks of a highly developed culture, with an intricate understanding of anatomy and physiology. But, also of a culture that privileges physical strength and beauty. The Greeks of the time were either artists or warriors, or often both, so strength and beauty were central in their world. Laocoon and His Sons is a much more naturalistic piece than earlier Greek works; in which the figures were often idolized; lacking luster, life, emotion, humanity. Cleobis and Biton, a set of sculptures from the Archaic Period, exemplify this quite well; posing, rigid, golem like figures; lacking the humanity they are supposed to represent. The Hellenistic baroque style of Laocoon and His Sons gives us a much more true-to-life representation in comparison to earlier works. This work has inspired artists and regular humans alike down through the centuries, one of whom it is particularly well known to have influenced greatly was Michelangelo; as can be seen in some of his pieces; e.g: The rebellious Slave. I summation, I think this piece is truly of note to art historians. Above, I have highlighted some reasons I think this is the case. Bibliography: Virgil, (reprint) 2003. The Aeneid. London: Penguin Classics. Pollitt, J. J. 2006. Art in the Hellenistic Age. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 5 Pliny,
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