Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A State of Stillness in Stone

The Kouros are sculptures from around 530 BC. You have seen pictures of them, standing figures, arms at the side, legs together, with maybe a foot extended. And the face, no radiant smiles, just a tiny calm lip line. I have heard these statues referred to as an early stage of sculpture, before the Greeks had learned to convey the action, say the movement you can see in the Laocoon frenzy, before action in stone was in the repertory of Greek artists. The statues are commonly regarded as a primitive stage of European art.

What if, though, the opposite were the case. What if these statues, the still strange erect figures, were representing the inner life of a man whose awareness has a vertical dimension missing in most people. The Kouros, to my mind, have the stillness of a mystical awareness kept amidst the flurry of everyday life.

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