Polykleitos, Polycletus, or Polyclitus (pŏlĭklĪˈtəs, –klēˈ–, –klĪ–) [key], two Greek sculptors of the school of Argos. Polykleitos, the elder, fl. c.450–c.420 B.C., was a contemporary of Phidias. Born either in Sicyon or Argos, he became head of the Argive school. He worked principally in bronze and made a number of statues of athletes. His most famous statue embodied his ideal of physical perfection. This "canon of Polykleitos," which emphasized a counterbalance of tension and relaxation through shoulders and hips, known as chiastic balance, became the standard of proportions for sculptors. It is best known through a copy, the Doryphorus or Spear-Bearer (Naples). Other sculptures representing his athletic, muscular, square-headed type, preserved through copies, are the Diadumenus (National Mus., Athens), a man binding a fillet about his head, and an Amazon. Another of his works praised by ancient writers was a gold and ivory Hera for a temple at Argos; now known only from Pausanias' description and from representations on Roman coins. No recognized originals by Polykleitos exist today. Polykleitos, the younger, worked in the 4th cent. B.C. Although he was also a sculptor of athletes, his greatest fame was won as an architect. He designed the great theater at Epidaurus.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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