The Motya #Kouros
ca. 500 BCE–ca. 450 BCE
Motya, Museum Whitaker, sSicily
The tiny island of #Motya lies off Sicily's western coast.In 1979, archaeologists made a discovery here that laid bare that spirit of creative competition.They found a work that, in the 5th century BC,dramatically raised the bar of artistic ambition.Only one word begins to do justice to the effect of this sculpture -swagger.We are looking at an aristocrat and an athlete,probably a victorious #charioteer.He's fully aware of his vigour,his physical power and sexual charisma.He's revelling in his recent triumph.As a figure, he's dripping with attitude and brazen self-display,like a strutting peacock.And, like a peacock, he is something of a dandy.Because, artistically,the secret weapon of this #statue is what he's wearing -this high-belted, diaphanous robe,shrink-wrapping his still-sweaty muscles and revealing every last contour and swelling,leaving very little indeed to the imagination.All those swooping, darting, sinuous folds and crinkles,which have been carved with such a breathtaking new naturalism and subtlety so that they cascade down his body with the ease of water,they all caress and, therefore, emphasise his form,like underlining the most important passages in a book.
This is no god but a wealthy, successful individual,one with the money to pay an #artist for something very special.Victory statues like this would spur #Greek sculptors to push their skills to the limit.In terms of art history,the Motya charioteer seems to have come out of nowhere -this glorious apparition, a messenger announcing the sudden victory of the revolution with a flourish.