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Laoco÷n and his Sons

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Author Topic: Laoco÷n and his Sons  (Read 406 times)
Krystal Coenen
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Posts: 4754

« on: July 14, 2007, 08:04:16 pm »

A frontal view of the sculpture with a pre-20th century restoration. Compare Blake's print below


The discovery of the Laoco÷n made a great impression on Italian sculptors and significantly influenced the course of Italian Renaissance art. The sculptor Michelangelo is known to have been particularly impressed by the massive scale of the work and its sensuous Hellenistic aesthetic of the statue, particularly its depiction of the male figures.

The influence of the Laoco÷n is evidenced in Michelangelo's Battle of Cascina: cartoons for this work show that he used several variants of the poses in the Laoco÷n group. Many of Michelangelo's later works, such as the Rebellious Slave and the Dying Slave, were also influenced by the Laoco÷n. The tragic nobility of this statue is one of the themes in Gotthold Lessing's essay on literature and aesthetics, Laoko÷n, one of the early classics of art criticism.

The Florentine sculptor Baccio Bandinelli was commissioned to make a copy by Pope Leo X de' Medici. Bandinelli's version, which was often copied and distributed in small bronzes, is at the Uffizi Gallery, Florence (see here). A bronze casting, made for Franšois I at Fontainebleau from a mold taken from the original under the supervision of Primaticcio, is at the MusÚe du Louvre.

A woodcut, possibly after a drawing by Titian, parodied the sculpture by portraying three apes instead of humans. It has often been interpreted as a satire on the clumsiness of Bandinelli's copy, but it has also been suggested that it was a commentary on debates of the time about human anatomy.[2]

The original was seized and taken to Paris by NapolÚon Bonaparte after his conquest of Italy in 1799, and installed in a place of honour in the MusÚe NapolÚon at the Louvre, where it was one of the inspirations of neoclassicism in French art. Following the fall of NapolÚon, it was returned by the British to the Vatican in 1816.

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