CM: In the archaic period of Greek art (700-480 BC), monumental sculpture took the form of the 'Kouros' (nude male youth) and 'Kore' (draped maiden). Long thought to represent only deities, it is now known that many of these proud, narcissistic, faintly smiling but generally stiff symbols represented mortals. This reflects the fundamentally human orientation of Greek art: "Although there are many marvels in this world," wrote Sophocles in Antigone, "the greatest marvel of all is man." This Head of Kouros is small in size and carved in porous stone. The use of such stone and the modeling in this particular archaic style suggest its origin in a Cypriot workshop. The hair crowns the foreahead and advances backwards in the form of mass. Despite its smallness, the viewers may discern the 'midiama' (the a rchaic smile), which is faint enough to be considered ambiguous. The midiama was used by Greek archaic sculptors, especially in the second quarter of the 6th century BC, possibly to suggest that their subject was alive, and infused with a sense of well-being. To viewers habituated to realism, the midiama is a flat and quite unnatural looking smile, although it could be seen as a movement towards naturalism.
[Megakles Rogakos 07/2006]
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES Silent Dialogues: Multimedia Portraits Throughout Time 2008 The American College of Greece - ACG Art, Athens