Classical Art & Architecture Over Time
Created on September 15, 2023
More creations to inspire you
The Fury of Athamas (1794) by John Flaxman
This sculpture both showcases and adapts elements of the Classical Ideal. In relation to balance, the artwork adapts the trait by using duality in the legs of Athamas but making all of the characters shift/ lean towards the right instead of both ways to balance it out. The piece mainly has order elements from the Hellenistic/ Roman era but it modernizes them slightly such as the both calm and angry expression on Athamas' face. an adaptation of the Hellenistic and the Classical eras. The proportions are Classical for the most part and there's only a slight adaptation in which Athamas is nearly twice the size of the children, showcasing the power he has over them.
Much like the motion and drapery being exaggerated, the facial expressions of the children are very clear and not at all calm or balanced. This is a trait that comes from the Hellenistic/ Roman era in which the facial expressions are not calm & are usually used to show the powerful emotions present in the artwork.
Emotional restraint/ duality
Although partaking in a horrific task, Athamas (the man in the sculpture) has a somber, almost serene expression on his face. This adapts the concept of classical sculpture because his face is calm but begins to show small signs of emotion (ie. anger). The duality of the weight of the task and his mostly neutral expression both display and adapt the concept of emotional restraint, balancing the piece with the horrified expressions on the faces of the other people.
Hellenistic/ Roman style is present in the abundance of drapery in the sculpture and the exaggeration of movement by the subjects. This is not Archaic for the shapes are loose and not stiff and it's not Classical because there is little balance as all of the movement is in the same direction.
The one bent leg and one straight leg of Athamas create a sense of duality in which the two opposing features work together to make one form. This method was commonly used in Classic artworks because it showed peace and balance within the creation.