Hellenistic Period and Greek Culture

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The Laocoon and his son’s, is one of the famous marble sculptures you can see today. This particular sculpture was carved during the Hellenistic Period between 1520 and 1525 by Baccio Bandinelli and can be found in the Vatican, where it remains to this day.

At first glance, you can tell this piece holds a Hellenistic style. This style mainly focused more on naturalistic and expressive features, often depicting extreme emotions in their art. A common theme during the Hellenistic period surrounded their subject with issues of suffering, old age of sleep. This Specific sculpture holds very naturalistic details all around the face and their bodies. The extreme emotions and figures portrayed are what led me to make my looking assignment about. 

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This sculpture is made out of marble and stands at the height of 208 cm and the width 163 cm, and like most ancient Greek sculptures, the Laocoon and his sons based on a classic mythology story. One can automatically notice the giant snake strangling Laocoon and his sons. Their expressions on their faces convey the struggles and the physical suffering these figures are facing when trying to rescue themselves from these snakes.

Visually this is a striking sculpture that captures expression and anatomical realism very well. It is noticeable that the sculpture interlocks parts of the white marble. My focus instantly goes to the figure in the middle. Laocoon’s expression of sadness and pain is what I particularly admire in this piece. It is very dramatic yet captures the audience’s attention. When we pay close attention to the details in the face, we can also notice the artist’s incredible job of adding wrinkles around the eyes and forehead. All three figures illustrate different forms of pain in their faces with their mouths and eyes. As a whole, one can see that the whole aspect of this piece is to portray agony.

Through closer analysis, some techniques are applied to this stunning piece. The middle figure has his head to the side and looks up to the sky, giving a feeling of chaos. The movement of the hair also helps articulate that as well. The two other figures, known as Loacoons sons, also show a mix of pain and horror in their expressions. The left figure shows significant signs of struggle as he tries to unravel himself from the venomous snake. The expression on his face shows that he is undeniably going to die from the snake while he stares at his father, ultimately facing the same doom. The other brother, located on the right of the sculpture, frees one of his legs from the snake but still has a horrifying face expression as he stares towards his father and his brother being strangled and bitten by the second snake.

Throughout this sculpture, a story can be told even without any context behind it and can portray emotion of defeat and pain. Overall I believe this sculpture has had a significant impact in the past and today. The realistic features and its ability to capture extreme emotion is what makes this art so unique 

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