14 January 2010

The earliest man

This is a statue that represents a warrior named Kroisos, although we do not know if Kroisos actually looked like this, nor do we know who made the statue. Kroisos' gravestone reads, "Stop and show pity beside the marker of Kroisos, dead, whom once in battle's front rank raging Ares destroyed."

The statue, which dates back to the 6th century BCE, was on his grave, and it's among the very first cases of a statue being made to present an ordinary man rather than a god or a king. There are many statues like this one, known as Kouroi, all of them walking toward us, left foot forward, and with a frozen smile on their faces, known as the Archaic smile.

The rock band Tin Machine, led by singer David Bowie, put a picture of four Kouroi on the cover of their 1991 CD "Tin Machine II". When the album was released in the United States, the penises of the Kouroi had to be airbrushed out of sight of the prudent American public.

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