Art History - Laocoon and His Sons Essay

1387 Words6 Pages
Laocoön and his sons This essay will examine the famous sculpture Laocoön and his sons by the Rhodes sculptors Anthanadorus, Hagesandros and Polydorus. It will draw on relevant art-historical and critical literature to give an accurate description. Firstly the essay will execute an analysis of the work’s formal properties and detail its content and meaning then charactering it within the art historical context. This will aim to give greater insight into the group sculpture. The formal properties carefully planned and executed by the sculptors create the physicality of great Laocoön and his sons. The illustrative piece standing 2.42m in height and made entirely of white marble depicts a scene in the siege of Troy. It is made of up three human forms executing astounding realism. The central figure is captured in a moment of deep agony ‘One (snake) bites into Laocoön as the priest lets out a ferocious cry’ . His youngest son, on his left has fallen after already being bitten. On the father’s right, his oldest son looks to his father for help, whilst struggling to break free from the serpent’s coils. The free standing statue can be seen from 360 degrees allowing every muscle on the nude figures to be viewed in their dramatic and powerful poses. Hierarchical scale is used on the centre male figure, depicting him as far larger than his sons, forming an obvious focal point and allowing greater detail in the form. There is increasing dynamism through emphasis on the diagonal, from the high point of Laocoön’s elbow (viewer left) down to his feet (viewers right). An asymmetrical balance is created by the large empty space on the viewer’s right balancing the action of Laocoön’s body and arm on the left. There is great history behind Laocoön and his son, which is essential to the understanding of meaning and content in the sculpture. The group sculpture is believed to be

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