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Kritias Boy (ca. 480 BC)

Kritias Boy (ca. 480 BC) – in the Severe style

What is the Severe style?

About the time of the Battle of Marathon, in 490 BC, Greek sculptors started to work in a new style, called the Severe style. This quickly replaced the old Archaic style.

What’s the Archaic Style?
The Battle of Marathon
More Greek sculpture
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Zeus or Poseidon throwing a spear (460 BC)

Zeus or Poseidon throwing a spear (460 BC) – in the Severe style

How was Severe style different?

In the Severe style, sculptors began to make statues more true to life, and with more feeling in their faces and their movements.

Instead of all being standing straight up and looking sacred and peaceful, now statues began to do things: drive a chariot, carry something, throw a spear, or ride a horse.

Severe sculpture of women

They have emotional expressions. (The same thing happened a little earlier in vase-painting). Instead of all being young men and women, now sculptors carved older people and children too.

The statues are better balanced

See how with this statue of Zeus (or maybe it’s Poseidon) the statue balances on just one foot and the toes of the other foot? Sculptors had gotten a lot better at balancing their statues so they wouldn’t fall over. Also, the Zeus statue is in bronze, which is harder to work but much lighter and more flexible than stone.

What is bronze?
Lost wax casting

The end of the Severe style

This new kind of sculpture didn’t last very long, because after only a short time it developed into an even more lifelike, energetic style: the Classical style.

Go on to the Classical Style

Learn by doing: a vase-painting project
Women in Severe Sculpture
More about the Archaic period

Bibliography and further reading about Severe style Greek sculpture:

More about the Severe style
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