Lycian Apollo

Lycian Apollo
Lycian Apollo

Greek and Roman works have been a continuous source of inspiration for architects, painters and sculptors of all times, the iconographic forms of Classical Antiquity have influenced later aesthetics perhaps more than any other artistic movement. In this sense, it does not seem strange to think that paintings from the 16th century, such as Titian's Venus of Urbino, have their most evident precedent in the classical Venuses, however, not all iconographies have had the same diffusion and some models may be perhaps more unknown to the artist. great public.


The work we are analyzing here today is a round sculpture that laid the foundations for a new iconography to represent the god Apollo, the Lycian Apollo. Apollo was one of the most prominent figures in the Panhellenic religion, son of Zeus and Leto, he was one of the most revered gods by the Greeks; The cause of diseases and plagues, Apollo was also the god of healing, of Truth or of the Sun. Perhaps all of this explains the multiple iconographic representations that have come down to us of the young god.

On this occasion the iconography of the Lycian Apollo is a model that, contrary to what it might seem from its nomenclature, does not correspond to the region of Lycia but rather its name comes from a description made by the Syrian author Luciano, on a sculpture of Apollo that was in one of thegymnasiums or arenas of Athens. In this model the god of the sun is represented in a relaxed manner, leaningon an object –normally a tree trunk or some stone- while he brings one of his hands towards his head to touch himself the hair, in an adolescent gesture that tells us about the god's youth but also about those famous mood swings associated precisely with his immaturity.

There aretwo different versionsof the iconography of the Lycian Apollo, on the one hand we find a more adolescent version of the god in which his body does not yet seem well muscled, but rather languid and slightly turned. In another of the versions of this Lycian Apollo, however, we find an Apollo with a well-defined body, marked musculature and therefore a more adult appearance.

There are many hypotheses about the origin of this iconography, but it seems that experts have determined that it is very possible that the work belonged to Praxiteles, one of the most prominent sculptors of the classical era, whose works mark the beginning of a classicist mannerism with increasingly sensual and provocative forms, as well as the famous hip-thumping posture that has become known as The Praxitelian Curve.

The iconography of the Lycian Apollo was very famous in Antiquity so that it was reproduced on multiple occasions, until we have reached great sculptural works and small figurines with the image of the god, as well as a good number of coins Roman times in which this is representedmodel.

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