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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

" Laocoon and his Sons" the medium and the figure manipulated

"Laocoon and his Sons" could be said to represent one "logical" outcome of the imaginative re-creative approach approach to the legendary/mythical narrative. Here the sculptors conception is applied with a thoroughness that excludes almost any naturalistic observation. Both the figures and the medium are manipulated where this is felt to aid in visual expression equivalent to the narrative.

Everything serves the double function as visible representation of the event and an artistic/expressive device. The snake crushes the figures and animates the spaces between them.The figures appear to be trying to free themselves from the grip of the snake but the postures are subtly stylized. For example the boy on the right thrusts up and out with his left leg down and back with his right arm. The boy on the left turns his torso outwards and his lower body inwards. The Laocoon figure thrusts out and down with his right leg up and back with his left arm. The figures of the boys are also interesting in that if we look at their height we might judge their age to be perhaps ten or twelve years old. If we look at their physique we might judge them to be five to ten years older. To increase the sense of the boys innocence the sculptors perhaps needed to portray them as children. To increase the sense of crushing snake verses muscular power the Laocoon figure is given an exaggerated physique. To retain a unity between the figures the boys are given a physique that approximates that of Laocoon. The nudity of the figures also shows stress and strain in a way that clothed figures could not, this coupled with the minute rendering makes the action appear very "real"
The "Laocoon" is also significant in a wider historical context. Lost after the disintergration of the Roman Empire "Laocoon" was rediscovered during achaelogical excavations in Rome at the time of the Renaissance and became one of the sources for renaissance knowledge of ancient art. It was seen by Michaelangelo just before he started work in the Sistine Chapel

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