An Analysis of Statues at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The first statue observed is the New York Kouros from the Metropolitan Museum of Art from about 600BCE. It is very frontal and linear statue of a male that has almost perfect symmetry. This statue is freestanding. This statue’s medium is marble, but it is not as smooth
as other Greek works of art that are carved in marble are smooth. This might be because the marble wore away due to the age of this statue. This leads me to the conclusion that the statue was placed outdoors.

Kouros is the Greek word for youth, so this statue is that of a Greek
youth. The statue must have been a grave marker because that is what most Kouros statues were used for at the time. Kouros statues looked towards Egyptian statues which also had a very similar frontal pose.

The statue is about 6 feet high, which is a lot taller than most youths
are and looking at it in the museum was overwhelming.

The statue is also very stiff. The Kouros’ arms are clenched at its sides and they seem to be very stiff. All of the marble is carved away from in between the arms and the legs. The right leg is thrust forwards in the
statue and it looks like that is what maintains the statues balance because there are no visible struts/tree-trunks. There was a use of lines in the legs which represented muscles. These lines were very Iightly used. The lines on the legs that represented the knees were heavily engraved emphasizing the knee.

Get quality help now
Marrie pro writer
5 (204)

“ She followed all my directions. It was really easy to contact her and respond very fast as well. ”

+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

Looking back at the arm, the same thing is valid for the elbow joints on the arm. The head of the statue seems to be very abstract. It is obviously a human face, but it is not very life like. There statue has really large eyes, thick lips, and eyebrows which lead directly into the nose. It has no expression on its face.

Most of the nose is worn oft, but it would have been interesting to see the nose of that time. On the chest, there as carved lines that represent stomach muscles and the bosom are also very linear. They do not deviate or give much detail but they obviously represent the bosom (two lines extending from armpit and almost meeting at intersecting line with two little lumps on each representing nipples) and the abdomen (a rather heavily carved upside down v-shape along with an intersecting line
from under the neck to the belly button). The hair of the statue is the most abstract feature of the statue. The hair on the statue is beaded. It runs down from where normal hair begins and ends at about the shoulders of the statue. All of these lines which represent muscles and the
circular texture which represents hair play with the light. Under each of these carvings forms shadows which helps with the impression of being more realistic. My overall opinion on this statue is that it is very frontal, stiff, abstract, lacking in detail, simplistic, but nonetheless
extremely captivating.

The second statue is of an Old Market Woman from the 1″ century CE. This stätue is very unique because it is very rare to see an old person who is just a commoner displayed as a statue. This statue was meant to be seen from there front where there is the most detail (on the back there is only a cape with creases and folds in it). Most Roman art of this style looks towards classical Greek art which is idealized, but even though the style of this statue is idealized, the person’s situation is not. The woman in this statue is obviously not upper-class because she would have been portrayed in a more idealistic light. She seems to me to be a beggar woman and even though one of the arms is cut off, one would think it would be reaching out for alms. This statue could have been placed somewhere collecting money for the needy. This statue is made of marble and it is about 5and a half feet tall.

It is a freestanding statue and it does not use a tree-trunk to support it. When standing behind the statue, one notices the cape the woman in the statue is wearing. This is what keeps the statue balance even thought the woman in it is leaning towards the front. The old woman’s face has much detail even though some of it is worn off. Her wrinkles and expression of angst are still visible through age. There is much shadow from light which helps exaggerate the creases under her eyes, at her cheeks and on her neck. Her head is tilted to the side and she seems to be in a leaning controposto stance. The parts of it that are worn off only add to the statues look of being old. The statue is still smooth in texture, so it was probable not kept outside.

The clothes she is wearing is in the style of wet-drapery and even though this woman is old, you can still see a shapely body beneath the robe. This adds to the attractiveness of the statue and does not make it an eyesore. The aging of the body was actually minimally represented in
this statue. Aside for some drooping of the right breast that half exposed and drooping of the skin at the chest bone and right arm, which was represented by using shadows that appeared under carver lines, overall this looks like an old woman’s head on a young person’s body.
This makes the observer of the statue wonder what a beauty this woman must have been when she was in her prime. The woman’s hair is curly, but it is not neat curls. It actually looks rough and not very neatly organized. Her hair is pulled back with what seems to be a
tattered band of cloth. On her left hip, she carries two baskets which seem to be full of food and belongings. And on her feet she wears sandals. When you see her from the back, all you see is her large cape which does not cling to her body as her robe does. There are a few
creases in the cloak, which when combined with the shadows under the creases, looks as if the cloak has folds in it.

The differences between these two statues is ironic because the Kouros is idealized and young although it is represented in a simplistic archaic manner, while the Old woman is old and not living an ideal state of life, she is represented in a classical highly detailed
manner. The Kouros is naked where as the Old woman only has some of her right breast exposed. The Kouros is very linear and symmetrical, while the Old woman is asymmetrical while the old woman is in a controposto stance. They are both made of marble, freestanding and depict a human. They both represent lines to show detail (although the Old woman does it a lot better) and they also both have their noses worn off. Each statue represents the history of the time. During the Archaic Greek period, man was considered the measure of all things, so it was normal to have a statue of a young boy in his prime naked. During the Early Roman Imperial period, Augustus, who was considered a man of the people came into power, therefore average people were made more acceptable. With each statue come a variety of history and detail and one only has to look to see it all.

Cite this page

An Analysis of Statues at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (2023, Mar 10). Retrieved from

Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7