The Charioteer of Delphi

Charioteer of Delphi

The Charioteer of Delphi is one of the most notable of Ancient Greek statues that still exist today. It is considered to be one of the finest examples of the ancient Greek bronze statues.

It is a life-size representation of an ancient Greek chariot driver with the actual chariot already missing with the reins handled by the driver only the ones remaining to suggest it.

Origins

The statue, which is also known as the Heniokhos or the "rein holder", was found in 1896 at the Sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi. The statue was first erected sometime during 474 B.C. It was made in honor of the victory of a chariot team in the Pythian Games, an event that is help in Delphi every four years.

The statue was actually just a part of a larger group of statues that includes a chariot with four or possible six horses and two grooms. The current statue also has its left arm missing.

From the inscription found on the limestone base of the statue, Polyzalus commissioned the work as a tribute for a certain personality at Delphi for helping hi win a chariot race.

The incomplete inscription fails to mention the person for whom the tribute is due. And also because of this, the actual name of the sculptor is unknown.

Appearance

The Charioteer of Delphi is said to be casted in bronze from Athens due to the similarity of other Athenian statues to it in terms of detail. When first discovered, the statue lay in three separate pieces- the head and upper torso, the right arm and the lower torso. This was believed to have been done to prevent it from being stolen by looters.

The statue is characterized by a life size form of a chariot driver being presented among the Greek spectators after winning a race. The statue is made quite interesting in the fact that it stands to show admirable modesty and strong control of emotions in spite of its victory.

The ability to restrain one’s own emotions especially during intense moments define one of the characteristics of a civilized man in ancient Greece during those times. The same characteristic is also being presented frequently in various Greek works of art during the Classical era.

The Charioteer is one of the few Greek bronze statues in existence that has its inlaid glass eyes still intact. It is

 
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