Description of the sculpture by Mikhail Kozlovsky “Polycrates” (1790)

Description of the sculpture by Mikhail Kozlovsky “Polycrates” (1790)

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One of the most remarkable works of the sculptor, a talented representative of the generation crowning the Russian sculptures of the 18th century, is the unforgettable Polycrates. The plot, which tells about the death of a tyrant executed by opponents, is borrowed from ancient Greek history. The ruler of the island of Samos stood out ruthlessly. He was invariably accompanied by luck and success, but he was punished for arrogance, arrogance and stinginess. The dictator’s crucifixion motif appeared in the master in rebellious Paris and became for him an allegorical reaction to the events of the modern era.

In the image of Kozlovsky, the hero is crucified on a chopped-off tree trunk, at his feet lies a twisted wheel of fortune and an inverted cornucopia - symbols of turned away luck. The whole figure of the character is tense, he is completely captured by the limitless vain effort to break the shackles and break free. All muscles are unnaturally strained, each muscle stands out convexly, arms are spread out: one is chained up, the other hangs helplessly in a bent state, the head is exhausted leaned back, falling on his shoulder. The face is disfigured by an expression of dejection, it froze in a dying wail.

The statue is presented in an intricate turn, to get a complete impression you need to examine it from all sides. The sculptor showed the most critical moment of torment of Polycrates, defeated and executed.

In this work, the author reached the pinnacle of expressiveness and relief of the image of the deepest human feelings with the help of plastic solutions, which was facilitated by a remarkable knowledge of anatomy and the creation of a work from nature. This sculpture is complex in meaning and tragic, it reflected the progressive thoughts of Russian enlighteners - the ideas of civic courage, service to the motherland, love of the motherland, social calling. The sculpture is filled with philosophical content. The image of the hero is an allegory of a spirit not broken by martial arts and failure.

Pictures by Valentin Serov

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