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Encyclopedia > Archaic smile
Head of a kouros in the Athens National Archaeological Museum bearing a typical archaic smile.
Head of a kouros in the Athens National Archaeological Museum bearing a typical archaic smile.

The Archaic smile was used by Greek Archaic sculptors, especially in the second quarter of the sixth century BCE, possibly to suggest that their subject was alive. The smile is flat and quite unnatural looking, although it could be seen as a movement towards naturalism, if such a move is sought. One of the most famous examples of the Archaic Smile is the Kroisos Kouros. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 712 × 600 pixelsFull resolution‎ (800 × 674 pixels, file size: 189 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 712 × 600 pixelsFull resolution‎ (800 × 674 pixels, file size: 189 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ... The Kroisos Kouros is a marble kouros from Anavyssos in Attica which functioned as a Grave Marker. ...


The dying warrior from the west pediment of the Temple of Aphaia, Aegina, Greece is an interesting context as the warrior is near death.


In the Archaic Period of Ancient Greece (roughly 600 BCE to 480 BCE), the art that proliferated contained images of people who had the archaic smile. It is a smile which invokes a feeling of happiness via ignorance in modern interpreters. It has been theorized that in this period, artists felt it either represents that they were blessed by the gods in their actions, thus the smile, or that it is similar to fake smiles in modern photos. The archaic period in Greece is the period during which the ancient Greek city-states developed, and is normally taken to cover roughly the 9th century to the 6th century BCE. The Archaic period followed the dark ages, and saw significant advancements in political theory, and the rise of democracy... The term ancient Greece refers to the periods of Greek history in Classical Antiquity, lasting ca. ...

The Moschophoros of the Acropolis, ca 570 BCE
The Moschophoros of the Acropolis, ca 570 BCE

The significance of the convention is not known, although it is often assumed that for the Greeks this kind of smile reflected a state of ideal health and well-being. It has also been suggested that it is simply the result of a technical difficulty in fitting the curved shape of the mouth to the somewhat blocklike head typical of Archaic sculpture. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 713 × 599 pixelsFull resolution‎ (785 × 660 pixels, file size: 227 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 713 × 599 pixelsFull resolution‎ (785 × 660 pixels, file size: 227 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ... Painted terracotta cult image of the Kriophoros from Thebes in Boeotia, ca 450 BCE (Musée du Louvre) In ancient Greek cult, kriophoros, the ram-bearer is a figure that commemorates the solemn sacrifice of a ram. ... The Acropolis of Athens is the best known acropolis (high city, The Sacred Rock) in the world. ...


See also

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External links

  • The Dying Warrior from the Temple of Alphaisa
  • [1]
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Archaic smile

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Greek statue - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (591 words)
The archaic period of art from the 9th century to the 6th century BCE saw the first developments of Greek statuary.
Examples of archaic era works are the La Delicatta kore, the Attican Kouros, and the caryatid porch of the Siphnian Treasury.
Specifically, the Kritios Boy used a mathematical analysis of the ideal proportions of the body to create a specialized pose called the contrapposto, which involved an asymmetrical balance from the center and the curving of the body in a s-shape.
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