Characteristics of 5th sculpture

Heroic
Balanced
Harmonious
Idealised


                                 presents the aloof majesty of divine figures
                            shows a nation emerging to power, strong, confident


Figures impersonal  
            
at the beginning in static poses,
             later in free, balanced stance (eg Zeus/Poseidon)
             
with all anatomical problems solved
             fully developed treatment of torso, stomach muscles
             realistic knee joints.
             Weight evenly distributed.

Gods still a favourite theme; their power recognised (eg Apollo on Olympia pediment, Athena Parthenos); order triumphs over chaos, civilisation over barbarism
              (eg battles of Centaurs and Lapiths, Olympia sculptures).

Drapery
of female figures is now perfectly understood and more naturally treated,
             not merely as pattern (eg Parthenon pediments-, Erechtheion caryatids).

Gaiety of Archaic sculpture has gone (archaic smile), replaced by a new earnestness
             and national consciousness with a sense of high calling, citizens fighting
             for a free country; victory a sign from on high, merited by trial and
             exertion (eg the Charioteer). Statues are now constructed "from within"
             and appear to move organically and naturally (cf Archaic "from without").
             Motion
in body is interrelated -one part cannot move without the others.
(Interest of philosophy in problems of motion is related
to this achievement)
Progress of medicine increased anatomical knowledge; the body is explained
             in mechanical terms (stress and strain in Olympia pediments).
             
Finest works henceforward in bronze (more plastic).
             Roman copies of 5thC statues are often pale shadows of originals with a different surface and coldness.


                                           Characteristics of 4thC sculpture

Early
expressions on faces still serene; stances have easy balance; drapery has transparency + heavier,more agitated folds. The impersonal ideal begins to be supplanted; more human quality emerges, soft graciousness, dreamy gentleness.

Middle
poses more sinuous (5 shape); drapery increasingly natural, treated as an accessory in a group; melting gaze (Praxiteles); marble tenderly modelled, softness/purity; colour scheme pastel-hued, highlights of eyes painted in. Artistic forms more complex, scope more diverse; casual, relaxed play of forms; specified states of body and soul; limbs elongated, heads reduced;  the female studio model had been unusual up to this period.
Dreamy remoteness giving way to individualised portrait, but there is still hesitation over probing too deeply into the individual personality.
Later
Increasing emotion, passion and defiance (Scopas is typical);
             
successful portraiture is beginning -increased interest in this;
             search for new poses produced twisted forms, seated figures bent over (boxer) crouching (eg Aphrodite)

             
Roman copies are mostly our only evidence for this period, thus the surface modelling is impossible to judge and the chosen material or varying technique
            of execution alters the original achievement. The issue is also confused by deliberate archaism, ie choosing an older style.
                                        [3rdC characteristics continue these trends]