Archaic period (8th - early 5th century BC)

The earliest attempts at sculpture in the round take the form of small figures of men, gods and animals in clay or bronze. By the end of the 8th century the influence of Syria begins to be felt, in what is to become an Orientalizing Revolution in the Greek world. This leads, in the 7th century, to stone figures, standing or seated and usually less than life size, which were used as dedications or to decorate buildings. Their form (called 'Daedalic') is broadly Syrian, with a preference for frontal figures, big heads, rather triangular faces.

Relief sculpture
Sculpture of seated figure
  • Seated figure from Eleutherna
    (Crete). About 650 BC
    Cast No. B003
Small support sculpture
  • Figure support for a basin, from Olympia. About 600 BC
    Cast No. B039

The main source is Crete and the material a soft limestone which did not require too difficult a technique to carve - rather like wood which must have also been a common medium, but has not survived.

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