Laocoön and His Sons {The Story of Art}

Laocoön and His Sons. 25 B.C.

“The fact is probably that by this time, the period of Hellenism, art had largely lost its old connection with magic and religion. Artists became interested in the problems of their craft for its own sake, and the problem of how to represent such a dramatic contest [of Lacoön and the snakes] with all its movement, its expression and its tension, was just the type of task which would test an artist’s mettle.”

Ernst H. Gombrich, “Chapter 4: The Realm of Beauty,” The Story of Art, 15th edition

2 thoughts on “Laocoön and His Sons {The Story of Art}”

  1. I’m pretty certain L. and Sons is my favorite Hellenistic work! I can’t begin to imagine what it may have looked like when it still had paint! (All Greek and Roman sculpture was painted, although most people believe it was the simple marble we see today.) It must have been so life-like, I am certain people we first saw shrank at the sight of the intense emotion and fearsome snakes. In a time were theatre and such entertainment was scarce, such sculptures were so exciting to people, it was a thrill. Too bad we have lost the thrill in art earlier civilizations enjoyed.
    Love Laocoon’s beard!

  2. I was surprised to learn from Gombrich that Greek sculptures were indeed painted. I’m not sure yet what I think about that. I suppose the figures would have looked less remote, but I do love marble and I wonder how natural the coloring was.

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