Yelp: Reviews of Discobolus (The Discus Thrower)

Anonymous Reviewer: I love how the figure is depicted!  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The motion of the figure is incredible. Myron, the sculptor, was able to show a movement that occurs at a very unique moment. It is almost like the athlete is frozen in time. I love the attention to detail in the muscles. As the body of the statue winds up, it is clear that the athlete is very balanced and rhythmic. This shows the Greek’s understanding of the human body in motion and their value on naturalism. I am attracted to the expression on the face because it is relaxed and there is no strain on the body during this very athletic activity. I think this is very interesting because this also occurs in other Greek sculptures and reliefs to show their nobility, especially in the reliefs at the Parthenon. This also follows the Greek interest of the ideal human, and I think that this sculpture is trying to show the perfect discus thrower and celebrate the skill.

The Lancellotti Discobolus and a broken statue, both Roman copies.

Anonymous Reviewer: The statue is tainted because of Hitler!    ⭐

Hitler used the sculpture for his Nazi propaganda and I think that ruined the beauty of this sculpture. He was so infatuated with Greek art that he bought a copy of Discobolus from an Italian family in the 1930s. He appropriated ancient culture to advertise his own beliefs, and he used the sculpture to show the racial superiority of the so-called Aryan race. It is so sad that he ruined the meaning of this historic sculpture and manipulated Greek art to pursue his political agenda. People will never forget the connection between the Nazi party and Discobolus and I hate that the meaning behind the sculpture was changed and can never be reversed. This is very similar to an article I read by Kwame Grant called, “The Love Story of Saddam Hussein and the Mesopotamia Civilization.” He talks about the Iraqi dictator who wanted to emulate many aspects of Ancient Mesopotamia in his rule over modern-day Iraq. Just like Hitler, he was obsessed with a culturally historic aspect. Both political leaders used ancient art to help express their beliefs. Saddam Hussein used “The Law Code of Hammurabi” and “The Victory Stele of Naram-sin” to depict himself as “god-like.”

Hitler poses with a copy of Discobolus in the Glyptothek Museum in Munich, 1938

Anonymous Reviewer: The copies are ok.    ⭐⭐⭐

I wish the original was still around today. Many Roman copies were made out of white marble. These replicas came in different sizes, from full scale to smaller sizes. This is not accurate to the original full-size bronze statue of a discus thrower. I can see that artists could have also been trying to appeal to their new audience in Rome, but I am not a fan. I feel like the copies should have tried to exactly replicate the beauty that Myron created in the original Discobolus. Part of me just sees these changes as errors, not as Roman expression through Greek art. One inconsistency in the replicas is the position of the head. In the original, his head is believed to be turned towards the discus in his right hand, but in a few copies, he is looking in the other direction. This seriously affects the motion and rhythm that was created in the original sculpture. Another thing about the Roman marble copies is that there is a large post holding up the discus thrower. Since Myron’s original sculpture was made out of bronze, there was no need for this post that goes up the athlete’s butt. I think the post disrupts the movement of the statue. 

The Townley Discobolus at the British Museum
Discobolus Palombara. The head is facing a different direction.

Anonymous Reviewer: The athletic position needs to be fixed! ⭐

Looking at the first reviewer, I agree with most of the aspects brought up. The statue and all of its elements look great, but the pose is not an effective way to throw discus today. I am a track and field coach and I can easily tell you that there are some adjustments that need to be made to throw the discus farther. The athlete’s head and shoulders need to face backwards. The head should not be in line with the chest and his entire upper body should be held facing away from where he is throwing as long as possible to increase range of motion. This statue depicts an athlete doing a standing throw (I can tell based on the extreme angle on the left foot), rather than a rotational movement now used by athletes today to increase their momentum and propel the discus further. The Greeks could have thrown the discus much farther if they had incorporated a spin in their technique.

Olympic Discus thrower in the 2012 London Olypics

Katherine Wand is a freshman at Colgate University. Her major is still undecided but is most likely going to go into BioChem or Neuroscience. This topic intrigued her because she is part of the varsity track and field team here at Colgate, so this gave her a connection to the work.

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