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It still determines our definition of what sculpture is, our present-day techniques are derived from it, and it still serves as a point of reference for the use we make of art and the value we ascribe to it.In our eyes, Greece remains above all the civilization to which we owe the highpoint of anthropomorphic representation.This is not to say that sculpture was the only form of Greek art generally appreciated, but the widespread success of books by Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717-68), followed in 1700 by that of Lessing's Laocoon, with its extensive theorization of the famous Vatican group, Laocoon and His Sons (42-20 BCE), served to focus interest on sculpture.
And it is an art with which we have the good fortune to be particularly well acquainted.But, though it was taken as a model of Classical harmony, ancient Greek sculpture was not concerned solely with the idealization of beauty.As we trace its history, we find that sculpture fulfilled a multiplicity of functions: religious (to a greater extent than people have been willing to believe), votive, commemorative, and political.We are also obliged to consider the origins of the concept of art, a concept that remains with us today.
Greek city states owed their fame and prestige to the genius of their artists; artists saw in sculpture the means of ensuring their survival beyond the grave; collectors and patrons were reputed for the boldness of their commissions.
Damage to Greek Statues Given the abundance of surviving monuments and a mass of textual information, archeologists of Greek sculpture would appear to be in a strong position.