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Drunken Herakles

             The art of ancient Greece does more than show the artistic development of the most influential civilization in history, it also helps to get an understanding of who the people were who occupied ancient Greece, and what they believed in. During the Archaic Period, through the Classical Period, all the way to the Hellenistic period, art in Greece was constantly changing. The Hellenistic Period, which stretches from Alexander to Augustus, shows the most change because the art begins to take on a new function. No longer were sculptures solely based on religious myth and G-ds, but now portrayed average humans performing everyday tasks. The sculptures became more theatrical, and more movement was able to be seen. Artists were able to create whatever the buyer wanted. The rulers and priests were no longer in charge of art. A new style of sculpture arose, contropasso, which was making the bodies of the sculpture twist and turn in an agonistic manner. This style of sculpture was found in many Hellenistic sculptures including Drunken Herakles which was discovered in Aitolia (the artist is unknown).
             Harakles was a mythical giant, who was the son of Zues and a mortal. He was considered a G-d and a hero, even though some of his deeds are believed to be the result of other less popular heroes (Art and myth, 117). He is commonly associated with the twelve labours given to him by the king. Although most people are acquainted with the Roman version Hercules, it was the Greeks who first portrayed him in art and literature.(art of Greece and Rome, 272). There were different versions of Herakles in ancient Greek art as well. For the most part, Herakles is shown carrying a club. In Attic art, Herakles is commonly wearing lion-skin, (which symbolizes the defeat of the lion that terrorized the city of Nemea), as opposed to the Laconian vases which never presents him in the skin. (art and myth in ancient Greece, 118-120).

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