05 Apr

trogir 23


Outstanding Greek bas-relief from the beginning of the3rd century B.C. – The figure of the naked young man personifies KAIROS – according to ancient Greek’s comprehension the God of the “fleeting moment”, a favorable opportunity opposing the fate of man. This favorable moment must be grasped (i. e. the winged, permanent running Kairos by his tuft of hair), otherwise the moment flies away without return and cannot be caught any more …The bronze Kairos statue known in literature and made by the famous Greek sculptor Lysippos from Sikyon, was probably the model for the relief from Trogir.
Finally, coming back to the Lysippan Kairos, I turn to the last line of Poseidippos’
epigram: “ the artist fashioned me in such a shape for your sake, stranger, and he set me up in the
portico (front porch) as a lesson.” Conventionally, the phrase “in the portico (ἐν προθύσοις)” has
always been regarded as a real physical location, perhaps the artist’s residence in Sikyon, or
Alexander’s palace in Pella. Prauscello, however, recently offered an allegorical reading of the
phrase, following examples seen in philosophical and rhetorical writings, that it signified instead
“the threshold, the first and foremost stage of a learning process.”99 That the Lysippan Kairos
was evoked as a didactic piece—whether it was for the meaning of kairos, or as demonstration of
his artistic principles—is in itself rather suggestive. Callistratos emphatically relays, on the
Lysippan Kairos, “that is because all that is timely is beautiful and Kairos is the only creator of
beauty, while everything that is faded is outside the nature of Kairos” (Descriptiones 6.4). Just as
Isocrates structured his rhetorical paideia for civic education around the concept of kairos,
Lysippos would certainly have offered this piece as his visual paideia, his artistic credo, around
that same notion that was, after all, the only creator of beauty.

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