Sculpture and Society in Archaic and Classical Athens
Chapter V: A patron’s world
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A patron’s world
V.1 Sculpture patronage and the Athenians
If not architectural, sculpture in archaic and early classical Athens relied largely on private patronage. Without demand for statuary, sculptors would not have taken up residence in Athens simply because they could not have made a living there. Already in the archaic period, many signatures of individual sculptors in Athenian epigraphy suggest that it was worth their while to remain in the city for longer periods of time, or even to set up shop there. The demand for votive and sepulchral sculpture was an important reason to stay; and the patrons who created these favourable circumstances helped the development of sculpture. Much of what they preferred was reflected in the statues. Although the purpose of a commission must have had some influence, for example, on the type of sculpture, it was the patrons who determined how much they wanted to spend and on which occasions they wanted to offer statues. Material, size and complexity of a sculpted monument were at a patron’s discretion. The question in this chapter regards the degree of influence that Athenian patrons had on their commissions.
In inscriptions, there were choices to be made, too.1 Epigrams might be made by patrons or by professional poets, while some chose for a plain name inscription. On some bases, the dedicatory inscription is in a different hand than the signature, which may mean sculptors carved their own ← 237...
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