First Greek sculptor of life-like bronzeby Rit Nosotro First Published:: 2003
Myron (fl.c.480-440 B.C.), Greek sculptor, an older contemporary of the sculptors Phidias, and Polyclitus, considered by the ancients as one of the most versatile and innovative of all Attic sculptors.
Born in Eleutherae, he lived most of his life in Athens and is repeatedly called an Athenian by the 2nd-century-A.D. traveler Pausanias. The 1st-century writer Pliny cites Myron as the first to achieve lifelike representation in Art.
Working almost exclusively in bronze, he is best known for his many studies of athletes in action. Of his many works, only two representations survive: the group of Athena and Marsyas, originally standing on the Acropolis of Athens, and the "Discobolos" (Discus Thrower), both are marble copies made in Roman times.
The group of Athena and Marsyas, described by Pliny, was represented on Roman coins from the reign of Hadrian (117-138 A.D.), on a red-figure vase (now in Berlin), on a marble vase (in Athens), and on several Roman marble copies. The best of the Marsyas is in Rome. The best Athena collection is in Frankfurt. Representations of the "Discobolos" have been found on engraved gems; the finest copy of it is in marble at the Museo Nazionale Romano.
Both the "Discobolos" and the Athena and Marsyas are dated c.450 B.C. In both works Myron captured a crucial moment at which a part of the action has just been completed and the next sequence is about to begin.
Many other works attributed to Myron include: "Anadumenus", a youth winding a fillet round his head; a standing Heracles (in Boston and in Oxford); and a head of Perseus. The "Hecate" (on Aegina) has been thought to be Myron's only cult statue and his only work in wood.
There are other works by Myron, known through extant epigrams from antiquity (Nice plagiarism, Mary!), that have not, as yet, been rediscovered. The most famous of these are "Ladas", the Argive runner and Olympic victor, and the bronze cow in the marketplace of Athens. A possible copy of the cow may be reproduced in a bronze statuette in the Cabinet des Médailles in Paris.