Early archaic sculpture was typically rigid and stoic, conveying little emotion such as in the Kouros. In the early classical period, the sculptural technique of contropposto was developed. This allowed for a more natural, relaxed stance. In contropposto, the weight of the figure rested on one leg, and the body formed a slight s-shaped curve. This gave the sculptures a sense of motion, realism, and interaction with their environment. The Kritios Boy, is a transitional work, and the first known sculpture showing contropposto. It lacks an archaic smile.
Classical sculpture, like that of the archaic period, generally conveyed little emotion. Faces were usually kept expressionless, the body itself was meant to tell a story instead. The Greeks primarily valued realistic idealism in their sculpture. The human figure was the most significant image to Greek artists, and the ultimate depiction of beauty. Sculpted figures were made to portray idealistic human forms. Symmetry and harmony were valued above all other aspects.
During the Hellenistic Period, a greater sense of emotion and feeling was included in the creation of sculpture. This change can be seen in a sculpture from the Altar of Zeus at Pergamon, built circa 160 B.C.E. This high-relief sculpture, in which the figures are nearly free-standing, portrays the struggle between the gods and the Giants. The work has a very dramatic effect, showing the tense struggle between the two sides.
Examples of Classical Sculptures:
Laocoon and his Sons