Laocoon and his sons are a sculpture that was discovered in January 1506 and is displayed in the Vatican Museums located in Rome. On the other hand, Augustus of Prima Porta is a limestone made statue revealed in April 1863 near Rome in the Villa of Livia. Apparently, it is important to note that both of these statues are made of marble and are both currently located in the Vatican museums. The Laocoon group indicates portrait of a father and his two sons being attacked by serpents while Augustus of Prima Porta shows an image of a person depicted to be victorious, maybe regarded as a king.
Over the years, both statues have undergone restoration by artists who try to come up with the same copies. Augustus of Prima Porta in his previous portraits wanted to be seen in a monarchial manner but modified this with images that symbolized him as “primus inter pares” (Althaus 41). However, people have come up with more exemplified images portraying him in different ways. For instance, his adopted son Tiberius, wanted his father to be remembered through his achievement he made in safeguarding the Roman Empire. To fulfill this, he made a bronze copy of the original sculpture and added on the chest sights portraying Roman triumph over the Parthians. Laocoon group copies have also been produced by sculptors who sell these statues to affluent Roman customers who buy them frequently.
It is of utmost importance to note that both statues are viewed as symbols of heroism. It is evident that Augustus of Prima Porta never wanted to be depicted as a god though his sculpture has over the time indicated his divine nature has a hero (Moon 271). He wanted to portray himself as a true leader who had the aptitude to improve society’s well-being that is contrary to what other people perceived him to be. Laocoon, on the other hand, was known to be a Trojan priest who was punished by the goddess when he was against the Trojan leaders thus was reprimanded for interfering them. He influenced several people who have since appreciated his work and perceive as a hero. His legacy has influenced several works of art which appreciate beauty. For example, Raphael used the face of Laocoon statue for his Homer in his Parnasassus to symbolize impaired vision rather than agony.
The features of Augustus of Prima Porta validates power and beauty as depicted in his pose whereby his right leg is positioned steadfastly forward while his left is curved which is normally viewed as a traditional pose related to power (Porter 67). On the contrary, Laocoon group authenticates oppression and a representation of human anguish whereby there is no redemption of the oppressed as depicted by their facial expression and their strained bodies trying to restore themselves. The snakes are associated with evil deeds also prove that they are under attack.
On its discovery, Laocoon original statue had a missing right arm. However, it was then discovered in 1906 by archeologist Ludwig Pollak who believed it was the missing arm that was then reassembled with the original statue (Porter 31). This was done after verification from several museum experts. Contrary to this, since it discovery, Augustus of Prima Porta statue had all its part intact. It is apparent that it had several interpretations as compared to the other statue. Several persons and objects are seen to appear in Augustus of Prima Porta statue that is particularly used in symbolizing different meanings.
In a nutshell, it is important to appreciate the importance of statues in the society. They are increasingly becoming part of society thus their contributions should be embraced. Additionally, the work of art should be encouraged as a way of ensuring that these statues are available to the future generations.
Althaus, Frank. The Road to Byzantium: Luxury Arts of Antiquity. London: Fontanka, 2006.
Moon, Warren G. Polykleitos, the Doryphoros and Tradition. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin
Press, 1995. Print.
Porter, James I. Classical Pasts: The Classical Traditions of Greece and Rome. Princeton, NJ:
Princeton University Press, 2005. Print.