The statues of young men and women, which are called kouroi and kores, were funeral monuments or votives to sanctuaries. The kouroi appear in "heroic nudity" and often are related to Apollo, from the sactuaries of whom whole series come (Didyma, Delos, Ptoon). However, exceptions are also found, as in the case of the Sounion kouroi, who are related to Poseidon. The korai always appear dressed, mostly in the sanctuaries of female deities, as in Heraion in Samos and the Athenian Acropolis. Both types have dedicatory inscriptions and, quite often, the signature of their creator. Respectively, when they have been used as funeral monuments they have epigrams related to the dead man or woman, who are always depicted at a young age.

Although male and female types were already known from Daedalic style and from other early statues with oriental influences, the types of kouros and kore -which were formed at the beginning of the 6th century B.C.- can be distinguished from many points of view. The turn towards realistic representation becomes clear. The body members were attributed with more realistic proportions and with more accuracy. The muscles gained volume, plasticity and naturalness. A smile, that contributed liveliness and at the same time served technical purposes, was chosen as the stereotypical face expression.

Whereas it is certain that for some of the early kouroi -as in the kouros of New York- the known "Egyptian rule" were used, with the 21 squares that define the height dimensions of the form, in most kouroi a different metric system was followed. This was based on the true dimensions of the human body and use the length of the foot as its measure. Many of the kouroi of supernatural size did not have the right proportions. Finally, the natural ratio 7 to 1 prevailed in the relationship of the entire height to the height of the head. Other improvements of conventional elements included the attribution of the stomach with two series of muscles (instead of 3 or 4 in former times), as well as the natural dispersal of the muscles over the knee, the right weight distribution on the legs and the turn of the forearms -which formerly were represented as frontal- to the thighs . Both kouroi and kores were carved together with the plinth, that is the base became inherent with the statue and followed the outline of its feet. The plinth in its turn was fixed on a larger square base.

If the anatomical features are the vital pointer in evolution for kouroi, the folds of clothing are of the same importance for kores. All clothes were rectangular pieces of textile fixed with buttons, fibulae and pins. The most usual clothing was the Ionic tunic which was often combined with an oblique himation, the epiblema (overcoat) and the peplos. The latter was already apparent fron the middle of the 6th century B.C., but it only replaced the chiton during the 5th century B.C. The clothings aroused the interest of artists and ceased being represented as a flat surface, they acquired depth and plasticity, influencing thus the play of light and shadow.

These developments took place most probably in various workshops, but the mobility of the artists, the public exhibition of their works in sanctuaries and cemeteries, the spread of new tools and the exchange of experience among the sculptors that gathered at the marble sources all contributed to the simultaneous development of various local centres.

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