Greek Statue Tattoo
Thousands of years later, and we continue to be inspired by the ancient Greeks.
Greek mythology exists in so much of our pop culture- from classics like Battlestar Galactica to the enduring legend of Wonder Woman, and Disney’s Hercules is rumored to have a live version coming out soon.
We look to the ancient Greeks for our heroes, villains and basic story structure.
What’s more – modern art is still very informed by their art style, which you can see on display in elite museums around the world.
It’s interesting to see how one style of art can inform another, especially when we represent an ancient form with modern methods.
In the case of tattoos for example, technology and techniques have brought us to the point where people can get incredibly intricate designs as their next piece.
One idea that’s popular without being clichéd is to get a tattoo of a Greek statue.
Not only will it look striking, the piece will have so much meaning.
You can choose a statue that speaks to you, and having a Greek sculpture in the first place will have its own significance.
What does it Mean to have a Greek Statue tattoo?
The Greeks were considered geniuses when it came to art- particularly sculpture.
History scholars have broken Greek art into 3 main time periods: Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic.
It was as sculptors moved from the Archaic to the Classical period that we begin to see the shift that has rippled outward and informed art to this day.
In the Archaic period and earlier, the human form was generally portrayed as fairly static, and usually front facing.
There was some attention paid to detail, but not much.
The art during this time, especially when it came to depictions of people, was impressive but plain.
Moving into the classical period- art suddenly became dynamic.
Statues struck poses and were draped in clothing that seemed to sway in the breeze despite being carved from stone.
Muscles were rippling and everyone was anatomically correct.
It was an exciting time as never before seen techniques began producing life-like results.
For these reasons, having a Greek statue tattoo can mean you’re moving from one phase of your life to another.
You took the crude skills you had in one area of life and took them to the next level.
Perhaps you’re someone who works with bodies- a massage therapist or a doctor.
Greeks had an appreciation for the human body and its capabilities, particularly its muscular structure.
The Ideal Body in Greek Sculpture
Though there are statues of feminine figures (often goddesses,) the Greeks favored the male form.
Young men were admired for their virile spirit and lithe bodies, so sculptors would often try to capture that athleticism.
Greek statues are often nude, but their nudity is not considered sexual.
This is just another way to appreciate the human form in all its glory.
The men in Greek statues often wear little to no expression to convey their rationality.
In those days, and some may say nothing has changed- to express your emotions was to be considered irrational and feminine, two undesirable traits.
Famous Greek Statues
There are so many gorgeous pieces to choose from, each with their own meaning. Here are a few more popular examples:
The Winged Victory of Samothrace
This piece came from the later Hellenistic period and is now in the Louvre Museum in Paris, France.
The statue is modeled after the Greek goddess Nike, who represents Victory.
She is a popular tattoo because the statue is so intricate in its detail, to the point where it almost looks like it’s in motion.
The spread out wings gives this statue a victorious and optimistic feeling- the perfect tattoo if you’re looking to celebrate an accomplishment.
Statue of Zeus at Olympia
This 41 foot tall statue is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – too bad we’ll never see it!
It was destroyed in the 5th century, but there were several written records of the piece and it was portrayed on some recovered coins as well.
Modern historians have made recreations of the piece so we can all get an idea of its grandeur.
Zeus is a popular figure for tattoos – especially for men.
He is known as the god of thunder and lightning, and fathered many of the characters in Greek mythology.
He is also a symbol of wisdom and awareness, so people tend to admire him for his balance of cerebral and instinctual traits.
Laocoon and Sons
Less well known by name, but recognizable visually – this is an impressive piece that tells a story.
Another Hellenistic statue (this is up for debate by art historians), this one is currently in the Vatican.
There are two possible interpretations of this statue:
Laocoon is a holy man who sees what the Greeks are planning with the Trojan Horse and tries to warn the Trojans.
The Goddess Athena, who is in allegiance with the Greeks, strikes him and his sons down.
Others say he is being punished by the gods for breaking his vow of celibacy.
Either way this piece has an underlying tension. It is gorgeous, but depicts such a grisly scene.
It can symbolize finding the beauty in agony. The duality of life.
Common Themes in Greek Statue Tattoos
In order to properly capture the detail in these sculptures – they are mostly done in a black and grey portrait style. Some artists choose to add special elements such as a glowing, ethereal light or storm clouds.
Greek Statue Tattoo Ideas
It seems our love affair with the classics will never end. What do you think, would you want to hang out with Zeus full time?
Check out our gallery for some Grecian inspiration.
For more Greek inspired tattoos go to:
- Selene tattoos
- Poseidon tattoos
- Zeus tattoos
- Athena tattoos
- Centaur tattoos
- Hephaestus tattoos
- Medusa Tattoos