Review of Myron's Diskobolus
By: Cassidy Kent

Since World War II Greek and Roman statues have been used for political propaganda. Their meaning, pondered and contorted to fit the Nazi and Fascist agendas. These statues are highly misunderstood, although arguably that is the beauty of art—its meaning is elusive and successful if it makes you think or feel something out of the mundane.

Recently the alt-right has been using white marble statues in the same fashion as Adolf Hitler in the 1930s-40s. Hitler loved the statue so much he bought his own copy from an Italian family to include in the propaganda film Olympia released in 1938.

Myron's Diskobolus has been used as means of justification for white supremacy because of the beautiful snowy aesthetics of marble and more than perfect proportions. The argument being made by the alt-right is that the Greeks used white marble to prevent distraction from the ideal body, and the closer your skin is to white marble—the closer you are to perfection.

This is where the argument goes astray: Myron's Diskobolus may have been made in the image of the gods and 'perfect athlete' but not for the reasons that hate groups like Identity Evropa would have the public believe. The statues were to emulate an ideal body and goal for athletes to aspire to—one that kinesiology students around the world still question the validity of.

The Diskobolus is about physique and immortality, not about race. The more victorious you are in sport and war the closer to you get to achieving the status of hero—the closest to a god mankind could get. The whole idea is that if you were a serial victor more and more statues and monuments you would get to immortalize your legacy, in ancient Greek we would call this concept 'Kleos' which directly translates to glory.

The Diskobolus most of us are familiar with had originally been crafted by Greek sculptor Myron around 450 BC. Unfortunately, the original sculpture of the Diskobolus was lost but the sculpture in antiquity was so admired that the Romans decided to replicate the statue in marble, thankfully preserving the beautiful work of Myron for us to admire over two millennia in the future.

Regardless of medium the Diskobolus is a divine representation of the Greek athlete: chiseled physique, stoic expression and although forever frozen in time illustrates, beautiful movement, technique, fluidity and balance parallel only to the gods.

The Diskobolus also would have been painted in antiquity which would not suit the imperial stoicism that pop culture would prefer to mistakenly perpetuate. The Diskobolus certainly inspires awe, and perhaps envy, rightfully so. Like action figures today the Diskobolus presents unrealistic goals for the ancient and modern male athlete as do depictions of men in fitness magazines. Art can be used to make a point and most often does, but it is important to look beyond the surface. Myron's Diskobolus gives us insight into the world of ancient sport. I have no doubt that racial purity and eugenics were not anywhere in Myron's mind while crafting such a divine work of art.