323 BCE-31 CE
Laocoön and His Sons is a marble sculpture from the Hellenistic Period (323 BCE – 31 CE). Following its discovery in a Roman vineyard in 1506, it was placed in the Vatican, where it remains today.
In true Hellenistic fashion, Laocoön and His Sons showcases an interest in the realistic depiction of movement. In the action-packed scene, three figures frantically try to free themselves from the grasp of sinuous serpents. No matter how much they twist and turn, however, they remain entangled, culminating in a swirling mass of snakes and limbs.
There are several versions of this tale, with key details changing from story to story. In some accounts, for example, Laocoön’s fate was punishment for attempting to expose the Trojan Horse trick. In others, it was for getting married when he was supposed to be celibate or for having relations with his wife in a sacred temple. Similarly, the identity of the vengeful god behind the attack varies; while Poseidon is typically held responsible, some stories also mention Athena or Apollo.
How far back?
2020 | Present