Most of the many grand figure reliefs in Ancient Greek sculpture used a very “high” version of high-relief, with elements often fully free of the background, and parts of figures crossing over each other to indicate depth. The metopes of the Parthenon have largely lost their fully rounded elements, except for heads, showing the advantages of relief in terms of durability. High relief has remained the dominant form for reliefs with figures in Western sculpture, also being common in Indian temple sculpture. Smaller Greek sculptures such as private tombs, and smaller decorative areas such as friezes on large buildings, more often used low relief. Hellenistic and Roman sarcophagus reliefs were largely cut with a drill rather than chisels, enabling and encouraging compositions extremely crowded with figures, which are also seen in the enormous strips of reliefs that wound round Roman triumphal columns. The so-called Alexander Sarcophagus still remains to be one of the most famous sarcophagus ever made, and you will find its reproduction here at Ancinet Sculpture Gallery.
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