By Harry Mount for the Daily Mail. Perhaps the most famous Greek sculpture of all, Discobolos, the discus-thrower, shows how athletes competed in the nude. About two-and-a-half thousand years ago, a cultural miracle took place in ancient Greece. Democracy was born in Athens, the first great tragedies and comedies were written — and statues were carved that were more astonishingly lifelike than ever before. Warriors die on the Trojan battlefield in the buff. Athletes hurl the discus in the altogether. Goddesses step into the bath without a stitch on.
Basil is a British-Greek writer raised in Britain who bears the hallmarks of an uptight, middle-class Englishman. He is waiting at the Athens port of Piraeus on mainland Greece to catch a boat to Crete when he meets a gruff, yet enthusiastic Greek-Macedonian peasant and musician named Zorba. Basil explains to Zorba that he is traveling to a rural Cretan village where his father owns some land, with the intention of reopening a lignite mine and perhaps curing his writer's block. Zorba relates his experience with mining and persuades Basil to take him along. When they arrive at Crete, they take a car to the village where they are greeted enthusiastically by the town's impoverished peasant community. They stay with an old French war widow and courtesan named Madame Hortense in her self-styled "Hotel Ritz".
But his latest post on social media will surely be met with a firm "Da fuq" by Nick Kyrgios - and everyone else. The Greek year-old embraces his weirdness online, sharing his love of filmmaking, philosophy and nature with his fans - and this photograph is as natural as it gets. Kyrgios famously clipped his next generation rival after Tsitsipas tweeted: "It's amazing of how many different sounds you can hear while walking in the New York City. Just close your eyes and absorb!
T he oddity of ancient sculpture often escapes us. A male nude, a Greek statue, has become very familiar over the past 2, years: it is what we expect of ancient statuary, that it show off its muscles. At times it can seem overly familiar, a bit tacky or tawdry or maybe just banal, evoking the withdrawing room of an aesthete of the s, a gay sauna in the s or the yard at the back of a modern garden centre alongside the blue-glazed planters and bird baths. The Uffizi in Florence was once most famous for its collection of classical sculptures, but who now spends much time looking at them as they barge past to the Botticellis? If you find the crowds around the Hieronymus Bosches too much in the Prado, seek out the cul-de-sac where they have put the wonderful San Ildefonso statue group for some peace and quiet.