The Grand Tour was the traditional trip of Europe undertaken by mainly upper-class European young men of means. The custom flourished from about 1660 until the advent of large-scale rail transit in the 1840s, and was associated with a standard itinerary.
It served as an educational rite of passage. Though primarily associated with the British nobility and wealthy landed gentry, similar trips were made by wealthy young men of Protestant Northern European nations on the Continent, and from the second half of the 18th century some South American, U.S., and other overseas youth joined in. The tradition was extended to include more of the middle class after rail and steamship travel made the journey less of a burden.
The primary value of the Grand Tour, it was believed, lay in the exposure both to the cultural legacy of classical antiquity and the Renaissance, and to the aristocratic and fashionably polite society of the European continent. In addition, it provided the only opportunity to view specific works of art, and possibly the only chance to hear certain music. A grand tour could last from several months to several years. It was commonly undertaken in the company of a knowledgeable guide or tutor.
The Grand Tour not only provided a liberal education but allowed those who could afford it the opportunity to buy things otherwise unavailable at home, and it thus increased participants' prestige and standing. Grand Tourists would return with crates of art, books, pictures, sculpture, and items of culture, which would be displayed in libraries, cabinets, gardens, and drawing rooms, as well as the galleries built purposely for their display; The Grand Tour became a symbol of wealth and freedom.
The Discobolus of Myron is a Greek sculpture completed at the start of the Classical Period, figuring a youthful ancient Greek athlete throwing discus, circa 460–450 BC. The original Greek bronze is lost but the work is known through numerous Roman copies, both full-scale ones in marble, which was cheaper than bronze, such as the first to be recovered, the Palombara Discobolus, and smaller scaled versions in bronze.
A discus thrower depicted is about to release his throw: Myron has created the enduring pattern of athletic energy. He has taken a moment of action so transitory that students of athletics still debate if it is feasible, and he has given it the completeness of a cameo. The moment thus captured in the statue is an example of rhythmos, harmony and balance. Myron is often credited with being the first sculptor to master this style. Naturally, as always in Greek athletics, the Discobolus is completely nude. His pose is said to be unnatural to a human, and today considered a rather inefficient way to throw the discus. Also there is very little emotion shown in the discus thrower's face, and "to a modern eye, it may seem that Myron's desire for perfection has made him suppress too rigorously the sense of strain in the individual muscles,. The other trademark of Myron embodied in this sculpture is how well the body is proportioned, the symmetria.
The potential energy expressed in this sculpture's tightly wound pose, expressing the moment of stasis just before the release, is an example of the advancement of Classical sculpture from Archaic. The torso shows no muscular strain, however, even though the limbs are outflung.