Ancient Greek Sculpture Essay

Essay on The Human Body in Ancient Greek Sculptures

1015 Words5 Pages

The Human Body in Ancient Greek Sculptures

The primary focus of ancient Greek sculptures was that of the human body. Almost all Greek sculptures are of nude subjects. As the first society to focus on nude subjects, Greek sculptors attempted to "depict man in what they believed was the image of the gods and so would come to celebrate the body by striving for verisimilitude or true – likeness (realism and naturalism!)."(Riffert) Not only did the Greeks celebrate the human form in their art but also in everyday life. (Riffert) One of the favorite topics for sculptors was that of the athlete. In Greek culture athletes were described as "hero–athletes". (Riffert) This shows that athletes were revered and looked upon as heroes. The influence…show more content…

Greeks were constantly in search of the "Ideal"(Riffert). Their "Ideal" was "a body capable of enduring all efforts, either of the racecourse or of bodily strength…this is why the athletes in the pentathlon are the most beautiful." (Tufts) This description of the "Ideal" person given by Aristotle reflects the attitude of the majority of ancient Greeks. People were not judged solely on their minds but rather strong emphasis was given to the body. This emphasis given to the body was given to the nude body. It is understandable that we question why nude art was so accepted by the Greeks, as they were the pioneers in this field. The answer lies in the everyday life of the people. It was commonplace for Greek men to exercise, go to war, and generally go about their daily business in the nude or scantly clothed (Boardman 276).

While male nudity was straightforward and hiding nothing, female nudity was more reserved. In the first fully nude female sculpture, Aphrodite of Knidos by Praxitales c. 350-340bc., "the ‘feminine principle’ (is invented) which as a demure pose where the knees are brought together and sometimes the hand is discreetly before the genitals"(Riffert). This reference shows that in art as in life, women are depicted as less than equal to their bold male counterparts. Usually female statues were either draped in some way or

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Classical Greek Sculpture Analysis Essays

1215 WordsNov 5th, 20115 Pages

Classical Greek Sculpture Analysis Riace Bronzes (Statue A)

This classical Greek sculpture is titled the Riace Bronzes. The Riace statues are two life-size bronze statues each weighing nearly a ton. Statue A which is depicted above is of a young warrior, while statue B which is not depicted is of an older warrior wearing a helmet. In this analysis I will be concentrating on Statue A. The sculptor of this statue remains unknown; however most experts attribute this statue to Polyclitus, an expert Greek sculptor and mathematician, or one of his many disciples. The Riace is from the early Classical Period, made around 445 BCE. It was unexpectedly discovered in the Ionian Sea along with an…show more content…

The soft S-shaped lines form a realistic human form giving it a graceful but still powerful human figure. The high definition of the pectorals and the abdominal muscles are indicative of someone who is in prime physical condition and aware of a fine-toned body. The firm grip of the left hand and the outward gaze convey energy and alertness to his surroundings. He is standing in a Contrapposto stance, meaning that most of his weight is balanced on one leg, in this case the right leg is behind the left. His physique is however, an exaggeration. In his book How Art Made the World, Nigel Spivey writes about the Riace Bronze, “Division between top and bottom has been exaggerated by a crest of muscle across the waist that is more defined that can ever be on a real person” (Spivey). He also states how the “central channel of the spine is deeper than you will ever see on a real person and to improve the line of its back; this man has no coccyx bone at the base of its spine” (Spivey). This shows that the sculptor, whoever he was lived in a time where human perfection was heavily admired. Even though the statue is naturalistic, it is unrealistic due to the incredible symmetry and perfection being displayed. The median used for this sculpture was bronze. The only part of this sculpture that was not bronze was its teeth that were made out of silver. The Riace however was hollow and not made of solid bronze, which is essential for a piece of art that was meant to

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