Ancient Greek Art Topic Paper

Essay by CmoxeyCollege, UndergraduateA+, July 2006

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When looking at Ancient Greek Art and Ancient Egyptian Art you will notice that while the two periods are not far apart time wise, the art that comes out of these periods is dramatically different. The Egyptians seemed to focus on building gigantic architectural structures, and the focus of their paintings and sculptures was nature, animals, and the supernatural. Also, when the Egyptian people did something with the human form it seemed to follow the same basic, un-detailed, generic body style when sculpted or drawn. Then you look at Ancient Greek Art, you see the focus changes more too real, and physical objects. One real, physical object became the center focus for a lot of Greek art and that is the Greek male nude body.

The Greek male nude body encompassed three important ideas to the Greeks and they were humanism, rationalism, and idealism. I will go through and explain what each one is and give an example of a piece of art that relates to the ideal.

First we have humanism which to the Greek people at this time man was the measure of all things. "Mortal man became the standard by which all things were judged and measured" (Gage, 3). Also Socrates wrote in Antigone, "Wonders are many none more wonderful than man" (Gage, 4). An Example of a sculpture that shows humanism is the Kritian Boy, c. 480 BCE from the Early Classical Period. The statue is of a young athletic boy whose pose is much more natural and a lot less ridged than from ones we have seen before. It is more natural looking because the artist are now trying to balance out the weight anatomically of how a person would really be standing. They called this contrapposto; it shows the "S" curve of the...