Essay on The Human Body in Ancient Greek Sculptures

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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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