Ancient Greek Art and Cultural Expression by mtc13769


									Ancient Greek Art and
 Cultural Expression
1) The Male Nude and Masculinity
   The male nude was Greek sculpture’s central
    genre, just as the citizen male himself was
    the polis’s master, model, and microcosm
1) The Male Nude and Masculinity
                     “Kouros”: young,
                      autonomous, beautiful,
                      and happy—visually
1) The Male Nude and Masculinity
                     “Warrior”: a hero—an
                      Agamemnon or
                      Odysseus; once
                      bearing a shield, spear,
                      and perhaps a helmet
                      too, massively muscled
                      and intimidating
                         Encapsulating the
                          central role of
                          masculinity in Greek
                          culture; man is literally
                          the measure of all
                          things; especially, the
                          centrality of warrior
1) The Male Nude and Masculinity
                    only surviving as copy of
                     the original; representing
                     the perfectly measured
                     man, whose behavior is a
                     measured as his physique,
                     an ethical standard for the
                     classical polis. (Question:
                     does Odysseus act in a
                     measured way? How does
                     he stray from the ideal
         2) Hubris and Nemesis
   The victory of nemesis (i.e. retribution) over
    hubris (arrogance, pride) was a staple of
    Greek sculpture
          2) Hubris and Nemesis
   Gods defeating the Giants
2) Hubris and Nemesis
   a Trojan warrior shot in the chest, in death agony
           2) Hubris and Nemesis
   again, defeat of the Giants, who are hideous hybrids, with
    snaky legs, wings, and sometimes animal bodies—deviants to
    be exterminated at all costs
      3) Women and Goddesses
   Polis structure regarded women as
    “unfinished” men and constrained them by
    strict behavioral codes; goddesses, however,
    were autonomous and all powerful
3) Women and Goddesses
              “Kore,” beautifully
               dressed, with slightly
               downcast eyes,
               offering Athena an
               apple: a virgin votive
               to a virgin goddess
3) Women and Goddesses
              a goddess
              note: body is merely a
               derivative of a man’s
3) Women and Goddesses
              a more feminine, demure
               Athenian lady, attended by
               her slave girl;
              head-covering representing
               her chastity, but ironically,
               her transparent drapery
               puts her body on display
               for the spectator—
               announcing that her
               husband has the most
               desirable wife in Athens
3) Women and Goddesses
              Aphrodite: depicting the essence
               of the love-goddess—her body.
               And thus the business of the
               sculpture was to reveal essences
               (the essence of beauty,
               womanhood, manhood, etc.);
              yet, being a goddess, she still
               had to maintain her distance,
               hence the ethereal S-curve, the
               dreamy, sideways glance, and
               her modest gesture=>
               constructing the onlooker as a
    4) Life, Death, and the Gods
   Major themes of art and literature:
       Life and death
       Relations with gods whose control seemed absolute,
        especially to early Greeks living in an uncertain world
        threatened by unseen powers
       NB: pay attention to importance of proper burials
        in Odyssey
      4) Life, Death, and the Gods
   the dead were honored with carefully controlled rituals that varied over space and
    time. In Attica, early customs among the elite dictated forms of visual
    remembrance that are well embodied in monumental funeral vessels used to
    mark the burial spot
   On these vases scenes involving burial preparations of warriors and battles by
    land or at sea
      4) Life, Death, and the Gods
   later forms: figured plaques depicting family scenes;
    hinting at generational continuity and introducing
    emotional elements
      4) Life, Death, and the Gods
   even though Greece was a masculine world, women
    played a public role in the religious sphere

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