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Lucas Warthen

Much of Greek art centers on the concept of humanism. Do some research on this term and discuss how it relates to the art that you have looked at this week.

Humanism is defined as, by the American Humanist Association, a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism or other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good. It is “informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by compassion.” With this exact definition in mind, I don’t see how the Greek’s art focuses on humanism at all (strictly with this given definition in mind).
However, when I think of humanism off the top of my head I do not think of the former definition – I think of a human-centered rather than a god-centered culture and Greek’s represent that aspect very well. Though a lot of Greek’s architecture is designed with their pantheon of gods in mind, much of their more ‘everyday art’ is focused around themselves as beings. General people are commonly seen in sculptures and, to some extent, pottery, whereas the gods are more of a background. If I recall correctly, we don’t even see a sculpture/art explicitly crafted in the form of a single deity in mind until the Hellenistic Period, where Athena/Nike start to show up, and the statue of Aphrodite of Melos.