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Lacey Miller

In the Classical period artists tried to represent ideal proportion in both the human body and in temple building. How does the art of the period demonstrate changing views on ideal proportion and how do you see this same preoccupation in our own contemporary society?

It seems as though, during the classical period, artists focussed on subjects that were at their peak, muscular bodies, mellow faces, ideal stance, contrapposto. It seems as though their idea of ideal proportion wasn’t necessarily realistic, but very much artistic. In POLYKLEITOS’ SPEAR BEARER, you can see, and measure, that his body is seven heads tall, beautiful attention to detail, but also a very artistic rendition of a human body. This mimics human nature that we see today. Our society’s concept of ideal is very much based on the idealistic proportion and artistic quality of a body. During the classical period, it seems as though ideas shifted to reflect a sense of vanity, and unfortunately, it seems our contemporary society is a bit hung up on that idea too.