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    • #5763
      jlchamberlain
      Keymaster

      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.

       

       

    • #6663
      Laura Barber
      Participant

      Humanism is a philosophy that places greater importance on humans than on gods or other divine beings. Whereas other cultures’ art focused almost entirely on gods and goddesses, the art of Ancient Greece began to move away from this. Much of their artwork is of the human body. They still produced plenty of religious artwork, but a fascination with the human form and mind was born around this time period. For example, kouros and kore sculptures became popular in the Archaic Period. The Classical Period continued to develop the human form, making sculptures appear more realistic through techniques such as contrapposto, the leaning of weight onto one leg.
      It was in this age that democracy was born and famed artists, philosophers, and writers such as Homer lived. The Hellenistic Period showcases sculptures of old men and women. Although they also produced representations of Aphrodite and Dionysus, sculptures of their mortal followers were equally common.

    • #6664
      Aubri Stogsdill
      Participant

      According to google, humanism is “..a rationalist outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters.’ In cultures prior to Greek culture, there is a significant amount of emphasis and inclusion of the gods in every bit of the art work. In Egyptian art for example, the gods were depicted in animal or half human half animal forms, but in Greek art, the gods, if depicted, are generally expressed in idealistic human form. The gods and goddesses are also far more ‘human’ in that they tend to be moody and easily impacted by the actions of men. All through the Greek sculpture and in the progression to more realistic representation of the human body through the classical period, we see a deep appreciation and valuing of accurate representation of the human body. To the Greeks, beauty would have been nearly the same thing has divinity. Hand in hand with this is a deep valuing of sensuality and that aspect of human nature, which is why many of the sculptures of this time are nude. After all, if the pinnacle of life is found in the beauty of a human, why wouldn’t the sculptures depict idealistic nude humans?

      • #6670
        Laura Barber
        Participant

        Re: Aubri
        Great post! I completely agree with your last point about nudity. They had none of the hangups about nudity that modern culture does today. It does beg the question of what changed to prompt female figures finally being drawn in the nude. What do you think could have been a catalyst to this?

      • #6678
        Miranda Johansson
        Participant

        Aubri – thank you for this! Yes, I agree that in the eras that we have looked at earlier, there is a lot of emphasis on gods and the role that humans have in relation to them. The Ancient Greeks definitely did shift their focus more towards humans, in all their nude simplicity.

      • #6712
        rdnelson4
        Participant

        I agree. I think the Greek depiction of raw, pure human beauty in the nude is a perfect portrayal of Humanism. The emphasis put on sexuality and correct anatomical proportion and design further demonstrates their reverence and obsession with the human experience.

    • #6671
      Lucas Warthen
      Participant

      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.

      • #6679
        Miranda Johansson
        Participant

        Lucas – I agree with you about how the Greeks shifted a lot of focus on the art from focusing on gods to focusing on humans. This is a really good point. Thank you for this post!

      • #6695
        Bob Hook
        Participant

        Lucas, I always enjoy reading your discussion points. I agree that by the strictest terms that Greek art does not meet the modern definition of humanism. However, this is the first cultural step in this direction. The Greeks began to celebrate their lives and all of the joys and pains they incur. The gods are still there but the relationships are beginning to change. My favorite example is Dionysus the god of wine, vegetation, and pleasure. Much easier for me to support than the other ancient gods who only bring eternal damnation and judgment.

      • #6725
        Tamara Toy
        Participant

        Lucas, you make some really good points about humanism representing a human-centered culture instead of a God-centered culture. Most of what we have studied up to this point has been God-centered, and the Greeks are the first to really focus on the human aspect of culture. We see that in so many of the sculptures that like so lifelike, instead of the stiff and unrealistic representations of the gods.

      • #6728
        Dean Riley
        Participant

        I also see the difference in that in earlier periods, the focus was about bringing the human subject up to the height of the gods. In the art of ancient Greece, it appears as if the focus is making the gods more humanlike. So instead of elevating ourselves to them, we have brought them down to where we are at.

    • #6674
      Valene
      Participant

      Humanism is 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.
      — American Humanist Association
      This week’s art forms from the Greek and the concept of humanism is how they look at humans and their weaknesses and strengths. The human is the center in Greeks humanism and not the god. Greeks did have their gods in mythology, but they also put great importance on relying on oneself to achieve greatness. The ideals of athleticism and perfect bodies are important to the Greeks as this beauty and strength would be important to achieving their human greatness. So much of this week’s sculptures showed every curve and detail of the human form and didn’t leave anything to the imagination. It is obvious how much the Greeks appreciated the human form and its abilities.

      • #6687
        ckocsis
        Participant

        Valene- I like that you pointed out the Greek’s obsession with perfect human bodies and athleticism and how that was seen as people achieving their human greatness. That’s really smart! That’s probably why they depicted so many nudes, so that every part of the perfect human form could be seen. It makes so much sense now. Thanks!

      • #6739
        csayreswoody
        Participant

        Vanele,
        I like how you have so many great points to this question. I too also noticed how the Greeks were more focus on the people and the impressions that the peoples gave. I also noticed how they did have every little detail of a human beings body in their sculptures. If you would to research it a little bit more they also had sculptures of people in their temples which is different from most of the previous eras we have study whereas they have mainly things about the religious beliefs and gods.

        • #6758
          Valene
          Participant

          Re: csayreswoody

          Thanks for your comments. It is interesting how you brought up how this culture have sculptures of people in their temples which is unlike other previous eras we have studied. I didn’t catch that and find that very interesting.

      • #6766
        Sam Saccomen
        Participant

        Valene, I thought your post was short, simple, and spot on. I like how you talked about the detail put into these sculptures because the amount of detail in the earlier eras was very minimal. This just proves how much the Greeks centered their art on the human body rather than Gods.

      • #7065
        Gabe
        Participant

        I like the quote from the Humanist Association. I think one of the crucial reasons why the Greeks were humanist was not that they didn’t have a ‘god-centered’ life. Their temples were always built at the center of their cities and there were many religious festivals, etc. If you read for instance the Apology which deals with the trial of Socrates you see that piety is an important value to the Greeks. What made the Greeks so Humanist though is the Humanity of their Gods. Reading Greek Mythology (or watching Disney’s Hercules!) you can see the liveliness and messiness that the Gods themselves were experiencing. I think the appreciation the Greeks had for these aspects of life are what made them Humanist and cause their art to move in the directions that it did.

    • #6677
      Miranda Johansson
      Participant

      According to Robert Grudin, a contributor to the Encyclopedia Brittanica, humanism focuses on an objective analyses of the human experience. Over time, humanism has evolved and shifted, but in early humanism there was much focus on understanding human reality and emotions. There was a lot of focus on humility, kindness, compassion, and virtues such as judgement, prudence, and eloquence (Grudin).
      I think that we can see this focus on the human experience and emotions very well in the Kritios Boy, as there is much emphasis on his human side rather than making him a seemingly perfect model. Same thing with Lysoppos’ Man Scraping Himself, Lysippos chose to show an athlete not in practice doing some action that impresses the most, instead he is standing in a somewhat awkward, natural pose, without perfect posture. I also think it is interesting how his face seems childish, and his chin is not a perfectly chiseled square jaw. I think all these details hint towards the reality of a human, not being perfect, being humble, and full of emotion. Exekia’s ceramic painting of Ajax and Achilles Playing a Game is also a piece of art that shows humanist ideals, where we have two war demigods and warriors that have many stories about their strength and courage, but Exekia chose to paint them as they are playing a game together. This seemingly unconventional scene points out the humans in both of the demigods, as they are enjoying a leisurely pass-time activity together.
      Honestly, maybe the ideas of humanism have been around since before Ancient Greece. Just looking at the Colossal Figure of Akhenaten, this sculpture was such a contrast to other pharaohs images. Although perfect posture, this pharaoh chose to display his out of shape body and probably was true to his actual image. Something that seems to be very humanist of him.
      References
      Grudin, R. “Humanism.” Encyclopedia Brittanica, Jan. 18, 2019, http://www.britannica.com/topic/humanism

      • #6753
        Raven Shaw
        Participant

        I think your use of the word humble to describe later images of humans is highly accurate. They went from the stoic and ramrod straight images of humans as godlike, to the organic poses of realistic people later. This reminds me of seeing the drawings of children – in that kids will draw stiff, idealized superheros early in life, then as they get older a young artist will truly consider the humanity of their drawing. People start to repose, and express nuanced emotions. It really looks like the Greek state went through this evolution of art. An image of a king or a god isn’t humble, only a human can appreciate the expression of humbleness and not see it as weakness (only an adult).

    • #6686
      ckocsis
      Participant

      According to the American Humanist Association, Humanism is “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”.
      Basically, humanists believe that even without divinity in the picture, humans are ethical and good. I think the value the Greeks placed on human beings is very evident in their artwork. For example, Exekias’s Ajax and Achilles Playing a Game depicts two people playing dice. Playing dice is a very human thing to do. Before the Greeks, people were usually only depicted in artwork doing something heroic, like fighting a tiger, going to war, or interacting with gods. In this piece, something very mundane and human is depicted in the same way a heroic scene would be, showing how the Greeks valued human nature.

      • #6745
        tmbergan
        Participant

        Ckocsis, the Ajax and Achilles playing chess is a great catch. Most other depictions of gods do show them as doing some heroic deed, but here they show that the gods are just as normal and similar to the rest of us — they still partake in “human’ games with one another. Putting the gods on the same level as humans definitely show the importance of human matters rather than divine ones.

    • #6691
      Maggie May
      Participant

      Humanism is a system of beliefs which focuses on human potential and goodness rather than focusing on divine or supernatural matters. I think we can see this throughout many areas of Ancient Greece, but especially in the artistic shift towards representing the human body more accurately and portraying humans with increasing frequency, as well.
      We see art from this time period begin to focus on distinctly human activities, like Exekias’ work Ajax and Achilles Playing a Game, which depicts the two playing a game together and highlights the human aspects of their demigod nature. This shift in focus is fascinating.
      It is also fascinating to observe the shift away from very constrained, formal human form when portrayed in art to a more casual representation, such as standing with most of the weight on one leg or standing mostly nude. They also began to depict not only gods and godesses during this time, but also their followers. Unique to the time were depictions of older and younger people. It would follow that if the Greeks believed in the divinity of humankind, they would depict them this way- as they are- and more often.

      • #6714
        Aalieyah Creach
        Participant

        Maggie,
        I also found the demigod nature to be really fascinating when it came to it came to Ajax and Achilles playing the game. It showed how even during battle of Troy that they were able to have a civil moment to have some time to themselves. Even after when Achilles was killed, Ajax carried his best friend off the battle field. It was amazing to read about how demigods showed their emotions.

      • #6731
        Lacey Miller
        Participant

        Maggie- I liked that you recognized the visual appearance difference in the artist’s portrayal.
        “especially in the artistic shift towards representing the human body more accurately”
        That’s an important thing to note.

      • #6746
        tmbergan
        Participant

        Maggie, the shift from the constrained and “formal’ stances of previous cultures’ statues to the more relaxed and carefree ones was really nice to see — they were making them a lot more realistic in how people would hold themselves as well as making the human body more realistic. It was also interesting seeing that the males were depicted naked quite a few times, but the females were still covered up; today’s world seems to be similar to this in some ways.

    • #6694
      Bob Hook
      Participant

      I enjoyed all the definitions of humanism that are out there. One I particularly liked is from a YouTube video titled Humanism Introduction Part 1 that featured many poets, scientists, writers, and philosophers presenting their thoughts on humanism. One that stood out to me was from Zoe Margolis, writer, and journalist, who stated “we can be decent human beings who love and support and help each other and not expect a fantasy to fulfill our hopes and dreams in this life’. This means that we accept more responsibilities for our lives and do not rely on gods to bring us fortune or fame. We begin to accept the world for what it is and we are free to enjoy nature and our personal activities that bring us joy and freedom.
      This is reflected in early Greek art as it is not solely dedicated to religion and religious leaders. Funerary kraters were often decorated with scenes from the individual’s life including aspects of farming or a warrior’s life. There were also Homeric influences that can be found in everyday objects, poems, and literature. These served to celebrate the lives and adventures of men and woman. Certainly, the gods had their roles still but individuals living a “good life’ were also worthy of note.

      • #7040
        Allie Eby
        Participant

        Hi Bob, I like your point about everyday individual achievement being brought to the forefront. I hadn’t REALLY noticed how much less prevalent the gods were in Greek art compared to Egyptian, but you’re totally right.

    • #6698
      Kaitlyn
      Participant

      humanism is defined by a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence (rationalism and empiricism) over acceptance of dogma or superstition. I think it is very clear to see the relationship between the greek art and humanism. Not only is much of the art of people, even their gods are modeled after human beings and their unique personality traits, like anger or other mood swings that were displayed by the gods. Greek art put a lot of focus on the beauty of the human body, which is evident in the fine details of their work, like the piece “MYRON’S DISCOBOLUS” or “POLYKLEITOS’ SPEAR BEARER”. So I think this shift to this more humanism centered artwork is pretty obvious, especially compared to the previous artwork we have looked at.

    • #6700
      Jessi Willeto
      Participant

      Humanism surrounds the concept of raising the importance of humans to the same or higher importance of the divine, and can be used to idealize the human body and cause inspiration for the art surrounding it. It emphasizes on the potential rationality and goodness of human beings and treats human beings as rational creatures capable of empathy and thought. In the Greek art we studied this week, we can see the human figure slowly being created realistically and with gesture, such as contrapposto in Classical sculptures as opposed to the ones seen in the Archaic period like the stiff Kore figures. Idealized human forms become developed while still maintaining the familiar human form, becoming less abstract and more literal such as the Aphrodite of Knidos. This reminds me of the change in artistic style during the Amarna period in Egypt– Akhenaten depicted within that period is not as stiff as his precursors, but instead shown with a swollen belly and seen playing with his daughters in a more relaxed and relatable style. The changes in style in both cultures tell us that the focus is less rigid on the divine and more honest with human daily life.

    • #6701
      Jessi Willeto
      Participant

      RE: Kaitlyn
      I didn’t think to point out how the Gods reflected similar human emotions. It’s amazing to me that they created such wild narratives and myths about their deities; and yet they based these myths on human experience and emotion (for the most part). That relationship with the art seems so unique to me, as often in art history (in the past cultures we have studied) it seems to focus more on idealized rigid forms, forgetting that humans are just that; human.

    • #6702
      Jessi Willeto
      Participant

      RE: Bob Hook
      Ooh, I like that quote. It holds humans more accountable for their actions as well, which I think why so many people are afraid of it. It’s a scary thing to rely solely on yourself rather than destiny and superstitions, yet the Greeks began forming this kind of thought. And as you said, it gives us even more freedom to enjoy those aspects of life. I enjoyed your response.

    • #6708
      Aalieyah Creach
      Participant

      Humanism is a system focused on the importance of humans rather than the supernatural matters. In the art of Ancient Greece it was used to show the embodiment of beauty even through war and death. For instance in the Geometric Period had vases that would show show family members mourning over a lost loved one. However, the bodies were drawn with simple shapes such as triangles and circles with a dot to represent the eyes. Then when we got into the Archaic Period you can see the dimensions and the in depth features come to life. Something that stuck out to me was the smiles that were represented on the faces of the young woman and man. It was stated that the smile was to represent that of well-being rather than just happiness. Even for fallen warriors they were sculpted with smiles on their faces to show vitality and strength because it was an honor to have fought. Humanism is a focus on the importance of humans, but the Gods also were said to have human weakness and emotions. Giving them that connection to humans that praised them and allowed them to empathize with the humans in my opinion.

    • #6711
      rdnelson4
      Participant

      Humanism, as defined by Dictionary.com, is “any system or mode of thought or action in which human interests, values, and dignity predominate.’ Simplified, Humanism is when the focus is on purely the human existence. With this definition in mind, I think Greek culture, and especially their art and stories exemplify this. Even the ancient Greek’s depictions of their gods were in human form, such as the statue of Apollo from Delphi. The Greeks didn’t just focus on the human existence though, but also on the human form. Nudity and sexuality were portrayed in their art quite a bit, crazy sexual twists in their lore, and the possible roots of homosexuality buried in their history. The Kritios Boy is an example of how Greek art not only sought to portray the human form, but depict it in a more natural, ideal condition; with contrapposto stance. Polyclitus, and artist in the high classical period, was bend on idolizing the human body by emphasizing what he considered beautiful and overshadowing human flaws. I think the Greeks were not just in love with the human existence and human intelligence, but also with the human body itself; trying to perfect both its physical existence and its artistic preservation.

    • #6716
      Jess
      Participant

      Humanism is an approach to life based on reason and our common humanity, recognizing that moral values are properly founded on human nature and experience alone. — The Bristol Humanist Group

      Definition of Humanism


      It is interesting to me that the concept of humanism plays a large role in the Greek Arts when a huge part of their culture is Gods and Goddesses. However, I believe that is the reason it was only the concept that played a role in the arts and not the entire way of life. With that being said, as stated in the above quote, humanism is just what it sounds like; the belief and idea that humans make their own way in life and that there is no other divine entity playing a role in our life. A great example of humanism being demonstrated is the FUNERARY KRATER and the EXEKIAS’S AJAX AND ACHILLES PLAYING A GAME. I chose these two because in the first example, the krater, we are shown a funeral of a man. There are no special descriptions, other than the sacrifice of animals, to say that he believed in the after life. He is simply shown on the bier as a simple man figure. Then, in the card game between Achilles and Ajax, we are seeing two cousins playing a simple game of cards. They are shown enjoying time together as normal family members would, where as in a time that didn’t use part of humanism in their daily lives, we would see something geared more towards religion or some other divine individual.

    • #6723
      Tamara Toy
      Participant

      Humanism is the philosophy that centers around the human experience. This includes things such as critical thinking and evidence-based thinking, instead of accepting beliefs and religious doctrine as the only truth. This gives more agency to human life, as it isn’t all about what the gods want or desire to do. I see a lot of ways this is evident in the Greek art of this period. When we look at “Kritios Boy’, the naturalness of his physique and pose, as opposed to earlier statues of gods, is much more lifelike. Critical analysis of the human body was used, from the way the hips are positioned given the shift of weight to one leg. This lack of rigidity in stance is using humanism which breaks away from centering art around the gods and man being a reflection of them.

      • #6840
        Celina Batchelder
        Participant

        The details of the art of this time period is immaculate. One piece that stuck out to me was the Dying Gallic Trumpeter, as you can see the incredible detail put into the veins in his feet to show a full-body display of suffering. A step away from the gods as a step toward more humanistic pieces is refreshing to see. The Greeks seem to have put a great emphasis on humans as serving as a production of morality all on their own.

    • #6727
      Dean Riley
      Participant

      Merriam Webster defines humanism as a doctrine, attitude, or way of life centered on human interests or values. The focus of much of the art of the time stopped being about elevating rulers to the height of the gods, but humanizing the gods to be more human like. For instance, in Nike adjusting Her Sandal, she is performing a rather mundane, humanlike act. In Sleeping Ero, the god of love isn’t some powerful deity, but a sleeping, defenseless child.

    • #6740
      csayreswoody
      Participant

      According to http://www.yourdicionary.com the definition of humanism is a belief that human needs and values are more important than religious beliefs, or the need and desire of humans. After studying the pieces of art during the Archaic Period I noticed that their pieces weren’t more so about the religious side where as it was more so about the people. Say for instance in the Kore Figures you see more art sculptures that are of human beings. I think rather than the artist focusing on their religious beliefs they focused more so on the humans and admired and honored the human being for so then the religion. I noticed that even in the temples there where more sculptures of people than anything else such as the in the Temple of Aphaia at Aegina where they have sculptures of the warriors. Seeing this makes me think that people during the Ancient Greece area thought more of their people men, women, and warriors verse their religious beliefs.

    • #6742
      Lacey Miller
      Participant

      “The definition of humanism is a belief that human needs and values are more important than religious beliefs, or the needs and desires of humans.”
      Based on the art of ancient Greece presented, I’d say it was safe to say that the idea of humanism was freshly emerging. The use of subjects that were that of simple human needs can be seen, but you do still see the representation of gods. One thing to note is the Greeks ability to capture human form a bit more accurately. With these they also represented their gods in a more humanlike way, size is one way that they humanized the gods, but I believe they still weighed of heavy importance. As time progressed, the symbolism started to dissipate and the art was centered more so on the daily life of the greeks and the preservation of human imagery.

      • #6760
        Valene
        Participant

        Re: Lacey
        I think you hit the nail on the head with the idea that humanism was definitely emerging as a new idea with the Greeks. Before this so much was reliant on only the gods and their influence, man was not really considered as being anything near equivalent to the gods except for the chosen kings/royalty.

      • #6839
        Celina Batchelder
        Participant

        The artist’s ability to capture the human form with more detail is one characteristic that stuck out to me when viewing this week’s pieces. I agree that the representation of gods were still there, but that more of an emphasis was placed on the human form. It does seem to be a newly emerging concept in this time period.

    • #6744
      tmbergan
      Participant

      Cambridge Dictionary describes humanism as “a belief system based on the principle that people’s spiritual and emotional needs can be satisfied without following a god or religion.’ While some Greek art still shows their dedication to their deities, their focus began to shift more towards the ideal human body and much more realistic depictions when they did refer to their gods. Rather than having gods and goddesses with animal heads as we previously saw with the Egyptians, the Greeks seemed to show animal-human hybrids as lesser beings, as we see in the Man and Centaur piece where they mention that the centaur is seen as uncivilized. Greek art also shifts from the supernatural to be much more realistic as they placed an emphasis on the human body’s details and more natural positions, as seen in the Dying Warrior and both the Metropolitan and Anavysos Kouros. These sculptures all show the men’s strength and vitality, transitioning from awkwardly proportioned muscular bodies to more natural looking ones, and showing their preference and appreciation for the human body that could achieve greatness.

    • #6750
      Aubri Stogsdill
      Participant

      RE Valene

      So true! I like what you said about athleticism. Perhaps the greeks valued that because they so valued having strong and beautiful bodies. I hadn’t actually made that connection. Their games and such were also done in the nude to show off all the effort they had put into making their bodies as strong and attractive as possible. So interesting!

    • #6751
      Raven Shaw
      Participant

      Humanism is a way of thinking that acknowledges the value of human beings as individuals or as a group, versus a way of thinking that places gods as more important. Humanism also values rational thought and empiricism while solving problems, and acknowledges basic human needs.

      Greek art celebrated culture heroes such as Hercules and Odysseus, characters that everyday people could more easily project themselves into than the carvings of kings and gods in the Middle East and Egypt. The Greeks had a whole pantheon of gods to pray to, but their gods were portrayed with human fallibility, which I think is how they held a balance between the importance of heaven and earth. I think the advent of human celebrities such as Pythia and that Greeks believed that the gods could be bargained with were both developments in humanism that allowed for greater freedom of individuals. In this vein, I found it interesting that sanctuaries such as the one of Apollo could be entered by individuals seeking asylum — which seems like a leap in the concept of justice.

      A lot of art was focused on showing off the human body as something beautiful. They were particularly into abs. The warrior figures on the Temple of Aphaia were beautifully posed, even as they were dying. The movement toward the classical era of art shows a change from symbolic shapes of the ‘ubermensch,’ and simply showing one guy as bigger than another to denote power differential – toward worshipful appreciation of the human form. The movement was also from statues of specific aristocrats toward state-commissioned statues of general ideals of beauty. I found it very interesting that Greek art would celebrate friendship between people, such as the amphora with Ajax and Achilles.

      There was definitely sympathy in Greek art for basic human needs. Statuary of warriors was like a beautiful ad campaign to entice young men into dying for their country. Wounded warriors were carved as beautiful and brave. The Sarpedon krater dealt with people’s fear of dying alone by showing agents of Zeus showing up to carry the body of a dying warrior.

      In developing mathematics and geometry, the Greeks took on some of the power of their gods, in that they were able to understand their world in a highly detailed way that they couldn’t before. Instead of being subject to the order created by the gods, they could now impose order themselves. There was also a self-esteem bump provided by conquering the Persian army. Statuary became more relaxed and confident in its realism after the Greeks prevailed in war. The development of Athletic games was important for the glorification of the individual, because competitive games are a symbolic version of war. A lot of classical period art celebrates young athletes competing in Greek games, such as Myron’s Discobolus.

    • #6755
      Allie Eby
      Participant

      While a lot of Greek art is heavily influenced by their pantheon of gods, unlike many of the cultures we have studied so far, this pantheon itself is inherently tied to humanist ideas. The Greek gods are humanized, and which gods people and even cities worshipped were tied very much to preference. This is unusual, and to me is tied to humanism’s focus on individual fulfillment. The gods were also portrayed with human flaws and wants, indicating that humans and their gods were hardly different. This says that humans do not NEED the gods, as they are hardly better than humans, which is a humanist ideal. The existence of mortal demigods and human heroes blessed by the gods further cements this, showing that the gods and humans can easily intermingle. Much of their art also shows a great focus on individuals, their emotions and glorifying an individual’s deeds, such as the focus on the dying warrior. Overall, almost all ancient Greek art highlights some aspect of humanity and individualism.

    • #6759
      Kaylyn Kelly
      Participant

      In the Egyptian period, religious pieces such as the gods and goddesses were not symbolized by human figures. They were usually in the form of half human half animal. Unlike Egyptian art, Greek art was centered on the concept of humanism. The gods were not the center of attention anymore. They were considered to be just like humans and could even be seen as not needed anymore if they were just like us. The Greeks put the human body first and believed that our bodies were “godly’ because humans looked just like gods. In Ancient Greece, they formed their gods into human form. The Classical period and the Hellenistic period are the most significant times of the Greek culture in my eyes. It is when Greek individuals began to sculpt the human body, perfecting it, and making it look almost flawless. I believe that the Greeks had a mindset for their art, “If the gods look like us, then we look like the gods; thus, our bodies are godly’ which gave sculptures the drive to pay attention to every detail. The poses of the Greek sculptures were becoming more naturalistic, for example, Charioteer of Delphi. The technical skills of Greek sculptors depicting the human form in a variety of poses also increased such as Aphrodite of Melos and The Nike of Samothrace. This was when humans and our human features started getting put first compared to other eras were gods were the center of attention.

      • #6780
        Miranda Jackovich
        Participant

        To Kaylyn Kelly
        I thought your example of how Egyptian gods and goddesses were represented by half animals was a perfect contrast from the Greeks. Do you believe certain events and or technology in human evolution changed humans perspectives of how gods were viewed to them. It is interesting how their thoughts saw gods as humans but with other worldly powers. Great job!

    • #6763
      Sam Saccomen
      Participant

      The definition of humanism from google is “an outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters. Humanist beliefs stress the potential value and goodness of human beings, emphasize common human needs, and seek solely rational ways of solving human problems.” I thought this was a good definition of humanism and exactly what Greek art is centered around. Greek art is all about the form of the human body, while most of the earlier art seen the past couple weeks was centered around the gods and their love for them. We still see the gods in the Greek art however, we see them in a human form because the Greek believed that the human form was beautiful just as the Gods were so they portrayed Gods in human form. This was the first time we see in art our human features are being shown as the center of attention.

      • #6773
        Kaylyn Kelly
        Participant

        RE: sjsaccomen
        You had a very nice response about humanism and Ancient Greek artwork! The only thing that I would recommend is adding in a few examples of the artwork we went over this week. I look forward to reviewing more of your posts!

    • #6779
      Miranda Jackovich
      Participant

      Humanism is the belief of potential goodness in all human beings, and putting more importance into humanity over the devine or otherworldly beings. Many civilizations, such as Mesopotamia and Egypt focused on the importance of honoring and worshiping their gods/goddesses based on their culture, idolizing them for survival. The Greeks culture however showed value in humans stature through Kore and Kouros figures. The Dying Warrior at the Temple of Aphaia at Aegina shows the great honor one receives after dying in battle. The ‘Archaic smile’ on the warrior represents strength and vitality. Much of the Greeks art work displayed dominance over supernatural beings such as the bronze figurine of “The Man and Centaur’. These representations of humans help support the Greeks philosophy of humanism.

    • #6838
      Celina Batchelder
      Participant

      Humanism is a philosophical concept, absent of theism or other supernatural beliefs, that strives to affirm our human responsibility to lead ethical lives. This concept recognizes that morality is founded based upon human experience and human nature. An emphasis seems to be put on humanity over other supernatural/higher power beings. A great deal of detail, based on this concept, has been found in Greek art works that can be seen in the addition of great detail in sculptures, like The Laocoon and his sons, and the Dying Gallic Trumpeter.
      Gods are still present in Greek art work, but they are more reproduced in human form, much like the Aphrodite of Melos. As a whole, Greek art work seems to encompass a lot of characteristics of humanism in its renderings.

    • #7064
      Gabe
      Participant

      A contrast case that could be considered to the Humanism of the Greeks is the Spiritualism of the Ancient Egyptians. It’s interesting, because the earlier (Geometric and Archaic) periods of Greek art have a lot in common with the Ancient Egyptians. There are similar geometeric patterns, two dimensional rows on top of rows (Corinthian Olpe) and rigid postures (Kore and Kouros). However as the Greek Humanism emerged, Greek art became more passionate and dynamic. The human characters would show expressions with real emotion, joy, and suffering. There is another interesting parallel to between this trend, and the Greek mythology which presents the Olympians overthrowing the ‘Old Gods’ the titans, giants, Gaia, and Kronos. In this mythology, the Olympians are obviously the most ‘people’ with their melodramas, romances, etc. and it emphasizes the value the Greeks gradually placed onto their own Humanness. As a Philosophy major I also think it’s very interesting that this is the environment that brought a ‘think for yourself’ philosophy into the world.

    • #7243
      Guy Gaswint
      Participant

      Humanism as it pertains to art is the focus on the accurate portrayal of the Human form in art. The ancient Greeks also focused on capturing human emotion in their art, so it was not just about form but also about human thoughts and emotions. The key shift is not that religion was no longer important, but that the Human form was now emphasized and included. Portraying the gods in a human form is a obvious example of humanism.

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