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If you consider that the gods are no longer being idolized as perfect figures who are only young and fit as shown in the Hellenistic art period than there is a clear progression of more human qualities being shown. However, this same progression could also be viewed as a regression as there are still gods being used in the art and the nature of Humanist values is relying on the human and not the god. So, continuing to have gods in one’s work is also seen as regression. I can really see both sides of this issue. I think Greek humanist values relied on human beings the center of the world instead of any god, so in that train of thought I would say the Hellenistic art is a regression as there are still clearly gods used throughout their art.
Etruscan society seems to greatly differ from previous societies in how there is an almost equality seen among the men and women. Many of the sculptures such as “Sarcophagus of the Spouses“ include both male and female and put the women in the forefront. There hasn’t been much equality in art shown in these various culture’s, so it is a welcome site. The female god’s sculptures were the few strong female roles in a lot of the previous art we’ve seen. Reading that Etruscan women were allowed in society and at public events must have made for a hopefully better life for these ancient women than previous cultures.
I agree that more emotion is being shown in the arts in the Hellenistic period. Everything seems more realistic and comparable to real life when there is true emotion being shown. The idea that women showing their wrinkles and imperfect “ideals” being shown helps bring reality to this time period too.
To Lacey, According to the article about the windows they stated it was for privacy but it being for protection makes sense. It just seemed funny for a culture that idealized the naked body to not have windows in their homes. I do understand that maybe society liked nudity in art but ones home meant privacy for everything, not just nudity.
It is so interesting how times have changed our ideals of a perfect figure as you discussed. So much of the ideal figure is personal preference these days as I still see lots of long and lean celebrities being envied for their shapes and the same for curvy. At least now a days I feel there is more equal attention given to the different varieties of figures and their isn’t the added pressure of a social classes must being one size.
I think Hellenistic art can be regarded as being more individualistic and diverse than Classical Greek art as it goes beyond just the perfect sculpted youthful male and shows more diverse things, i.e. it shows an old woman, children and not perfect male forms. This time period also included some common home scenes with families commissioning artists to sculpt their households. There are also lots of examples of the gods Aphrodite and Dionysus in the Hellenistic art as well as a major emphasis on architecture and paintings. In researching this time period, I read about how the architecture during this time period often had simple homes without windows so they could maintain privacy in the homes. That seems very ironic to me that a home can’t have a window so that all home activities are private and yet all art shows major nudity and exemplifies private body parts that most people would consider to “private’.
I think the art of this period really tries to show the ideal body and its beauty through details in everything. There are no generalizations in each body part. The fingers are perfectly crafted and showing every crevice. The private parts are fully shown and almost exemplified. Every curve of the body is perfectly described and realistic. The male bodies seem to all be fit and muscular and the females have an elegant and youthful look to them. Being young and fit is idealistic in many cultures throughout history, for example the Egyptian art showed many of their figures as thin and beautiful as well. America shows this through only the young and fit being idealized in films and television. Generally, being a celebrity and popular in modern civilization means you are attractive and youthful.
I like your idea of who to give ownership and discovery to with found objects, it is definitely a sticky situations in terms of mobile objects and cultures who are very possessive of their own arts rights. No one answer is perfect but your idea does seem to be fair.
I also used to only think of these topics in relation to ancient cultures. It was ironic to me that my Alaskan Native course is also taking about rights to cultural art.
I love your comment on the lawn and who it belongs to. That is exactly right!
That is such an interesting comparison to a living zoo. I never thought of it that way, but your right. I agree that these Alaskan tribes that are still in existence should have some kind of say in discoveries from their tribe.
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.
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.
This is a complicated subject as I could see any of these sides of the argument having a legitimate reason to be right. In another class I am in, we are discussing Alaskan Native History and there is this similar topic being discussed on Alaska Native Art and their elders not feeling it is right to display these very personal artifacts for anyone to see. In some Alaskan Native cultures, a piece could be used for a specific celebration or spiritual event and they believe the spirit of the event is in that art piece. Still other Alaskan cultures feel a specific clan has the rights over any art produced by its peoples. How then can someone just find one of these arts pieces and make claim to it and ignore the cultural reference? In this class there is similar situations of people like last weeks Sir Arthur Evans and his incorrectly reconstructing The Palace Complex at Knossos. It is sad that the Minoan’s culture was represented incorrectly. It seems like many of these finds have been claimed by the finder and not by the culture who originally made the item. I certainly don’t have an answer to who should get the right to the item but I would hope that most people who find ancient artifacts would want them appreciated by all and allow their cultural ties to be acknowledged.
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.
Hi Dean, I know the Mycenaeans did include war in some of their art pieces but it had a very novel and almost amusing aspect to some of it(i.e. ceramic jars). Do you think the Mycenaeans where actually more fierce and war like when their war pieces included smiling cartoon characters? I went through all of our art examples of Mycenaeans and I don’t see a ton of war and conflict.