Week 4 (Asteria)

I really like the art pieces from the Hellenistic period. The sculptures have such amazing detail like all the ridges and curves of the body. In the video lecture, Boxer (chapter 7, page 111) had such intricate grooves that show a full story. You can imagine what the subject in Boxer had just experienced. The despair and the exhaustion conveyed through his slight slouch shows his defeat. Likewise, Winged Nike (chapter 7, page 110) is filled with motion as shown by the ruffling of her garment.

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Boxer

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The depictions of the subject are also very naturalistic and not altered to make the subject more youthful or in better shape. Unlike the classical period, where the subjects have a “S-shape” posture, the sculptures from the Hellenistic period have their limbs outstretched. The limbs are slightly bent, making the limbs seem elongated and elegant.

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Lacoön and His Two Sons

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Additionally, the sculptures are filled with a variety of expression and drama. In addition to The Boxer, the Lacoön and His Two Sons (chapter 7, page112) also expresses a deep sense of emotion. In this sculpture, Lacoön and his two sons are being devoured by a pair of serpents. Once again, even though the limbs of Lacoön are bent, they seem stretched out and elongated.

 

Barberini Faun

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Outside of the textbook, a sculpture I looked at was Barberini Faun, also sometimes referred to as the Drunken Satyr. Although this was found in Rome, it is believed to have been stolen from Greece. The body is slouched, and the subject is not sitting upright; however, the limbs do seem stretched. The relaxed position of the head resting upon the shoulder that’s hanging on the chair shows the exhausted state the satyr is in. The ivy around his head is intricately carved with great detail.

Learning about the Parthenon and all the great calculations needed to erect it was incredible. I am in awe of all the calculations and the thought process that it was necessary to “fix” the flawed human sight by making the Parthenon more visually pleasing. All the elements to make the building aesthetically pleasing from various angles were done so to exact measurements/ratios. The Parthenon was considered as the house of Athena. The triangular space on the sides of the Parthenon are decorated with scenes of the gods called pediments (Cartwright). Below is a picture I took of the East Pediment of the Parthenon found in the British Museum.

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East Pediment Sculptures
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Parthenon exhibit in British Museum

The pyramids were built to honor their pharaohs, ziggurats were for the moon god, and Stonehenge was to honor the dead. All great architectures have a trend that they are to honor an important figure. In America, a lot of the monuments are in remembrance of past presidents. For example, Mount Rushmore honors four important presidents. Additionally, the Lincoln memorial is also similar to the monumental structures. The important figures on Mount Rushmore all helped establish something important during America’s history: The establishment of independence from Britain (Washington), the Declaration of Independence (Jefferson), abolition of slavery (Lincoln), and leadership through world war two (Roosevelt).

Most of the monuments are out of honor. For a more religious monument, cathedrals were built as a place of worship. The design of the building often resemble a cross and the ceilings are full of beautiful murals.

 

Cartwright, Mark. “The Parthenon Sculptures.” Ancient History Encyclopedia, Ancient History Encyclopedia, 14 Dec. 2014

7 thoughts on “Week 4 (Asteria)”

  1. I loved reading your blog post. I also really like the art from the Hellenistic period. The amount of emotion and attention to detail the artists put into their pieces is amazing. I like how you mentioned that they made the subjects of their artwork to be more naturalistic to look more youthful as well as how you explained the positioning of their limbs. My favorite part of this era of art is the use of facial expression. When I look at a piece that is very expressive, I feel like I become more connected to it. I like the sculpture you chose from outside of the textbook. It is a perfect example of a Hellenistic piece. The history of the Pantheon is so interesting. I agree that all of these places are made for important figures. Great job!

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    1. I really do think that the facial expression of any piece really provides a full story of the artwork. I think it’s so amazing how much detail the artist was able to express into the sculpture. It really brings the sculpture to life!

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  2. Man, the artwork around us has been displaying idealistic bodies since day one. I noticed that all the men in the images you showed have perfectly chiseled muscles and body structures. This makes sense, because the artist wanted to make the sculpture as aesthetic as possible, but it’s just amusing to me how this theme has carried on into artwork of today’s era as well. Paintings, statues, and even photos are altered from reality to display the qualities that everyone would call beautiful. I also liked what you said about honoring important figures in great architecture; I agree that this is the common connection between all those things. Great post!

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    1. I don’t think everyone in Greece did look like the those depicted in the sculptures. I do think those type of bodies are idealized due to the physical strength required to compete and excel in Olympic events.

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  3. I loved looking at all of the sculptures that you posted in your blog. It is interesting what the ideal body type was to the Ancient Greeks. I can also see what you were talking about with the elongated limbs and facial expressions. The sculptures really seemed to come alive in this period. You mentioned that this sculpture was stolen by the Romans. Do you know why it was stolen? Was this a sculpture of someone important? Those were just some thoughts that I had while reading your post. You did a really great job!

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    1. I think that the ideal body type was the way perpetuated by the Olympics. The fittest would win the Olympics and thus, a lot of the figures of men are really muscular (such as Boxer). I am not quite sure how the sculpture wound up in Rome, but the depicted is a Saytr -a half human half goat being.

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  4. Really good post. The pieces that you chose were really interesting. I think the Hellenistic period was really polarizing because pieces just seemed to have much more feeling. While the classical period represented a shift to more naturalism, the Hellenistic period seems to have taken things a step further. In the Drunken Satyr, the sculpture is not only realistic and natural, but it is almost as if you can see an actual person behind the body of the sculpture.

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