Naked greek statues
When the British Museum opens its blockbuster exhibition of Greek sculpture this spring, curators believe visitors may have one burning question. While the neighbouring Egyptian and Assyrian galleries are filled with fully clothed gods and mortals, the ancient Greeks chose to depict the human body in its natural state. The Egyptians, the Persians and the Assyrians found it shameful. It was not about representing the literal world, but a world which was mythologised. They are victims of war, stripped and flayed alive.
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Classical Nude - Female
Classical Nude - Female
Jean Sorabella Independent Scholar. Figures with no clothes are peculiarly common in the art of the Western world. This situation might seem perfectly natural when one considers how frequent the state of undress is in every human life, from birth to the bath to the boudoir. In art, however, naked figures relate very little to these humble conditions and instead reflect a very complex set of formal ideals, philosophical concerns, and cultural traditions. Though meaningful throughout the sweep of Western art, the nude was a particular focus of artistic innovation in the Renaissance and later academic traditions of the seventeenth century and after. The nude first became significant in the art of ancient Greece, where athletic competitions at religious festivals celebrated the human body, particularly the male, in an unparalleled way. The athletes in these contests competed in the nude, and the Greeks considered them embodiments of all that was best in humanity.
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The Nude in Western Art and Its Beginnings in Antiquity
T he oddity of ancient sculpture often escapes us. A male nude, a Greek statue, has become very familiar over the past 2, years: it is what we expect of ancient statuary, that it show off its muscles. At times it can seem overly familiar, a bit tacky or tawdry or maybe just banal, evoking the withdrawing room of an aesthete of the s, a gay sauna in the s or the yard at the back of a modern garden centre alongside the blue-glazed planters and bird baths. The Uffizi in Florence was once most famous for its collection of classical sculptures, but who now spends much time looking at them as they barge past to the Botticellis? If you find the crowds around the Hieronymus Bosches too much in the Prado, seek out the cul-de-sac where they have put the wonderful San Ildefonso statue group for some peace and quiet.
Heroic nudity or ideal nudity is a concept in classical scholarship to describe the un-realist use of nudity in classical sculpture to show figures who may be heroes , deities, or semi-divine beings. This convention began in Archaic and Classical Greece and continued in Hellenistic and Roman sculpture. The existence or place of the convention is the subject of scholarly argument. In ancient Greek art warriors on reliefs and painted vases were often shown as nude in combat, which was not in fact the Greek custom, and in other contexts. Idealized young men but not women were carved in kouros figures, and cult images in the temples of some male deities were nude.