Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Only human...

The Greeks views of the human body evolved over time. Their interest in a perfect and idealistic body is present in the Classical period but they take a greater interest in realism, complete with flaws in the Hellenistic period. Both periods have beliefs that can be seen today in our media and in our art.

The Classical period is particularly interesting to me because our advertising industry seems to hold similar ideals. The obsession with beauty, perfection, and youth present in Classical Greek art can be seen in almost any advertisement you pick up Even the elderly are cast in such a light that they appear somehow more ethereal and beautiful than your average old person. This also carries over into the rest of the mass media, but less so than in ads.

However, there is another side to the Greek art that shines through in the Hellenistic period. During this period, they leaned more towards realism and represented the old and the ugly instead of just the young and beautiful. Today, I think this raw, truthful view of the world can be seen more in art than in the mass media in particular. There are many artists today who make it their goal to capture life as it is. Even in some movies, there are actors and actresses that lack the perfect Hollywood look. I see a more realistic approach to life more and more as I grow up. Maybe our art is evolving just as the Greek art did.

I think beauty and strength have fascinated people since the beginning of time because it speaks more to our primal side than most would care to admit. No matter how much we try to be higher beings and accept all, we’re still human and beauty and strength still draws the eyes. It will always be present in art. All the same, the expression of the human form as it is will continue along side it because we cannot keep raw humanity out of something we create. Such realism also serves as a reminder of our humanity.

I think the Greeks understood this because even their perfected sculptures of gods and heroes had the hint of humanity in them and their stories, these same gods and heroes had very human flaws. So despite the fact that they strived for a perfect body in their art, they still accepted humanity and eventually carried that into their sculpting later.

Little about humanity changes with time, no matter how much the world changes.

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