Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Grecian Figures A Few Hundred Years Ahead

As we compared the evolution of Grecian art, I couldn't help but remember a few iconic Greek figures sculpted a few centuries later. I know I might be jumping a few hundred years ahead, but I thought I'd share a few statues I found particularly interesting.

 Hercules Fighting the Centaur Nessus. For those of you who do not know the story, basically Nessus was a centaur who attempted to steal Hercules's wife. When Hercules shot an arrow at Nessus and killed him, Nessus told Hercules's wife that his blood would ensure Hercules's love for her. Instead, Nessus's blood poisons and kills Hercules. I found this statue to be an excellent representation of human "perfection." The melodramatic expression of utter terror and pain within Nessus's face, and the detailed muscularity of the bodies are great representations of Hellenistic art. The positions of the bodies greatly differ from the more geometric and archaic grecian art we've seen. Like the statue of Perseus, it contains much more movement. It is inspirational to those who looked up to icons like Hercules, and overall illustrates the Greeks transitioning view of art.

Perseus with the Head of Medusa. Although the statue was bronze, I noticed a few similarities to the Hellenistic art of the Greeks. The detailed muscularity on the body. The nakedness. The movement of the body, rather than a completely static stance. The emotional response of Perseus, and his dutiful expression. His eyes are closed, because as the myth goes, Medusa could turn one to stone with one look at her face. I would also like to point out the bodily "perfection" used to illuminate Greek icons. As in the later periods of Grecian art, I find that this piece embodies the "Grecian" view of human perfection.

(Uffizi Museum in Florence, Italy. Both photos are mine.)

1 comment:

Samantha Gillen said...

These sculptures are even more realistic and portray even more emotion than the ones we were looking at in class from 230-180 BCE. I just think about how much time and effort these artists must have put into these works in order to get them to look so realistic. It truly amazes me. The Roman's marble copy of "Gaul and His Wife", what was originally a Grecian bronze sculpture, particularly stood out to me during Ms. Quinet's presentation.