Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Role Of The Human Figure In Art

"Head of an Old Man"

For my second discussion question I choose to write about question 2 (discuss the role of the human figure in the periods studied in chapters 14 and 15).

In chapter 14 The Limestone Woman of Wiledorf (25,000-20,000 B.C.E.) is portrayed as a woman with big hips and breasts that seems to imply that women of that time were seen as child bearers or life givers. Prehistoric people may have given main credit to women for just that reason. Today in our time it does not seem like women are given much credit for that fact. You don’t really see that many pregnant models (or not so skinny women) on TV, movies, or in the magazines. Maybe pregnant women (or not so skinny women) back in the Paleolithic period were considered beautiful. Now in this day and age it doesn’t seem like pregnant (or no so skinny women) are given much credit or made to feel very beautiful or important. So it seems like our view of beauty has changed over the times. I feel that everyone should be made to feel good about them and feel important no matter what their size is.

Art in Egypt usually showed the human figure in a completely front view or in a profile view. Egyptian artists showed each object and each part of peoples bodies (carved or drawn) from what they saw as its most characteristic angle. Just like artists do now a days. They showed people and objects in their most characteristic angel to avoid causing random or chance angels of view. The Wall Painting from tomb of Nebamun is an example of avoiding random or chance angles or views and avoiding ambiguity. This painting shows a great deal of detail without making the painting confusing. This painting also shows a great deal of information. The nobleman in the paintings feet, head, hips, and legs and shoulders are shown from a front view. The family in this painting shows us what their day to day life was like. The nobleman hunted while the rest of his family (his wife and his daughter) were on a boat made from papyrus leaves with him. This painting also shows us how the people of the Egyptian times dressed and how they looked.

In chapter 15 it explains that Greece came into its classical period/phase in 480 and ended in 323 B.C.E. The Spear Bearer is one example of the Greeks classical art style. The Greek artists of that times main concern/goal was to only create the ideal individual (the “perfect” human being). The Spear Bearer shows this interpretation of the “perfect” human being form quite well. The Greeks classical interpretation of art empathized on simplicity, order, and restrained emotion. This classical style of art made human figures have more of a relaxed pose with a broad attention to detail of the human anatomy. This classical style of interpreting human beings gave sculpture almost a sense of movement and life while being ever so naturalistic. The Greeks gave their sculptures what they believed to be perfect proportions of the human form. They actually made observations and made mathematical calculations to figure out what they perceived to be perfect human form. Although the real Spear Bearer no longer exists there are later copies and documents to prove what the sculpture looked like. Which kind of reminds me of how the media and out culture thinks and shows us (well makes us believe) that we as human beings should look. For women we should have a very skinny waist, big hips, big breasts, dress however the media tells us to. This is just not realistic. We should be/ look like whatever we want to and no one should judge us. As for men they should by the medias standards be tall dark and handsome and have six pack abs. Also dress like however the media wants them to. This is also not realistic. But the Greeks most of their media still survives which depicts “perfect” looking people. I wonder did they ever make art work out of people that did not look exactly like that. I hope that some of our media does not survive as long as theirs because to me it shows that we as a human beings haven’t really evolved out of that “you have to look perfect” mentality. We as a culture are like picking favorites, making any people that look a certain “perfect” way feel special. When we all should feel special and worth something.

On the other hand the Romans portrayed more of a realistic interpretation of the human figure. An example of this is the Head of an Old Man in chapter 15. The Romans sculptures gave their art work careful physical details and imperfections which give character to the people’s faces. They did this by careful observation and recording these physical details and imperfections. Thus showing more of a realistic portrayal of the human figure.

Written By: Gutter Chic of Gutter Chic Inc. 2010

Sources: Preble's Artfroms

Source type: Text Book

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