THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE HUMAN FIGURE IN GREEK ART FROM THE ARCHAIC THROUGH THE HELLENISTIC PERIODS

The archaic period in the Greek art saw the development of human figure where they established an ideal standard for the human form that has influenced artist for ages. The Archaic period of the Greek art emerged from the Dark Age as well as the last vestiges of the geometric period (Martin, (2013). The Greek artist embraced new methods of art leading to the recreation of more realistic human forms. Some of the originality points could be seen in the smile on the archaic statues that looked as if staring back at the viewer. The art grew in leaps and bounds transitioning from archaic to classical and later Hellenistic period. Before the archaic period, however, there existed the geometric period. Nonetheless, the archaic period marked the beginning of a more practical and naturalistic form of human. The essay, therefore, discusses the ancient Greek art from the Archaic to the classical and Hellenistic period regarding how the human figure was developed.

Archaic period

Martin, (2013) explains that, the archaic period happened around the sixth century B.C. and was the beginning of the shift to a more practical and naturalistic form of human body. An example of statuary in this epoch is the Korai. These statues were of Greek women clothed in a draped garment that was a characteristic of the ancient Greek regalia. Also, there were the Kouroi statues that were human forms of naked men. The archaic smile was a feature conspicuous on the sculptures that had human forms. The Korai and Kuoroi were sculpted in a position depicting motion and smile to make them look more human. The archaic era was characterized by decoration as a very figurative feature in the art. Not just human figures but also animals were included in the Greek art. Among the first signs of enduring their fascination with the human body were the ceramic paintings. This was a noble subject for a painter or sculpture, a practice that rekindled the high Renaissance painting. Some of the favorite themes included labors of Hercules. Moreover, the Kores (standing male youth sculpture) were more valued than the female ones.

Classical period

Woodford, (2015) discuss: the classical period is very important in the history of Greek art. During this era, the Greeks sought to achieve the highest levels of work. The explorations of perspective and forms were pressed in the art to higher limits beyond the other initial stages. Among the classical art period’s notable achievements were the perfection of human sculpture. A favorite motif was of the athlete lending credence to the masculine nature of the Greek people and their love for sports. The Greek artist not only sculptured by observing human body but also took a scientific study of the human body to enhance their art. This resulted in the golden ration that informed their art regarding proportions. The idealization of the human form or body could be seen in the Discus-Thrower, which is a famous classical sculpture of the early days. This was sculpted about 450 B.C by Thebes. During this period, painting and gilding become more ornate. According to Foxhall, & Salmon, (2013) More colors were used, and the gold coating was a trend. Shading too was practiced t enhance the artworks. Other examples of human forms included charioteer, a life-size statue made of bronze. Polyclitus and Phidias were the famous sculptors in this era. Phidias was famous for sculpting the gods.

Hellenistic period

Foxhall, & Salmon, (2013) posits that, after the classical period, came the Hellenistic period. This commenced with the demise of Alexander the great around 323B.C. The sculptures in this epoch expanded to a considerable level the exploration range of human forms. This involved realistic depiction of human through the use of stylized eroticism, social classes, raw emotions, and violence among other situations that depicted real life forms. Female forms were also depicted as well as proliferations of other portrait sculptures of the elite class of individuals. Among the sculptures of this era, the most famous one was Venus De Milo. This was a sculpture of a goddess Aphrodite that was characterized by expressions of sexual allure to a level not evident in the classical works. Art in this era had taken a quantum leap. The creativity was immense and depicted very impressive features. Another example was of a boxer sitting on a rock with his body and face realistically buttered. Of the sculptures are done in the Hellenistic period, Venus De Milo and the Aphrodite of Melos have remained the most famous sculptures carved from Marbles. The artists, however, are not known.

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