July 17, 2011
The Art of Classical Societies
The art of classical societies includes music, architecture, sculpture, literature, and paintings. In chapters three and four of Arts and Culture: An Introduction to the Humanities (3rd edition), Janetta R. Benton and Robert DiYanni describe the different varieties of arts that evolved within the Classical Greece, Hellenistic Greece, Etruscan Civilization, Roman Republic, and Roman Empire. Each diverse piece of art influenced the culture of that civilization and vice versa. Within the Classical Greece culture, Praxiteles’ created the sculpture Aphrodite of Knidos, which uses the ideas of contrapposto which were first seen in the works of Polykletios. The sculpture of Praxiteles’ is the first large-scale sculpture of a nude female, which started female nudism to become a major subject in Classical and Hellenistic culture. Aphrodite of Knidos is one of Praxiteles’ most famous and admired works. This piece of art is praised highly by critics that it is said Praxiteles brought soul to marble (of which Aphrodite of Knidos is created from). Aphrodite of Knidos represented Aphrodite, the Goddess of love. The sculpture is considered a perfect resemblance of Aphrodite, so much so that she had to see it herself and asked, “When did Praxiteles see me naked?” Aphrodite of Knidos expresses the feeling of serenity and calm, as though the Goddess is preparing to bathe and illustrates modesty as Aphrodite covers herself with her right hand. Aphrodite’s head, in the sculpture, is facing to the left as though she had been disturbed, which in turn creates the relationship with the viewers. Within the Hellenistic Greece culture, between 200 and 190 BCE, the Nike of Samothrace (the mastery over the rigid materials and deep understanding of the world as expressed through aesthetic conventions and techniques) sculpture is created (with stone). This sculpture...