Article Review; “What is 'Classical' Sculpture” by Walter R. Agard Jakob Mattern
HUM 2220, prof. Warner Ph.D.
Word Count: 1102
The word 'classic'; used to describe styles of music, painting, sculpture, architecture, and even manufactured consumer goods. If ever there was a period in art or manufacturing that stands out with even balance, subtle dignity, and general excellence, it will most likely be described as classical, which after all, is no easy feat, considering that anything to bear the “classical” name is decidedly, in some way or another, “The best of the best.” According to Walter R. Agard however, the word has lost some of it's gusto. He states that it is so overused that it no longer describes whether or not something is in-fact excellent, but rather, if a piece fits into a time frame and location that suggests that it most likely is. Just as all cars produced between 1900 and 1972 in America are not necessarily classics, not every piece of art created in the broad history of Greeks should be considered a true classic. Rather, Agard places forth his guidelines and examples of what should classify ancient Greek art, sculpture in particular, as the best of it's time.
The details of Agard's argument rest upon the structured guidelines he lays out in the beginning of his article; that to be classical, a Greek sculpture must have: The initial concept of a healthy human form.
The synthesis of naturalism and clearly defined, relatively simple design. The amplification of essential planes.
Refinement of detail.
He also suggests that classical style sculpture took prominence between the years 500 BCE and 420 BCE, thus dismissing some of the earlier geometric style sculpture, as well as the later more expressionistic and complicated Hellenistic sculpture. He states that while some later sculptures may be more magnificent to behold, they are not embodying that which makes something a...
Bibliography: Agard, Walter R. “What Is “Classical” Sculpture?” The Classic Journal, Vol. 49, No. 8 (May, 1954): pp. 341-349. Print.
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