Humanism vs. Realism with Focus of Human Figure Artwork
Middle Eastern, Egyptian and Greek Civilizations
Throughout history the human figure has been demonstrated in Middle Eastern, Egyptian and Greek sculptures and paintings. Most of these artifacts tend to focus more on humanism than realism due to Rulers and Gods, geographical areas, resources and events thus, giving them the idea for the theme of the art they create. These are the reasons that might explain their commonalities or differences in the representation of the human figure.
For example, during one of our earliest cultures, the Paleolithic period, the Women of Willendorf sculpture portrays a grossly heavy female figure representing fertility and beauty of being heavy. This was at a time when food was not plenty and therefore perhaps they thought this sculpture would somehow magically bless them. (Benton & DiYanni , p.6) In comparison, during the Cycladic period the sculpture, Statuette of a Woman also symbolizes fertility, however she is flat and skinny. Since the facial features seem to be lacking on both, these artifacts are considered humanism in art form.
During the Akkad Civilization, there was much turmoil due to the invasion of the Nomads, thus because of their geographical area and abundance of resources they were able to build larger sculptures and created the one sided stone slab the Victory Stele of Naram-Sin . This sculpture
symbolized the gods at the top, the soldiers underneath and the slain at the bottom (Benton & DiYanni , p.11) Although the sculpture may be true to an event, the representation of the human figure has no facial identity and it portrays almost everyone looking alike, therefore representing humanism as the art form. In comparison, to the Victory Stele of Narim-Sin this stone carved slab is much like the the Palette of the Egyptian pharaoh Narmer slate due to again an war event that may have happened symbolizing an event...
Cited: Benton J, & DiYanni R., Arts and Culture, Intro to Humanities, (Vol.1, 4th Edition)
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