Greek Sculpture And Developments Essay

1761 words - 7 pages

Greek sculpture and developmentsFrom the evidence we have, relics of Greek sculpture begin to appear around the middle of the 7th century, became an established institution by the beginning of the 6th century and continued until the beginning of the Hellenistic period in the 4th century when the form had been clearly established and artists began to imitate and copy the achievements of previous sculptors. (Cook 74) From the first appearance of Greek sculpture a clear trend towards exploring and depicting the anatomy of the ideal human body can be observed. This depiction of the perfect human form appears to be the primary orientation of Greek sculpture.Although the Greeks had been creating various statuettes, geometric designs, and pottery before the 7th century, these creations were merely decorative objects and there is rarely any evidence of stone sculpture. However, a distinctive change occurs in the middle of the seventh century as the first large-scale statues appear. The strongest evidence for the sudden emergence of this new activity points towards an Egyptian influence. In the middle of the 7th century, Egypt conquered Assyria and as a result the Greeks were allowed to set up a trading town in the Nile delta. This trading post allowed them to establish and maintain closer and more continuous contact with the Egyptians than before. (Boardman 72) Right around the same time that the trading town had been established, the Greeks begin to create stone sculptures. A look at the first life-size Greek sculpture of ayoung boy, known as a kouros, in comparison with an Egyptian sculpture around the same time demonstrates the profound influence that Egyptian art had on the Greek mind.From these images it is clear, as Boardman writes, that "the next phase of Greek sculpture owed much to the arts of Nile valley....with the well recorded new Greek awareness of Egypt, it is clear that the prime source of inspiration lay there." Between the first image of the Greek kouros and the Egyptian bakenreneb one can see how the Greeks mimic the pose and stance of the figure, with the arms locked by the side and the weight evenly distributed on both legs, the left foot set forward and the right foot back. These similarities point to the fact that the Greeks most likely borrowed the Egyptian's method of working as well. For centuries, the Egyptians had refined a technique for creating life-size figures by drawing outlines of the figure on three or for sides of a rectangular block of stone and then chiseling inwards until the sculpture had been completed. (Woodford 7) However, although the Greeks may have borrowed the method and elements of form from the Egyptians the orientation of the activity of sculpture in both cultures was fundamentally different.In the Egyptian case, sculpture serves a very specific religious function: "In Egypt, statues were often carved to serve a quasi-magical function, for instance to be available as alternative homes for the 'ka' (the...

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