Human Representation In Art

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Chapter 3: Representing the Human Form Chapter 3 focuses on four cultures and how they each depict the human form differently throughout their artwork. Most of the art made by these people were made for religious and cultural means, and were placed in significant locations such as churches, or to serve as monuments. Studying and examining these pieces from ancient civilizations help answer many questions about the very people who used to paint or sculpt them. Art from Archaic and Classical Greece often portray the human body as the ideal image of physical beauty. Buddhist and Hindu Indian art takes a different approach by not bothering to illustrate the physical human body itself, but attempting to portray its invisible principles and properties such as its rasa and prana. (48) The Mayan civilization of Mesoamerica often used art as a way to record political and religious actions taken by the rulers. The engravings and figures of the Mayans are usually located on the sides of their buildings. Like the Mayans, much of the artwork that comes from Nigeria depicts its leaders and important political figures. Most of these were located in royal courts. (52) The primary focus in ancient Greek sculptures was the human body. Many of these statues were also nude. The Greeks were one of the first societies to focus on nude humans as the subjects for their work. They were attempting to portray man in what they believed was the image of their gods. This can be seen in contrast with the Mayan paintings, where the nude or less clothed figures were usually depicted as slaves, peasants or enemies. Another reason they sculpted nude men is because the Greeks played their sports without clothes on. The sculptors would use these muscular athletes as the models for their work to give them an accurate view of the body and how it moves. In the textbook’s sources, one can see the
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