Classical sculpture held a prestigious status within the classical and Hellenistic era. The human body was indicative of both physical and mental attributes hence emphasising upon the identity of individuals. 1“The beautiful and the good” was a Greek saying which highlighted the intricate link between an individuals moral compass and their aesthetics.
Furthermore, classical sculptures foresaw a gradual progression in their physical appearances from rigid to more realistic, suggestive of a step towards closer digression into the actual attitudes of the human body. !
Firstly, it is imperative to understand the ideals of classical sculpture. The main ideals consisted of a beautiful human body reflective of both goodness, purity and obtaining divine support, however ugliness depicted uselessness as seen in the character of
Thersites in the Iliad. The classical sculpture began with a more unrealistic approach, exaggerated and very stiff features. However, gradually, during the “rebirth” of classical sculptures, sculptors took a gradual turn to becoming more simplistic and towards the true human form suggesting closer links with the actual human body and thus suggestive of an indirect correlation with the context of time. As the context depicted instability, the sculptures began to show more emotion and therefore the sculptures can be seen in revealing the true mental attitudes of the human body at the time. The 4th century Greece can be described as unsettled in terms of the Pelopenesian war which Pollitt says has
“2shattered this state of mind, and a feeling of disillusionment and withdrawal followed, line with this new state of mind, art in the succeeding centuries tended increasingly to reflect the experiences and values of man as an individual rather than man as a participant in the community.” Therefore, classical sculptures reflect the changing human emotions during the time and also visually allude to them through the form of the changing sculptures. The way in which classical sculptures improved was through the various materials being changed in their construction. In order to allow sculptors to create more realistic representation of the human body, ‘lost wax’ was used. Lost wax was a method which made it much easier to build sculptures according to their approximate size and thus created much more realists metopes. By creating these much more relatable sculptures for the public such as Charioteer of Delphi, the purpose of them became emphasised and
J. The world of the individual. Art and experience in classical Greece. (1972). Pg
also the beauty, was more evident, therefore reiterating the point made above about the aesthetic appealing of a body, casting itself with divinity and moral goodness hence redefining beauty with a realism light shed onto the idea and thus the reinstated attitudes of the ideal human body. !
Another way in which classical sculpture may be said to highlight the attitudes of the human body is through the changes in what was actually made by sculptors. Sculptures took drastic turns in what they stood for, several various elements of human attitudes were discussed by the sculptures such as politics, acceptance of radical felinity and a revival in individualism. Through the sculpture of Harmodius and Aristogeiton, the influences of politics upon classical sculptures help reveal other attitudes. Both Harmdoius and
Aristogeiton were Athenian heroes whom instigated the birth of the Athenian democracy.
Although the original classical statues do not survive, the fact that the sculptures were copied during the Hellenistic period swell as the by the Romans, implies that attitudes of the contemporaries were not only directed on porting beauty and divinity. Furthermore,
Greek structures also reflected the essence of politics. For example, the Parthenon temple have a sequel of