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Analyzing the History of the Human Form through Art - Research Paper Example

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Name Here Professor Name March 14, 2012 Analyzing the History of the Human Form through Art From the Japanese conventions of binding feet as small as possible to the more current trends of a woman with the measurements of 36’’ by 24’’ by 36’’ as a beauty standard, the human figure has been under constant analysis and evolution…
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Analyzing the History of the Human Form through Art
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Download file to see previous pages Through this analysis, this purpose of this paper will show how the focus of the human figure shifted from a reproductive sense in the prehistoric era to a stronger character representation in the Byzantine era. In order to work through this process, each era will be designated with two works of art in each section. Prehistoric Art: Conceptualism and Realism Ranging from 75,000 BP to 1500 BP, prehistoric art includes multiple eras and methods. Essentially, prehistoric art is defined as art that was completed by a culture that did not have a spoken language. Without the ability to speak or write to document their legends, history and particular aspects of their culture, ancient civilizations turned to art as a way to capture their legacy (Art History Guide, n.d.). For example, the following picture of the “Venus” of Willendorf demonstrates how prehistoric art conceptualized the ultimate role of women as the vehicles for reproduction of the human race. With the exaggerated breasts and genitals, this representation of the human form in prehistoric art shows that the concepts of ancient civilizations regarding the human form centered around the notion of procreation. While this explanation demonstrates the idea behind conceptualism, the reality of prehistoric art in regard to the human form will be explored when looking at art that represents the realism that was portrayed in prehistoric times. Although topics of reproduction often resulted in embellished pieces to demonstrate fertility, art that portrayed a civilizations way of life often fell into the realism category. For example, the Lascaux Cave Paintings demonstrate how the human form was put into scale in comparison to animals that were hunted to provide food for the civilization. With the more lifelike replicas of human beings, it is clear that when being perceived as hunters, artists of the prehistoric era wanted to demonstrate these people as they were as they faced the beasts of the day in order to secure food for themselves and their families. For art of this nature, the realism of what was taking place trumped any possible conceptual ideas, as is the opposite when concerning human reproduction. Aegean Art: Abstraction According to Ogborn in 2003’s Prehistoric Art, this section is comprised of the cultures of Greece, the Cyclades Islands and Crete. Aegean art is heavily influenced by an abstract feel in the sense that nearly all of the pottery, statues and paintings completed during this era portrayed in the human form in a non-obvious manner. In order to demonstrate the abstract nature of this artwork, this section will analyze both a male and female form in art to discuss how humans were represented in art during the Aegean period. Beginning with the statue of the Snake Goddess of the Palace at Knossos in Crete, this ancient art work shows a mystical woman in such a way that she is nearly unrecognizable as a person, aside from the clear inclusion of breasts to her figure. The key characteristics to highlight about this statue include the fact that this woman has no legs, no obvious reproductive organs as is common with prehistoric renditions of females and no hands. While her status as a snake goddess seems to explain the fact of her having ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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