Greek Sculpture: Its Spirit and Its Principles (Temporis Collection)

Greek Sculpture: Its Spirit and Its Principles (Temporis Collection)

Edmund von Mach

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 2:00180439

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


“The spirit of Greek sculpture is synonymous with the spirit of sculpture. It is simple, and therefore defies definitions. We may feel it, but we can not express it. (…) “Open your eyes, study the statues, look, think and look again” is the precept to all who learn to know Greek sculpture.”

Greek Sculpture is probably the most well known aspect of Greek art, for a contemporary it expresses the most beautiful ideal and plastic perfection. It is the first of the Ancient Arts that looked to free itself from the imitative constraints, of the faithful representation of nature. Only a small part of the production of Greek Sculpture is known to us. Many of the masterpieces described by Antique literature are henceforth lost or badly damaged, and a large part, we know are copies, more or less skillful and faithful to the Roman era. Many have been restored by Western Sculptors, from the Renaissance to nowadays, and often in a meaning very different from the original work: a discobolous is thus turned into a dying gladiator, this god received the attributes of another, the legs of this statue are transplanted to the torso of this other one.

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extended fresco in the great palace of King Minos in Crete (pp. 58-59), exhibit daring composition and fine, delicate lines. The minor arts, however, notably the goldsmith’s, flourished (p. 60). Hundreds of magnificent works of this kind remain. Taken together with the many thousands of small, ornamented trinkets from the opened graves (p. 61), they give a good idea of these early artists’ aims and achievements. The artists did not work for show, as is often the case with unrefined people

names have been found inscribed on stone in several locations. The wide range of territory covered by these places gives an excellent idea of the extensive intercourse and ready exchange of artistic ideals in earliest Greece. Literary tradition points in the same direction. The Athenian Daidalos founded – so the story goes – a school of sculpture in Crete. His pupils worked in Crete, Rhodes, Ambracia, and in the Peloponnesos; others again in Athens, Ephesos, Arcadia, Samos, and Lemnos; and

simply put together. This process of putting together is entirely unconscious, causing us little concern unless we are compelled to reproduce it on paper or in stone, and are forced to compare it with the actual objects about us. Professor Löwy3 cites a remarkable instance of a perverse mental image on the part of the crude Brazilian draughtsmen who were much impressed by the mustaches of the Europeans and represented them as growing on the foreheads instead of on the upper lips. In the mental

walking both muscles would eventually be put in use – the left in the step actually represented, the right in the step to be imagined. To help in imagining this step, which could not actually be shown, the right leg’s muscle was prominently introduced before its proper time for action. Which of these ideas animated the artists’ minds is impossible to determine. Whatever they thought, it seems that the attempt to show a walking figure rather than a standing one accounts for the peculiar

lowered – material permitting – as with a jointed doll, he cannot carve a figure that will live. Only when he advances to understanding the human body as a complete, closely knit, integral unit, and represents it as such, will he begin to lay hold of life itself. Raise your arm slowly, and the reflex action upon the rest of the body is unnoticeably slight; deal a vigourous blow, and at once the strength of the gesture can be told by the changes that accompany it in other parts of the body. The

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