Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ancient Greece (pt. 8)

After the Peloponnesian War, the Hellenistic Period, under Philip II and his son and successor, Alexander the Great (who was taught by Aristotle), switched to a new style.  The expression during the Hellenistic Period was emotion and drama.  Violent images make their way onto the art scene in order to stir emotion.  The beautiful example of this is the Dying Gaul.  It is a man from Gaul (France) who has been fatally wounded in battle.  Viewers see lots of pain and drama as the man tries to prop himself up and take his final breaths, perhaps contemplating his life and death.  Some call the style "emo" sculpture because it is intended to stir emotions in the viewer.  You are supposed to feel sorry for this man.
The other tragic Hellenistic figure par excellence is the Seated Boxer.  This is a mature, professional boxer resting after a brutal match.  He perspires with swollen ears, scratches, a broken nose, battered cheeks, and a joyless expression.  It is assumed that, if this pitiful figure has not already been beaten, he will lose the fight.  The viewer sympathizes.

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