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AR104 Lecture Notes - Rationality

Archaeology and Heritage Studies
Course Code
Nirmal Dass

of 2
CL101 – November 06, 2012
Greek Art and Architecture
How to look at Greek art, and how to see and what the art is trying to accomplish
already know concept of humanism
look at new concept of rationality and concept of ideas
look at all 3 and Greek art and architecture makes sense
look at patterns
often greek art comes down to us in fragments, but if we have an understanding of it, we can
appreciate it
keep this in mind always: art is not entertainment to ancient greeks
Humanism can be expressed as a saying - Protagoras: man is the measure of all things
saying summarizes humanism
places humanity as the centre of everything
always explains reality through the human being
the world is senseless, useless without human beings
because human = centre, it also stresses human individuality and freedom too (but in the
context of the community)
freedom is intimately connected with responsibility because our actions always connect
with other human beings around us
Rationality = Reason (the use of reason/reasoning)
reason is about cause and effect (concerns science because they do experiments to find the
cause and effects of things, ie. Cures; same kind of rational thinking involved)
we're looking at 480-400BC
Greek temples are never so vast – they are on a human scale because it is for humans – yes
there may be a statue of a god, but it is ultimately a housing for humans
idealism in a simple way represents perfection (idealism = perfection)
to portray art as an ideal (ie. Statues)
=essence of all things (idealism = perfection = essence) supposed to be expressed in the
art form
art thus involves humans because they are the centre of all things
the body can be made perfect
we are guilty of the exercise culture, the gymnasium is invented (very Greek concept
concerning the body)
the ideal is what we're seeking when we exercise
that is what art is portraying – he (artist) doesnt construct what he sees, he constructs the
looks at the way in a particular way which suggests that the world is not to be encountered
or perceived, but must be interpreted to its ideal
representation must be in its ideal
Myron created a statue of the goddess Aphrodite (ideal feminine beauty) based off a
prostitute of Athens, they bought her in to compare bodies and the statue was deemed more
beautiful (ideal) ; the finish product is in Myron's mind
thus when humans look at reality, it becomes perfected
this notion will revolutionize thinking for a long time (habit of mind)
“we can become perfect, when we gaze upon beautiful things” plato?
concept of beauty (idealism = perfection = essence = beauty)
perpetual desire/quest to gain beauty
beauty never dies, beauty is eternal (idea of eternity)
(idealism = perfection = essence = beauty) = eternity
humans can project themselves as ideal to survive
idea evolves into the idea of the soul
soul = perfect version of ourselves
eternal version of ourselves = the soul
gods and goddesses were seen through human lenses (god = man, goddess = women)
perfected art = diff. parts of humans that are “perfect” - perfection of humanity itself, not of
the human
the greeks of this period are trying to establishment a community/society in which humanity
or human beings can live in such a way that they can always endeavour to this perfection
all social institutions, politics must always encourage it
best politician = who best understands this and strives to implement it
in a society like this, we find a lack of cash?
If we dont have this kind of society, human beings = robots, lack of freedom, etc.