Kouroi Technique.pdf

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Art History
Roger Mc Cleary

Kouroi Technique 2012-09-25 7:58 PM READING ANNOTATIONS - “Greeks and Egyptians: Style and Technique” • Greeks were inspired by the Egyptians to carve larg e-scale statues • Egyptians also inspired their technique • The Egyptians would draw an outline of the figure on three or four faces of a stone block, then chip away accordingly. Drawings had to be made up of fixed proportions • The Greeks adopted the Egyptian s ystem of proportions  that is why early Greek statues look so much like Egyptian ones • Similarities in pose and technique • The Egyptian one was more naturalistic and Greek was more abstract • Greeks believed a statue should not only look like a man but also b e a beautiful object (perfect body) • They used 3 elements: symmetry, exact repetition of shapes, and use of some shapes on different scales o Greek artist invented his own horizontal axis to keep symmetry: imagined a horizontal axis running across the body at the navel, then produced a symmetrical design on either side – 2 V’s of the lower abs and Ws at the pecs and collarbone (Kouros, pg. 8) o Repeated shapes (knobby hair, line of brows follow lid lines) o Different scales of same shapes: smaller Vs at elbows and smaller Ws at knees (pg.8) • The Greek sculptor sacrifices smooth realness for more aesthetically satisfying work because Greeks were always concerned with balance between beautiful designs and naturalism (although it was sometimes more abstract than real) • Kouros – plural kouroi: meaning ‘young man’; a nude male statue facing front with weight evenly distributed on both legs; made in the archaic period from about 650 -470BC READING ANNOTATIONS - “The Perils of Progress: Archaic Kouroi 650 -490BC” • A kouri served 3 functions: representation of a god, beautiful object offered as dedication to a god, or a memorial of a man sometimes placed on his tomb • In Egypt, statues served functions that didn’t allow for aesthetic change, but the Greek functions did  Egyptian statues tended to look the same for many centuries, while Greek ones evolved • “Progress” seemed daring, undesirable and dangerous in antiquity because repetition ensured successful outcome • There were technical limitations (such as the marble had to be cut in the same way) but the Greeks made changes to achieve a more naturalistic kouros • Kouros from Anavyssos, c.530BC, National Archaeological Museum, Athens. o Grave marker o Natural in appearance o Rounded treatment to the lines o Hair is not very different from ear lier kourois, which is an example of a problem that arises o Beaddy hair looked appropriate on the early kourois because it fitted the entire abtract style of that statue, but on the later kourois, the natural forms of the body clash with the artificial, sti ff, and beady hair • Kourois (Aristodikos), c. 500BC o Problem with the hair is solved by a new fashion (braids wound round the head) o The post is still unnatural because it’s copied from the Egyptians o When the figure becomes aesthetically natural, we begin tquestion the post • When we look at the 3 kouroi, we see change, emergence of problems, solution, and emergence of another– this is a cycle that is fundamental for Greek art • Failures are as VIP to notice as success • Each problem led to a solution of higher l ever of complexity until the Greeks produced solutions that left an impression on all later western art, and eventually all of the world READING ANNOTATIONS – “Greek Temples and Their Décor: 4 Popular Plans” • We think that temples are the most characteris tic of Greek buildings, but actually no more than an open -air altar was required to worship their gods • It was when Greeks started constructing statues of their gods that they needed a shelter to protect them  thus the beginning of temples • Religious ceremonies usually took place outside the altar and few went inside • Temples were simple with a single room entered through a porch; wood or stone • The room
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