Sculptors and Physicians in Fifth-Century Greece

Sculptors and Physicians in Fifth-Century Greece: A Preliminary Study

Copyright Date: 1995
Pages: 184
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    Sculptors and Physicians in Fifth-Century Greece
    Book Description:

    Exploring this interplay, Guy Métraux shows how the depiction of physiological processes gave statues and reliefs their animating force and how many medical and philosophical speculations about the body were derived from depictions in art. He examines works such as the Omphalos Apollo, the relief of the Girl with Doves from Paros, and the recently discovered two bronze warriors from Riace, paying particular attention to developments in the depiction of breathing, blood vessels, and facial expression, to attempts to show actual or potential motion, and to the invention of contrapposto (asymmetry of stance).

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6500-5
    Subjects: Health Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. Figures
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. Preface
    (pp. vii-xiv)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. Illustrations
    (pp. xvii-2)
  7. CHAPTER ONE Greek Art‚ Medicine‚ and Natural Philosophy
    (pp. 3-16)

    Visiting artists’ workshops put Socrates in a good mood for conversation. When he met the painter Parrhasios in his studio‚ they talked about how the soul’s character and effects could be shown in pictures. The account continues with Socrates’ skilful prompting of the sculptor Kleiton to tell us how‚ in his figures of athletes‚ he was able to represent the soul’s activities by external physical features. Socrates’ tone was bantering but sweet‚ and he was much more encouraging with the artists than he was with other people‚ probably because he wished to show that he too could represent the soul’s...

  8. CHAPTER TWO Statues and Texts
    (pp. 17-31)

    The objection may be legitimately raised that‚ because ideas in the high culture and notions in the popular culture are volatile‚ it is improper to apply any anatomical or physiological concept to any work of art before the concept appears in writings to which dates can be assigned‚ in most cases not much before about 400 B.C. In other words‚ concepts whose first appearance in written form is later cannot be used to interpret earlier works of art. The objection is by no means merely hypothetical and must be answered.

    In order to do so‚ I present three areas of...

  9. CHAPTER THREE Early Classical Statues
    (pp. 32-68)

    Because early classical statues are few in number and even copies of them relatively meagre‚ it may seem unusual in this discussion to include the statue called the Omphalos Apollo (plates 1-2)‚ particularly since it is used in association with a widely different and original work in relief‚ the funerary stele of a girl from Paros (plate 3). The Omphalos Apollo is a marble copy of a bronze original of about 480 B.C. Therefore‚ because it is the kind of copy in which the position of the arms‚ at the very least‚ could have been different from the original‚ why...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR Motion and Expression
    (pp. 69-90)

    By 450 B.C. the medical profession and the sculptors’ craft had been absorbed in matters of physiology for a least a generation. For sculptors‚ the reasons for this absorption lay in the discoveries about bodily design and their application to statues. These discoveries paralleled‚ in medicine‚ the physicians’ revision of Pneumatic ideas in the light of Empedocles’ vitalism and their new interest in veins and respiration‚ the interpretation of which had become crucial to questions concerning the soul and its effects. The idea that a still body‚ at rest or in potential motion‚ could at the same time literally be...

  11. CHAPTER FIVE Conclusion
    (pp. 91-100)

    The conclusion to a preliminary study can be short because its contents may be of a tentative nature; it is also necessary to suggest lines and areas of further study. Both are presented here very briefly.

    Sculptors in the generation after the Persian Wars and in the high classical period were creating works responsive to current intellectual and cultural notions about the body. These notions were themselves based on a combination of tradition and innovation in the ideology of health - of what it means to be in a state ofhygieia- during the fifth century‚ among the cultural...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 101-124)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 125-140)
  14. Index Locorum
    (pp. 141-144)
  15. Index
    (pp. 145-154)