Culture Through The Lens Of Art - New York University Cultural Foundations II - Essay

1078 words - 5 pages

Joey Kashanian
Cultural Foundations II
Professor Stephanie Kiceluk
Paper #3
Cultural Belief Through the Lense of Art
Art has served as an outlet for the expression of cultural values and human ideologies
throughout human history. From the primitive cave paintings of the Paleolithic era to more
contemporary forms of music and cinematography, humanity has used art to convey dogmas of
the times. An artist’s focus lies in the eyes of his observer, aiming to engage the audience
through the provocation of emotional sentiment and inquisitive wonder. However, cultural
stigma will often times influence artists of a given generation, providing them with a viewpoint
and personal opinion on human concepts that they may wish to expound through the virtue of
their own works. As cultural principles tend to vary across the nations that humanity has
established, such is reflected in the art of these distinct cultures. The cultures that have formed in
the societies of Greece and South Asia differ greatly, resulting in the existence of differing forms
of art and representation.
Ancient Greek society was centered around the ideology of human perfection. While the
culture did consist of godly figures, many of the faces in infamous pieces of Greek art are
nameless, merely serving as a physical representation of human capacity and power. The ancient
Greeks coined ideas such as the “Adonis ratio”, providing a physical example for what would be
considered the perfect human aesthetic through the comparison of a man’s waist-to-shoulder
measurements. Such ideas are reflected in pieces that are a part of the Metropolitan Museum of
Art’s Greece collection. In browsing the collection, one may stumble upon an artistic work
known as “Bronze Diskos Thrower”, a piece of art sculpted between the years of 480-460 B.C.
The piece was created during the Classical period of ancient Greece and depicts a young, nude
athlete about to swing a diskos forward and over his head with his left hand before releasing it
with the force of his accumulated momentum. The statue is almost entirely intact, despite the left
foot and the entire right arm. The bronze medium creates an empowering aura surrounding the
athlete while the beauty of the statue lies in its calm and concentrated appearance, formed as part
of a perfectly developed and disciplined male body. The idealized, young athletic body is
indicative of Classical style work. However, there are many features of the statue that exhibit
features from archaic style work, such as the bowl-shaped ears and large separation between the
eyes. The unknown artist sculpts the athlete’s torse such that it is open, drawing the attention of
the audience towards the strength that is visualized by such a powerful stature. The man is
muscular in build, and there are clearly sculpted details around the chest, shoulders, and
abdomen regions of the body. The bronze that serves as the medium for the piece has oxidized
and dulled, though there are a few sm...

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