1. Thread: war, art, progress, aesthetics. Between 580BCE and 460BCE Greek sculpture evolved from Kouros, to Kritios Boy, to Riace Warriors and Doryphoros. This period coincided with unprecedented threats to Greek culture. Why did it precipitate an artistic golden age? WAR. ImageImageImage
2. The journey is from archaic simplicity to warlike vitality.
Starting point is the statues of youths like this Attic kouros ("youth") from 580BCE with his rigid, left foot forward stance (an Egyptian convention). This period lasted from the days of Homer to Pericles, 9th-5thC ImageImageImage
3. When Darius invades Greece, the human form in Greek sculpture takes a leap. Kritios Boy 480BCE: musculature more defined, hip heights show advanced skeletal realism. Carries weight like a real person, one hip higher on weight-bearing leg, the earliest example of Contrapposto. ImageImage
4. Now jump 20 yrs - Once Greek sculptors figured out accurate human proportions, they quickly made the leap to ideals. Statues began to take the form of idealized athletes, warriors, and gods. Muscularity and definition increase alongside realism (Raice Warriors, 460BCE). ImageImage
5. In this short period 492-480BCE three things are happening in Greece: existential threat to the Greek city states from Persian invasion -Darius 492, Xerxes 480 resulting in bttls Marathon, Thermopylae, Plataea, Salamis, mil coordination between cities, & aesthetics golden age ImageImageImage
6. “There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen.” How, during a time of near total war for the Greek city states did they unlock & define ideal aesthetic proportions, muscularity, and form? Discobolus (disc thrower) Doryphoros (spearbearer) ImageImage
7. 22yr period of total war: Athens had her entire economy building a massive navy (she was then sacked in 480BCE, her navy saving the Greek world at Salamis), Sparta had whole population mobilized, Thebes submitted, all events should not have allowed for artistic development. ImageImageImage
8. In the face of annihilation, sculpture took on a realistic, rugged vitalism. Gods and heroes were built during this time in the Greek city states. Some of bronze, some of marble, but many more of flesh. Pericles, Themistocles, Leonidas (respective busts) ImageImageImage
9. Early 5thC war-culture-aesthetics spike is not rational product of times. Greek men ascended to the level of godhood, they battled insurmountable odds and won unprecedented victories more unlikely than the farthest fetched Greek myths. Art imitated life. Days of great heroes. ImageImage
10. Nerd historians call this the end of "Archaic" Greece (8thC-480BCE) and start of Classical. Sculpture muscularity and form perfection increases. Great existential threat + heroic figures of flesh = mastery of aesthetic representation. All lead to Alexander conquer world. Fin ImageImageImage

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