Defining Beauty: The Body in Ancient Greek Art

Defining Beauty: The body in ancient Greek art

First of all I would like to offer one of my usual apologies for the lack of posts in the last few months. My day job has to come first and there haven’t been enough days in the week to concentrate on this project.

This doesn’t mean that I haven’t been thinking about the path of this project. I have and to that end I paid a visit to the British Museum Defining beauty: The Body in Ancient Greek Art exhibition that is on show until 5 July.

Walking round the exhibition it did strike me that I don’t think much has changed since these works were born. On my tube journey to the British Museum I saw a poster advertising a product that had a prominent image of a near naked young woman. The athletic body shape in this poster was identical to the body shapes in some of the pieces in this exhibition.

I am certain that the image on the advertising poster had some form of post production manipulation to it and I wonder how true to life these ancient Greek art pieces are to the models they are based on. How much has the artist added or subtracted to create what we now see?

The title of the exhibition is also an interesting choice of words. “Defining Beauty”. What is beauty in a person? Is it their physical shape? Is it their emotional connection to the rest of the world? Or is it, as some people would argue, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.