Friday, December 4, 2009

Why be an art historian?

Why study art history? Really, such a difficult question to answer. Of course, there's the social and historical importance of art, there's the economic role of the art market and its influence on artists and patrons, and then there's the expression of religious sentiment and values through visual arts media. All fascinating topics, to be sure.

But for me, the main reason to study art history was and continues to be a completely pure aesthetic motivation.

For aren't we all admirers of the exquisite male physique?

dont look back, originally uploaded by chascow.

IMG_9280 greek guys, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

Of course we are.

But as we learned from my last post, some people are sensitive about having their picture taken.

IMG_9274_mask, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

Great biceps. Sexy slouch.

IMG_9278 not hot, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

But as soon as he opens his mouth.... Not so appealing after all. All fantasy evaporates. Shame, really.

It is precisely for this reason that museums were invented. Because at museums, we can contemplate the sublime, in the form of the male figure, and even take photographs of naked men. No clothes on! Whoopee! Even better, these naked men don't talk back. In fact, they can't talk at all. Refreshing, isn't it?

So, yes. Naked men. You've got your old fashioned-y stone guys.

IMG_9184 kouros, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

Your more new-fangled-y bronze ones. Although the beard leaves me cold. A bit unkempt-looking. He needs a trimmer for Christmas.

IMG_9192 poseidon, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

You've got what appears to be an ancient cup holder? Or is it a TV stand? Hard to tell. Maybe that's why I only got a "pass" on my dissertation, eh?

IMG_9154 naked cup holder, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

And then there's that decorative plate that will have all your guests chatting at your next Christmas cocktail party. Notice how huge I had to make the sticker. Those Greeks! Always exaggerating.

IMG_9510 satyr plate, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

But my favorite thing, as it were, was halfway up the Acropolis, in a small sculpture garden. It's called a stele. I know. Boring, yeah?

IMG_9093 stele at parthenon, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

But when you check out the close-up, just below.... Talk about artistic economy of expression! The artist has deconstructed the male figure and reduced it to its single important feature, and voilà,

IMG_9092 stele detail, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

nothing more need be said.



Anonymous said...

Some of those statue gentlemen sure look like ladies with penile appendages!

I like men's lower halves in good jeans, however no one seems to want to sculpt those. Hmmm...

Suzy said...

Unless that guy that yelled at you has a computer and knows your blog name, I wouldn't worry about it.

Christine said...

Male genitalia always makes me laugh. The Artistic Economy of Expression make me fall out of my chair. My goodness, what was the artist thinking? I would really like to know. Do you ever wonder? Did the person get up in the morning and say: "Self, let me go and make a huge stone style and then carve a portrait of the family jewels on it. I am a genius. People will wonder about it for eternity. In this way, I will live on forever,"

Christine said...


Anonymous said...

Or film historian?