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Title: The human body in sculpture : from glorified idealism, stark realism to pathological nihilism
Authors: Vella, Mary Grace
Keywords: Human figure in art
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: University of Malta. Junior College
Citation: Vella, M. G. (2022). The human body in sculpture : from glorified idealism, stark realism to pathological nihilism. Symposia Melitensia, 18, 5-16.
Abstract: From the glorified idealism of Classical Antiquity and the perfect proportions of the Renaissance, to the stark realism and bio-morphic surrealism of the Modern period, and the blood-stained nihilism of contemporary body-pain art, the human figure has been the subject and inspiration of art works from time immemorial. The human figure offers a common vehicle for the expression of aesthetic judgement alluding to how humans are, and should be, both inwardly and outwardly. Apart from its depiction of physical attributes, the human body provides a vehicle for deliberation on the human condition and the existential nature of reality. This paper explores the representation of the human figure throughout the history of sculpture by tracing its metamorphosis and transmutation from its former glorified idealism to its contemporary distortion and disfiguration. This historical analysis questions conventional conceptions of beauty which to a large extent still pervade aesthetic taste and judgement through idealised representations of the human body and romanticised views of the human condition. This idealisation, envisioning aesthetics as to what is pleasing to the senses hinders us from the full acknowledgement and realisation of the fragility of our bodies and the precarious conditions of reality; the bleak reality that after all; “we are born and we die, and that’s it... we are potential carcasses” (Bacon, 1966).
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - FacSoWCri
SymMel, 2022, Volume 18
SymMel, 2022, Volume 18

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