Is There Any Such Thing as Classical Beauty?

Work thumb

Views: 133

  • Title: Is There Any Such Thing as Classical Beauty?: Greek Aesthetics as a Political Mechanism
  • Author(s): Nava Sevilla Sadeh
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: The Arts in Society
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Arts Theory and History
  • Keywords: Classical Sculpture, Kalokagathia, Greek City-State, Greek Philosophy
  • Volume: 14
  • Issue: 1
  • Year: 2019
  • ISSN: 2326-9952 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2327-1779 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2326-9952/CGP/v14i01/27-45
  • Citation: Sevilla Sadeh, Nava. 2019. "Is There Any Such Thing as Classical Beauty?: Greek Aesthetics as a Political Mechanism." The International Journal of Arts Theory and History 14 (1): 27-45. doi:10.18848/2326-9952/CGP/v14i01/27-45.
  • Extent: 19 pages

Abstract

“Classical beauty” is a term commonly used to characterize a type of elegance and noble appearance that is not subject to trends. In contemporary art “beauty” can sound almost like a dirty word, and prominent theoreticians of art history have categorically declared that contemporary art does not engage with beauty. However, beauty and the definition of this term were nonetheless a frequent theme in classical philosophy and the focus of interest of ancient thinkers. As it appears from the ancient sources, beauty is a very loaded concept and consists of many aspects. The questions that therefore arise are: What is the essence of classical beauty? Is it really a visual ideal to which to aspire? Is such beauty indeed attainable? This study engages with these questions, asserting that “classical beauty” as manifested in Greek sculpture from the Classical period is not, in fact, a visual and physical model to which to aspire but, rather, a visual disguise for concepts rooted in the ancient Greek worldview that functioned for the benefit of the political mechanism.