I’m trying to study for my History course and I need some help to understand this question.
How is Protagoras’s statement Man is the measure of all things embodied in Classical Greek sculpture? Why did Greek sculptors take such an intense interest in the heroic male nude figure?
Choose a nude Greek sculpture from the Archaic or Classical era and contrast it with a sculpture from another ancient culture of your choice. The second work does not have to be nude and address how the differences in these works reflect differences in their cultures. Be sure to address context, style and subject matter. Please attach a jpg image for any work not illustrated in our module text. You may want to do outside research for this topic. Be sure to cite your sources and avoid plagiarism.
Here is one example
1.I wanted to compare two sculptures from around the same time period and in a similar style to better highlight the cultural differences. Hermes and the Infant Dionysus is dated to the 4th century BC and the Chinese Terracotta Army to the 3rd century BC. They both feature fairly naturalistic styles and proportions.
During the Greek Late Classical period the focus had shifted from athleticism to sensuality, as exemplified in the soft S-curve of Hermes and the narrative-centric subject matter, with the figure taller and more slender than the old Polykleitan canon. The material of marble lends itself to the smooth elegance characteristic of Classical Greek sculptures.
In ancient China, it was common for rulers to be guarded in death by a few statues but Shi Huangdi, first emperor of a unified China, wanted an entire army with real weapons. According to historian Sima Qian (146-86 BC), the emperor even wanted crossbows with triggering mechanisms. The warriors are within the range of life size, the higher ranking ones have less modest proportions, but the facial features are stylized with simplified forms. Their purpose being to protect, the soldiers stand rigid similar to a kouros with their arms and hands in varying positions, and I don’t think they were meant to be beautiful like the Classical Greek sculptures (although some speculate that the Terracotta Soldiers were influenced by Greek art). The clay material gives a sense of earthy resilience.
Based on these two examples, you can see a contrast of priorities between the cultures. The Greeks were occupied with beauty, idealism, and mythology, while (in this case) the Chinese had more of a practicality to their art as the soldiers were created for strength and protection.
Cartwright, Mark. “Terracotta Army.” ancient.eu, 6 Nov 2017, www.ancient.eu/Terracotta_Army.
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