Development of Depicting Human through Art

The study of the human figure in art, well known as aesthetics, appreciates the shapes and postures taken by people through paintings and sculptures. Artists in the world’s history have made sculptures and drawings of human form since the Paleolithic era to today. The depiction of man through art has developed with prowess in sculpting and understanding of human form.  

Paleolithic art is referring to the creations when man became reasonably human. This is roughly forty-thousand years ago.   These artifacts made during the prehistoric times are drawings and sculptures made of rocks. These artifacts that tell stories on human civilization have been found in various part of the world having existed in the ancient Greek, ancient Near East, and as the Aegean and Greek culture. When the mind was eventually capable, humans took to figurative art, which saw man realize his autonomy. Artists used the nature of caves and walls to give their sculptures a three-dimensional view. Most if these artifacts are rock painting, jewels, drawings, carvings, engravings and sculptures. Animals that were a common subject matter and the art went ahead to express the human form- especially the shapes of females. 


In the ancient Near-east, art portrayed humans as realistic as possible but avoided depiction of individuals. Artists used styles to emphasize other features which may at times show the dominant characteristics of the individual, which is the closest to depiction of an individual person. Over a course of several millennia, the Egyptians and Mesopotamians preserved their special way of representing man in their drawings. The artists in Ancient Egypt, in their paintings, drew man with one full eye from the side of the head, chest and shoulders facing forward, as the feet remain in the profile view. To ensure the proportion of the body parts was accurate, the Egyptians artists used mathematical calculations. There were set proportions that made work easier. This proportions kept on changing over time but the general law of following grids continued. Mesopotamian art opted to show human from the front view. In Sumerian, royal tombs were decorated with pictures of kings hunting lions. Their bodies were frontally aligned from the knees to the shoulders. People from Syria borrowed ideas of art from Sumerian and customized bits of it. There are pictures of Syrians dressed like Sumerians worshiping, they were found by archeologists. Most of the captured scenes were battles and worship scenes. The Minoan artists uniquely liked engaging in arts to do with sports and activities of leisure rather than combat activities. 

During that time, art was not interested in depicting what the eyes saw. Rather, the forms created were tall, or short, fat or thin and much more caricature. For example in Egypt, men were drawn with wide shoulders while women looked slim and of less build. His size difference depicts that the ancient Egypt society was dominated by males. Sculptures like the great sphynx in Egypt, which lies on the valley of Khafre, is the largest statue in the ancient Near-East. This statue is a curving from a spur of rock showing a pharaoh, probably Khafre. Some scholars believe the sculpture was a portrait of Khufu, who came before the establishing of the Khafre complex. Even if it I not clear whom the sphinx was representing, scholars agree that the art was made in relation to the worshiping of a sun God. By sculpting the pharaoh with the body of a lion and a human head, his intelligence and might were in comparison to that of gods. Although there were limited physical trait to be made that will reveal the age of the people in representation, Egyptian artists drew fold lines on the persons neck to show aging. Wealth and age used fatness s their symbolisms. The creators used colors red on men and yellow on women. The Minoans in Crete later on adopted this coloring criteria, including the painting of gods in red or blue. Rulers were responsible for ordering arts to communicate their manifestation as most were a depiction of their forms. Painting or sculpting of Kings and royals followed special emphasis like having broad shoulders and chest, thus showing power; flashing signals or signs like clasping of hands, portraying a religious devotion; positioning the king in the center to show stature; Making the king look big than the other characters in the pictures or sculptures; and even enemies being shown in submission to the leader by lying down or crouching. Some images, using stylization were made to emphasize the descent and traits of particular groups of people. 

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Art created in the surroundings of Greece, also known as Aegean art are famous for their depiction of human in gold masks. Images of war and his situation in a cultured architectural design. Art from his time are parts of the bronze era. It was characterized by a mixture of cultures, which was brought up by the presence of many groups of people at the same place at the same time. The Aegean figurine artifacts, have a cutting edge resemblance with modern sculptures. The sculptures in this particular zone were parts of royal palaces. The most common type of sculptures were shrines for gods. 

Ancient Greek culture and its art have been a great influence on many countries’ cultures throughout the world. An example of its influence is greatly seen in the roman culture. This art in this era has four stages of development. The geometric era, the archaic era, the classical era and the Hellenistic era. The artists in ancient Greek used marble and cast bronze in the sculpting of human forms. The Ancient Greek territories had spoils of marbles except for Sicily. The origin of ancient Greek sculptures were wood made curving. Statues unearthed from the era are multicolored and were depicting men and horses. The bronze was formed using the lost-wax technology from Phoenicia. Typically, the artists in geometrical era made sculptures of warriors, athletes and gods. The Archaic period was inspired by the monuments in Egypt. The Greeks began sculpting in stone and agreeing that the human form is the most vital subject for artistic quest. They sculpted their gods in human form, the distinction between secular and sacred art was not distinct. The Greek statues served public display   purposes, having been commissioned by the state or aristocratic individuals. The classical era sculptures saw sculptures take more natural poses as the skill of the artists had immensely increased. The sculptures began to depict individuals and not forms that were based on assumption. The statues were also used for decoration of public buildings, and took a turn of gracing cemeteries with dramatically curved illustrations.  

From the two dimensional artifacts made by man about himself. The course identifies man with its surroundings and period. The materials and culture greatly affect how sculptures were made and used. Man is depicted in many positions of power and their roles in the society. Lately, artistic works have focused on depiction of individuals to details. Man has preserved his history in art and managed to make it better and reliable.

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