Chapter

Social Structure, Cultural Rationalisation and Aesthetic Judgement in Classical Greece

Jeremy Tanner

in Word And Image In Ancient Greece

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print November 2000 | ISBN: 9780748614066
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651054 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748614066.003.0011
Social Structure, Cultural Rationalisation and Aesthetic Judgement in Classical Greece

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This chapter explores the role that words played in the construction of aesthetic experience in classical Greece. It argues that the contemporary focus of historians of classical art on parallelisms between word and image should be replaced by a consideration of words as one functionally specific component in material processes of aesthetic expression which have their foundations in the body, embodied social practices and social structure. Artworks are interpreted as statements of aesthetic philosophy, and any art-critical terms that can recover from ancient Greeks' writings are privileged as explaining the ‘intrinsic meaning’ of Greek art. In recent interpretations of Polykleitan sculpture, much is made of homologies between statuary and intellectual discourse. One strand of such arguments develops the traditional view of Polykleitos as aesthetic-philosopher.

Keywords: words; aesthetic experience; Greece; image; artworks; sculpture; Polykleitos

Chapter.  8415 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical Literature

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