The body was central to the visual culture of ancient Greece, reflecting an obsession with physical beauty, integrity, dynamism, and power. In this study, Andrew Stewart analyses the problem of the Greeks' strange preoccupation with nakedness and sketches how artworks filter our understanding of the subject. Exploring selected constructions of gender, ranging from the men of the Parthenon frieze to naked girls on Spartan hand-mirrors, Stewart investigates the Greek body as a microcosm of society, focusing upon figurations of the Athenian body politic, erotica for men and women, and selected representations of the Other, such as Gorgons, Satyrs, Centaurs, and Amazons. A cultural, theoretical and sociological study of this seminal topic, Stewart's analysis offers new insights into the society and mentality of the ancient Greeks.Read more
- Brings recent theoretical work on gender, desire, and visuality to bear on a time-worn subject
- Subjects and media range broadly from the Parthenon to erotica
- Richly illustrated with 12 colour plates and 159 half-tones, much of it little-known and seldom-published material
Reviews & endorsements
'This sparky survey offers a critical review of the foreignness of Greek art, focusing in particular on its infatuation with the naked human form, which it sets in the context of the latest literary theory … This is a readable and far-reaching book, applying theory in ways that are relevant for all art, and rewarding for novice and expert alike.' Museums and Galleries MagazineSee more reviews
'… a valuable study - and one which combines a mass of dependable information with a central provocative thesis'. Apollo
'… succeeds in 'making this art seem strange', that is, in helping us to see these objects as they might originally have been seen'. The Art Newspaper
'…Stewart's book is at once readable and rich in new ideas, the most important contribution to the study of both sexuality and art in the ancient world for some time.' London Review of Books.
'Stewart provides an art history of classical eroticism and self-display that at last matches the sophisticated level of literary studies in this area.' Greece and Rome
'The combination of interesting text and plentiful illustrations … would make this a desirable aquisition for any library.' Emma J. Stafford, JACT
'What, for me, makes Stewart a truly great art historian is that, unlike too many in his field, he can and does write as a historian tout court, always alert to the politics, economics and civic nuances that form the supporting (or occasionally destructive) matrix for art, and much of the time using visual evidence just as he might use texts or inscriptions: to plot social change.' Peter Green, The Times Literary Supplement
'Stewart, obviously a good and enthusiastic teacher, has produced a clear and well-written account of a subject that has become quite unnecessarily obscured.' Art Book Review Quarterly
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- Date Published: November 1998
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521456807
- length: 288 pages
- dimensions: 279 x 215 x 19 mm
- weight: 0.965kg
- contains: 159 b/w illus. 12 colour illus.
- availability: Unavailable - out of print September 2001
Table of Contents
1. Bodies familiar and unfamiliar
2. Body and gender in the Greek city
3. 'Visuality', gaze, and glance
4. The public eye
5. Looking around the city
6. The problem
7. Nakedness in Greek life
8. Nakedness in early Greek art
9. Art, the body, and desire
12. Painted pottery
13. Best and brightest
14. Marathon man
15. Eternal springtime?
16. Bed and battle
17. The Doryphoros
18. The Knidia
19. Of pain and pleasure
20. 'Going dorian'
21. Athenian perspectives
22. Hegeso revisited
23. Athens to ca. 510
24. From Kleisthenes to Xerxes
25. Kimonian and Periklean Athens
26. Conflict and disaster
27. Revival and ruination
28. For men
29. For women
30. Two images of alterity
31. Centaurs and Amazons
32. Role reversal: the Praxitelean satyr
33. New horizons
34. In and out of the city
35. The kingdoms: insiders and others
36. Gender-drift and the bisexual body.
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