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Studying for a test? Prepare with these 8 lessons on Greek art.
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(piano music) Voiceover: We're in the Louvre, and we're looking at an early Greek sculpture. It's really more of a figurine only about two feet tall, often refereed to as the Lady of Auxerre. That's because it was discovered in a storeroom in a museum in Auxeere early in the 20th century. Voiceover: It was made, likely, on the island of Crete, and we can tell that from the limestone that it was made from, and, also the similarities to other funerary statues that were found on Crete. So, we think it might have been placed in the necropolis, and in some ways it looks Egyptian. Voiceover: Well, this was a moment when the Greeks were just beginning their own artistic tradition, and were very far away from the naturalism of the 4th and 5th centuries. This is a period when Egypt is, in fact, an important source. Voiceover: We also see the influence of ancient [nuristan] sculpture in terms of the geometric pattern that we see on her skirt, and also the geometric patterning of her hair. Voiceover: In fact, the entire figure is not naturalistic at all. There's a patterning even of the forms of the body. So, that it's not so much a carefully rendered forearm, for instance, or hand that has been seen from a model, and then sculpted. So much as a series of, almost, symbolic forms that represent a hand. Voiceover: It's interesting because this is the renewal of stone sculpture in Greece in the 7th century, and we have those geometric forms, elongated legs and elongated fingers as well. Voiceover: Also, the hair is bundled up into those wonderful little squares, perhaps referencing braids, and of course, there's a complete jumble in terms of the proportion of the head, to the torso, to the hips, to the rest of the legs, but that's not it's concern at all. Voiceover: No. Voiceover: This is a representation Voiceover: using a very strict geometric structure. Voiceover: Interestingly, the arms are somewhat separated from the bodies, unlike what we see often in ancient the Egyptian art, where the arms are really wedded to the body with stone in-between. Her legs are a block of limestone and not separated at all. She seems very weighted to that small base that she's on. Voiceover: So, it's very seductive, the idea of reading her with full knowledge of what happens in Greek art after this. I'm saying that [unintelligible] stone that has been carved away freeing her arm is in a sense a first step towards the wonderfully [voluminous] sculpture that will characterize Greek art several centuries forward. Of course, the person who made this didn't know that. Voiceover: Also, I think it's important to remember that although we're not sure specifically of this sculptures context, a lot of our [unintelligible] sculpture Voiceover: Right. Absolutely. So, it's important to remember that religious context for these figures, even though we view them in a museum environment. Voiceover: I think it's probably worth pointing out that those geometric patterns that we see en-sized on the surface of the sculpture, were probably very brightly painted at one point. (piano music)