The soft style: Youth and nudity in classical Greece /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Rosenberg, Angele, author.
Ann Arbor : ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, 2015
Description:1 electronic resource (486 pages)
Format: E-Resource Dissertations
Local Note:School code: 0330
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Other authors / contributors:University of Chicago. degree granting institution.
Notes:Advisors: Richard T. Neer Committee members: Jas' Elsner; Verity J. Platt.
This item is not available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses.
Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 77-02(E), Section: A.
Summary:This dissertation is a cultural history of an artistic mode, herein named the "soft style", which developed in ancient Greek coroplasty, a modern term for figurines modeled in clay, during the fifth century BCE. The soft style was a new way of representing male and female bodies that has hitherto been attributed to Praxiteles, a fourth century Athenian sculptor who worked in marble and bronze between ca. 370 and 330 BCE. The defining characteristics of the style are the representation of underdeveloped muscles minimally articulated by gradual transitions, smoothened facial features that blend into one another, and an s-curve running through the torso to create the impression of a relaxing pose. This study reconsiders Praxiteles' contribution to this style in light of broader artistic changes visible in coroplasty, vase-painting, and sculptural relief. Combining visual analyses of surviving artworks that predate Praxiteles with contemporary historical accounts that praise the power of persuasion (peitho), the following chapters argue that the soft style was part of a new conception of masculinity in the fifth century that emerged as an alternative to the established ideal of the citizen-soldier. The style's origins are traced from the coroplastic industries of Boiotia and Ionia, where it might have emerged because of clay's pliable quality, to its dissemination throughout the Mediterranean via the trade of terracotta figurines. Instead of relying on authorship to explain the style's popularity, this study argues that it was fashionable because of its relevance in the contemporary debate regarding the nature of masculinity during a period of socio-political change preceding the rise of the Macedonian empire in the second half of the fourth century. In addition to offering a new history of a prominent artistic style from ancient Greece, this study has several complementary goals relevant to art history, archaeology, and classics. The first is to provide a revised understanding of stylistic change in the visual arts that is documented by specific artworks. Style is typically connected either to an artist or workshop, to a nation or ethnic group, or to a particular historical time period in the history of Greek art. By contrast, this dissertation demonstrates that style could be self-consciously deployed in the Classical period in light of ideological terms that cut across individual persons, cultures, or time periods. In doing so, this project addresses the roles of gender, sexuality, and the family unit in the dialectical discourses of persuasion (peitho) and self-control (enkrateia) as they were defined by opposing modes of representing power during the fifth and fourth centuries BCE. Finally, this dissertation offers an account of how the soft style came to be associated with Praxiteles through an anecdotal tradition that was retroactively used during the Hellenistic and Roman periods to interpret an earlier historical development.