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The Ideal of Ancient Greek Beauty At British Museum

A figure of a naked man, possibly Dionysos.  Marble statue from the East pediment of the Parthenon.  Designed by Phidias, Athens, Greece, 438BC-432BC.  Height 127cm x 174cm.  © The Trustees of the British Museum.
A figure of a naked man, possibly Dionysos.
Marble statue from the East pediment of the Parthenon.
Designed by Phidias, Athens, Greece, 438BC-432BC.
Height 127cm x 174cm.
© The Trustees of the British Museum.

The British Museum’s new blockbuster show, entitled “Defining beauty: the body in ancient Greek art,” includes a variety of breathtaking in accuracy and realism works of art that will urge visitors to follow a visually awe-inspiring and thought-provoking exploration of the human body.

The exhibition, sponsored by Julius Bär, is now open through July 5, featuring around 150 astonishing historical treasures in an effort to examine notions of ideal beauty as rendered in marble statues, bronzes, terracottas and vases.

From the abstract simplicity of prehistoric figurines to the mind-blowing realism of the age of Alexander the Great, all masterpieces inside Room 30 of the Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery will “narrate” an impressive story about the Greek obsession with physical perfection, an obvious parallel with people’s desire to look beautiful.

British Museum visitors will have the opportunity to admire sublime creations, among which are Parthenon sculptures made by Phidias, the Belvedere Torso nude male statue from the Vatican Museums, Michelangelo’s Adam drawing for the Sistine Chapel, the Roman copy of Discobolus by Myron, and Georg Roemer’s reconstruction of the bronze Doryphoros, or “Spear-bearer,” of Polykleitos of Argos.

Info

“Defining beauty: the body in ancient Greek art”
Now open – until 5 July 2015
Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery (Room 30)
The British Museum
Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG

Marble relief (Block XLVII) from the North frieze of the Parthenon.  The frieze shows the procession of the Panathenaic festival, the commemoration of the birthday of the goddess Athena.  Designed by Phidias, Athens, Greece, 438BC-432BC.  Height 101cm x width 164cm.  © The Trustees of the British Museum.
Marble relief (Block XLVII) from the North frieze of the Parthenon.
The frieze shows the procession of the Panathenaic festival, the commemoration of the birthday of the goddess Athena.
Designed by Phidias, Athens, Greece, 438BC-432BC.
Height 101cm x width 164cm.
© The Trustees of the British Museum.

Ilissos. Marble statue of a river god from the West pediment of the Parthenon. Designed by Phidias, Athens, Greece, 438BC-432BC.  Height 81cm x 189cm.  © The Trustees of the British Museum.
Ilissos. Marble statue of a river god from the West pediment of the Parthenon.
Designed by Phidias, Athens, Greece, 438BC-432BC.
Height 81cm x 189cm.
© The Trustees of the British Museum.

Marble metope from the Parthenon (South metope XXXI).  This metope is from the eastern half of the south side of the temple.  The South metopes in the British Museum show the battle between Centaurs and Lapiths at the marriage-feast of Peirithoos.  Designed by Phidias, Athens, Greece, 438BC-432BC.  Width 132cm.  © The Trustees of the British Museum.
Marble metope from the Parthenon (South metope XXXI).
This metope is from the eastern half of the south side of the temple.
The South metopes in the British Museum show the battle between Centaurs and Lapiths at the marriage-feast of Peirithoos.
Designed by Phidias, Athens, Greece, 438BC-432BC.
Width 132cm.
© The Trustees of the British Museum.


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