Greek nude statues
The art of Ancient Greece focused unashamedly on the naked body. Female nudity was treated discreetly but the unclothed male form was everywhere. The show Defining Beauty at the British Museum investigates the Greek obsession with physical perfection - and the man in charge says there's an obvious parallel with people's desire today to look good at the gym. Yet even he finds it hard to explain exactly why the naked human form featured in the art of Ancient Greece in a way it didn't in other cultures of the same era.
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By Harry Mount for the Daily Mail. Perhaps the most famous Greek sculpture of all, Discobolos, the discus-thrower, shows how athletes competed in the nude. About two-and-a-half thousand years ago, a cultural miracle took place in ancient Greece. Democracy was born in Athens, the first great tragedies and comedies were written — and statues were carved that were more astonishingly lifelike than ever before. Warriors die on the Trojan battlefield in the buff. Athletes hurl the discus in the altogether.
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We are so used to nude statues their strangeness escapes us. Was this exposure of the body to do with sex, athletics, war or virtue? James Davidson visits Defining Beauty, the stunning new exhibition of the body in Greek art.
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