Note: The figure pulled out of the sea at Artemision is debated about to this day, whether it is of Zeus or Poseidon but for the purposes of this exhibit he is to be looked at as a Zeus
“Created in the beginning of the Classical Period of Greek sculpture (ca. 480–300 BCE), this elegant and balanced figure is the embodiment of beauty, control, and strength” (Stuart, 2011). This bronzed sculpture is not just of any god, but of Zeus, the King of the Gods. It is therefor interesting that whoever sculpted this thought to model the mightiest of all his peoples’ gods after a perfect human body. Many religions such as Islam or Judaism consider it a sin to portray their God through art. Others such as hinduism or the religion of the ancient Egyptians base their gods off of humanoid form but also change and enhance it, making it more than human. In Classical Greece, there was nothing above Human, and nothing showcased the strength and beauty of the human form better than a bronzed nude.
From the ideal viewing point of facing the Zeus’s sculpted torso, one can see the movement and life chiseled into this god. With his left leg bent and arm back in a throwing position (he was probably originally throwing a lightning bolt), the Zeus of Artemision idealizes the body and motions of the warrior and the athlete. The great understanding that the Greeks had of anatomy by the Classical period shows here, and every muscle of the human body here is rendered to perfection. The Zeus being sculpted in “Heroic Nudity” further shows the idealization of the human form, as the sculptor and therefor the audience most likely thought that even clothes would take away from the beauty that is man. Most other religions would never show their gods in the nude, but this shows that the Greeks believed there was nothing more beautiful or sacred than the naked human form.
Stuart, Andrew. “5 / Cosmology and Belief.” Art Through Time: A Global View. Annenberg Foundation, 2011. Web. 01 Dec. 2012. <http://www.learner.org/courses/globalart/work/235/index.html>.
Mylonas, George E. “The Bronze Statue from Artemision.” American Journal of Archaeology (n.d.): n. pag. JSTOR. The Archaeological Institute of America, 1994. Web. 01 Dec. 2012. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/499921>.