art in the studio


The focus of early cultures of the Orient and Greece was on women's bodies as fertility symbols, with correspondingly accentuated proportions. Not infrequently, the sculptures - some of which are only the size of a hand - merely depict the torso, i.e. without an individualizing head, as curator Tomas Lochman told the media on Thursday.

In the case of the Egyptians, a coffin floor depicting the goddess of heaven Nut as a striking outstanding feature is given a hump with an edge for the pubic bone - strikingly illuminated in the Museum of Ancient Art. Nut gives birth to the sun and stars every day, which explains this visual emphasis.

While in early antiquity women were at the centre of the family and thus of interest, in archaic and classical Greece the male nude dominates. Well-proportioned and well-trained, his naked body stands for the civilized man, Heros and God.

Because in Classical Antiquity the female body is more strongly sexualized, it is shown veiled, sometimes with targeted bosom flashes: "Such tricks are very important," Lochman said. Or they were shown in legitimate situations such as bathing.

In addition, naked women have also been portrayed in explicit sexual contexts. Erotic acts and acts of love have sometimes been depicted very explicitly, not only in Greece, but also in Egypt and the Middle East. According to Lochman, "extremely popular" were naked, self-confident women, such as hetaeric depictions on vases.

Meanwhile, in depictions of gods, nudity also symbolized raw power and the force of nature. This applies not only to battles between gods, but also to instincts. One scene shows an attempted rape life-size: From behind, a satyr approaches a hermaphrodite who is not recognized as such at first and who defends himself. Romans liked this sculpture so much that they copied the Greek original.


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