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The period of the late classics (IV century BC) Art.


The IV century was the time when the Greeks felt the need to sum up their past. This turned out best in the field of philosophy, marked by the appearance of the philosophers Plato and Aristotle, whose legacy still feeds European thought.

Plato (427-347) was born in Athens in an aristocratic family and from childhood excelled in poetry, painting, music and gymnastics. He was a student of Socrates, after whose death he made several trips to Syracuse, where there was a Pythagorean school. He was at the court of Dionysius I, who was angered by his independence and sold the philosopher into slavery, from which Plato was rescued by friends. Already at an advanced age, the philosopher founded his famous school - Academy in Athens (387). The basis of Plato's surviving works are dialogues (23 authentic dialogues, for example, "Feast", "Phaedo", "Timaeus", "State", etc.), the genre of which allowed the reader to present his creative laboratory of thought. The main character of many dialogues was Socrates. Plato tried to solve the problem that was the driving principle for all Greek philosophy - the dialectic of idea and matter. With the help of the art of argument, he gets to the original indivisible essence of things, which, in his opinion, were ideas - prototypes, unchangeable eternal models of the visible world, which is why Plato is considered the founder of the philosophical trend of "idealism". Plato did not share ethics and politics, because in his eyes personal virtue and state justice could be reconciled with the help of ideal laws, so he paid much attention to the proper education of citizens through literature and art.

Aristotle (384-322), born in the city of Stagira (Chalcis Peninsula), studied and taught at Plato's Academy, lived in Athens as a metek, was a teacher of Alexander the Great, at the end of his life he conducted classes in the outskirts of Athens, where there was a temple of Apollo Lycaea and gymnasium Lycaea. Aristotle was a versatile thinker who was engaged not only in philosophy, but also in literature, art, politics, physics and biology, which was reflected in his numerous works ("Metaphysics", "Rhetoric", "Politics", "Physics", "Animal History", etc.). According to his teaching, which was the development of Platonic ideas, the existence of a thing determined the ratio of two principles: matter and form. Aristotle described the state structure of many Greek polis and created his own model of an ideal state - a polity in which everything is subordinated to the public good.

Visual art.

Unlike previous eras, the art of the late classics tended to concreteness of experiences and in this sense preceded the era of Hellenism, in which individualism played an important role. In general, the nomination of personalities who influenced the course of historical events, such as Alcibiades, Lysander, also testified to a new era when the Greeks no longer recognized themselves as part of a civic collective. The principles of collectivism disappeared, and the feelings, emotions and merits of the individual came to the fore. Art reflected this instability, anxiety, a sense of the future tragedy of the Greek world.

The largest sculptor of the IV century was Praxiteles, who enjoyed great fame already in antiquity. One of his most famous sculptures is "Hermes with the infant Dionysus". Hermes carries Dionysus to be brought up by the nymphs and holds a bunch of grapes in his not preserved right hand, with which he teases the little god. In the sculptures of Praxiteles and his imitators, the image of a courageous harmoniously developed athlete created by Polycletus and Myron disappears. Hermes Praxiteles is a pampered young man, not physically developed, feminine beauty is emphasized in him. For the sculptor, it is not so much the specific situation that is important, as the generalized image of "relaxed leisure". Hermes is not interested in Dionysus, because his distracted gaze is directed in the other direction and does not express close attention to the baby.

Another sculpture of Praxiteles is "Resting Satyr". In front of the viewer is an ordinary young man, and his belonging to the satyrs is given out only by goat ears. About 70 imitations of this statue are known. The difference between the sculptures of the late classics from the old time is that they need supports. If you remove the pillar on which the satyr is leaning, then the statue will fall, whereas the sculptures of the early era in their own way stood firmly on their feet. The Dorifor of the Polyclet is a balanced figure that maintains balance due to the harmonious combination of individual elements. Now the additional support is an integral part of the composition. The named statues of Praxiteles survived in the original, which rarely happened, since most of the Greek sculptures were preserved only in Roman copies.

Another masterpiece of Praxiteles is Aphrodite. Bringing feminine beauty to perfection logically led to the image of a naked female nature. In the fifth century, in the era of high classics, it was not customary to depict naked women, but in Praxiteles this transition is natural: he feels the softness and warmth of modeling, skillfully used the play of chiaroscuro, "a magical symphony of white and black", in the words of the modern French sculptor Rodin. Praxiteles painted statues by rubbing special substances into them, thanks to which his works acquired a bodily matte shade. Aphrodite had an interesting backstory. Praxiteles carved it by order of the inhabitants of the island of Kos, but when he completed his work, the customers were very confused and asked to make Aphrodite dressed, and this statue was bought by the inhabitants of the island of Cnidus, why it is now called "Aphrodite of Cnidus". The statue became widely known, and for its sake pilgrims specially traveled to Cnidus. Praxiteles made the sculpture based on its specific location in the temple in the form of a wide arch, open only from two sides, so Aphrodite can be viewed only from the front or from behind - it is not designed for viewing from any point.

The second prominent sculptor of the late classics was Scopas, the complete opposite of Praxiteles. His dancing "Maenad" is a whole bundle of energy, an "embodied storm", in the words of contemporaries. Maenads - bacchantes in the Roman tradition - women who accompanied Dionysus and participated in his orgies. According to the description of ancient authors, the maenads were in the unharmed hands: in one - a torn kid, in the other - a knife, because initially, when performing the cult, the sacrificial animals of Dionysus were torn apart alive. The statue has not been preserved in the original, only small-sized copies-statuettes have reached. The maenad finally loses the already fragile balance in the art of Praxiteles and symbolizes the victory of the Dionysian principle in Scopas. The maenad looks like a tongue of flame, a curved bow, an unfolding spring - in it the sculptor captured a brief but very vivid moment that reflected the spontaneous impulse of a woman who had gone into a frenzy.

Scopas decorated one of the seven wonders of the world - the tomb of the Lydian satrap Mausoleum, from which the word "mausoleum" originates. It has not been completely preserved, so it is still unknown exactly which reliefs on the tomb belong to Scopas and which do not.

The third major master of the late classics is Lysippus, who summed up the sculpture of Greece of the classical period. According to legend, Lysippus, after making another statue, put a gold coin in the piggy bank. At the end of his life, when the piggy bank was broken, there were fifteen hundred coins in it. Lysippus himself liked to say that he portrays people not as they are, but as they seem. Indeed, he had a striking optical rather than plastic perception of sculpture as art. The most famous statue of the sculptor, made of bronze, is "Apoxyomen", a young man who cleans dirt off himself with a scraper after competitions (before the competitions, the wrestlers were rubbed with oils and after the fight they became dirty). The young man is not as effeminate as Praxiteles - physically developed, but at the same time elegant. The sculpture emphasizes not physical power, but a noble combination of physical development and inner refinement. Perhaps this is not a generalized image, but a portrait of a specific person. Lysippus is a master of grasping the instantaneous action of a person, but not as eccentric as that of Scopas. In the Apoxyomen, this is achieved due to a small detail: the young man holds the scraper in his left hand, not in his right, which gives the statue a special movement. The Apoxyomen is designed for contemplation from all sides, since the statue is three-dimensional, unlike the works of Myron and to some extent Praxiteles, and from various points of observation represents something new. Lysippus, as it were, gives birth to the statue from the inside, whereas usually the statue is "freed" from the block of marble under the blows of the chisel. Perhaps this effect was achieved due to the material of the sculpture - bronze.

The new art is gradually preparing the transition to Hellenism, which will be marked by the loss of Greece's political, but not spiritual and not cultural independence. Greece will cease to exist as a sovereign state, but its spiritual influence will persist for a long time among the Mediterranean and some eastern states.