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HAD-620 Viewing and Constructing the Classical Body

3 Credits

Ancient societies were profoundly visual. Fewer images were available, so those that existed were more important. Representations of the human body played a central role within ancient visual arts, as the starting point for recognizing the self and differentiating from the other. This course looks at ancient Mediterranean representations of the human body: how those representations were constructed and functioned, how forms developed and changed, what they expressed, how they were looked at when new, how we have received them, and how see them today. We will explore ancient societies through how they represented bodies, whether drawn or modeled, mortal or divine, human or hybrid, idealized or realistic. We also recognize that the Mediterranean focus on the nude figure is atypical of the global experience and requires special explanation. We will begin with Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, and continue through Ancient Greece and Rome up through the early Christian period. The class will include two museum visits and a structured research project and paper.