Classical Culture

/Tag:Classical Culture

Many Christians try to argue that Western civilization is based on the Judeo-Christian tradition. On the contrary, it is firmly based on the Greco-Roman tradition – classical culture.

JW Waterhouse (2): Anima, Hysteria And Adolescent Sexuality

The cliche is that the Victorian era was a time of sexual repression. In truth it was a time that confronted sexual repression. It was a period of great social change. I have already pointed out that the Victorians waged a war on child prostitution by raising the age of consent and redefining the notion of girlhood. But it was also a time that challenged the role of women and women's sexuality. By the end of the Victorian era at the beginning of the 20th century: 1. The Suffragette movement was redefining women's role in society. 2. The new discipline [...]

The Nude: Tradition, Elitism And Its Opponents

My visit to Paris and London left me with an understanding of the weight of tradition. Both Paris and London take their art very seriously. Unfortunately Australia still struggles with the arts. The reason is at once simple and complex. The high arts were linked with the aristocracy. Only the rich could afford to buy paintings, attend the opera or attend a play. Only the rich could afford an education; to go to university to study Latin and the classics; to take the Grand Tour through Europe. What did the poor know of these things? Deep in the heart of [...]

The Classical Ideal And Cinthia Fernandez

After writing about Argentinian TV I became fascinated with Cinthia Fernandez (Abbey Diaz). I thought there was more to her and a closer look confirmed by initial impression. She's something of a celebrity in Argentina with her fingers in many pies: actor, dancer, TV presenter, model, and even fitness specialist. Her biography says she trained in ballet but I can't help but think there was also some solid gymnastic training in her childhood. Whatever the case, Cinthia displays considerable physical intelligence and skill. I do not suggest that she is amongst the very elite by any means, only that she [...]

Midnight In Paris (actually 2 Am)

So, made it to Paris. It's 2 am. I'd like to say I've been out, but I just got up. I arrived very early Monday morning after an all nighter from Singapore. It was too early to access my room, so I changed for the cold weather (so much for Spring in Paris), left my bags at the hotel and went exploring. I'm staying at a small boutique hotel, the Duminy-Vendôme on Rue de Mont-Thabor, behind and running parallel to the Rue de Rivoli and le Jardin des Tuileries. It's a quick visit to Paris. I already know I [...]

Sport And Nudity

This is a frivolous post - with a point. Throughout this blog I've talked about the contrast between the Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian attitude to nudity in art. The Greco-Romans celebrated the naked human form whereas the Judeo-Christians, via the Garden of Eden myth, considered the naked form indecent. But the Greco-Roman celebration of the body extended beyond art into sport as well. It is well known that the athletes in the original Olympic games performed naked. The Romans were not particularly fussed by nudity either (clothing was designed to denote status - the senatorial toga was not particularly practical, it [...]

The Gladiatrix

The more I find out about the Roman empire the more I'm impressed. Yes, it was brutal and there are things for which it is rightly condemned (especially infanticide and its treatment of children). Yet in many areas it was quite remarkable. Eva Cantarella, the eminent professor of ancient Greek and Roman law declared that Roman women of the 1st century ACE achieved a level of autonomy not seen until recent history. Under Christianity all of the freedoms were reversed. This is not to say that Roman women weren't subjugated, just that they were given more opportunities than later [...]

William-Adolphe Bouguereau 4: Naked Cupids

I have covered this before, but it's worth revisiting in the context of the French tradition of portraying the naked child. Bouguereau made a pretense at some form of innocence by putting wings on what are otherwise, quite luscious paintings of naked boys and girls. The viewer can appreciate the child's beauty and innocent eroticism without guilt because they are mythical - despite the fact that Bouguereau used real children as models. The detail is stunning, we are invited to take a long look - it's okay, the wings tell us this is meant to be read naively, innocently. And [...]

The Naked Child In Art: Francois Boucher

So, staying in the French Rococo... François Boucher took things a bit further than either Fragonard or Greuze. By today's paradoxical standards (that admits hard core porn yet forbids youthful eroticism) Boucher crosses the line. Yet he is a significant artist represented in galleries around the world. It seems time and fame protect him. His most infamous work is the 1740 version of Leda and the Swan (there are other versions). The reason for its infamy is obvious, yet people gloss over the fact that Leda is a young adolescent. How do we know? It should be obvious. She does [...]

Abigail Bray (2): Intentional Misrepresentation

In my previous post I quoted from an article in which Abigail Bray accuses Bill Henson of 'an ugly sexual political intent'. Might I suggest that the only person with an 'ugly sexual political' intent is Abigail. I cannot believe she is ignorant. I can therefore only assume that she intended to demonise Henson, to situate him within a patriarchy that exploits the images of women for some deviant purpose. Has she met Henson and discussed his art practice? Or is she guessing from afar, using Henson as a scapegoat for a larger ideological purpose? I still cannot believe that [...]

Colonising Porn And Other Nonsense

From time to time I check in on Melinda Tankard Reist's site to see what she's up to. In the most part it's filled with material about marketing and the media. I don't have any objection to these campaigns. I'm no fan of our consumer culture or of modern marketing. It cheapens us all. No, what I look for is Melinda's real agenda and every now and then it slips through. As I have said before, Melinda is a conservative Christian who receives a lot of encouragement from the religious right, both materially and emotionally. I just wish that many [...]