Andersen, Hendrick Christian [Hrsg.]; Hébrard, Ernest M.   [Hrsg.]
Creation of a world centre of communication — Paris, 1913

Seite: 37
Zitierlink: i
Lizenz: Creative Commons - Namensnennung - Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen

figure of a strong man. Yet in spite of specially trained masseurs, and distin-
guished physicians who healed the wounded combatants, the Roman athletes
did not become as beautifully developed as the Greek. Strength and courage
were incited to destroy life until the body itself sank into vice and cor-

But the very exaggerations of the Roman Empire have their meaning.
By war and conquest the Romans gathered all that was of excellence into their
capital and made there a central treasury of Beauty and Art. They became
even over-rich by their robbery. But as without spiritual motive nothing
can live, the body became overfed, overvoluptuous, vulgarly inhuman and

As we pass on through the Middle Ages, when the world had again
become divided and subdivided under a multitude of rulers, we find that art
was seldom inspired by strong, symmetrical forms. Under the powerful
control of the Christian Church, the human body was disregarded, its per-
fect development not being essential to mediaeval ideals.

The new religion required the expression of self-sacrifice, humble devo-
tion to ideals, emotional manifestations and marked a reaction in all expres-
sions of physical development and vigorous beauty. By means of an exqui-
site technique, the whole range of human emotions was produced in art with
a delicacy of touch and a depth of feeling that reveal the soul and penetrate
the heart of humanity, nevertheless no general symbol of the human form
was originated during the early Renaissance except that of the suffering body
of Christ. With mortal anguish expressed in every limb and fibre, mutilated
and bleeding, pale and lifeless, with arms stretched out upon the cross of
iniquity and cruelty, this divine tragedy was reproduced again and again in
bronze, marble, ivory, wood or colour. The painters and sculptors of the
Renaissance in their realistic and carefully executed works, expressed the
pathos of life. The human body was then a thing to be sacrificed, almost
to be ashamed of and, hidden beneath folds of rich or poor material, tortu-
red, burnt or tormented, as in immense remorse to expiate the past, as if
the body did not belong to the soul, and were not conceived after the image
of God.

We find that chaste refinement and immaculate conceptions were made
to appeal to the emotional senses and the mission of life was changed into
one of abnegation. Mental and physical suffering are traced in the delicate
lines of painting and sculpture. Devotion and self-sacrifice are the dominat-
ing theme of high artistic achievements. Attachment to a new form of religion
appealing to the soul, raised the standard of morals and created divine ideals
that sent a thrill of reverence, fear and joy to the heart; but, with the exception
of works by Michael Angelo and a few of his followers, no grand human forms
were created. Indeed, we lose all direct trace of the abstract, ideally deve-
loped human body. We find instead light veils or heavy draperies serving to

I 0
loading ...