My favorite period in the art history is what is called the “Hellenistic period”. Actually, it was this period which built the base for ALL Indo-European culture (including any modern). 😎
I will not take a deeper dive (although I would like very much 😁💪🏻) but the main characteristic of that distant period that struck me once and still keep amazing is the principle of ancient Greek art and culture in general: “Kill the Minotaur” 👹
I will explain. Those times were really wild: people did whatever they wanted – stealing other people’s wives, killing whole neighbor villages, eating whatever (we can also talk about this someday), and so on. But somehow, flowers of Art, Poetry, Philosophy, trees of the exact sciences -Geometry, Astronomy, Algebra – began to grow on this wild soil.
A wonderful Russian art critic Paola Volkova says exactly about this process: these basically wild creatures decided to be PEOPLE. And how to become people? It was necessary for them to rise above an animal nature in their mind, to identify themselves, to know themselves, their essence and destiny. So, the myth of the Minotaur is a myth about how a Beast turns into a Man, about the struggle of two natures – animal and human. 👊🏻
It was the hardest way passed by ancient Greeks, as a result they gave us a soil, sense, Art, and basic theses of the philosophy of human existence. 🌿
And here our discussion about disgusting in art comes to my mind, so I will continue it a little.
Nowadays, in the modern world, it is a common practice to try to discover this Minotaur inside of yourself. To search for an animal, an intuitive nature. We have been “traveling” so long way for thousands of years, outrun from our roots so radically, rose above animals so high (not inside of our minds but physically which is bad, I believe) that, it seems, we stopped appreciate the limits.
And here, the Minotaur aka Beast which was waiting for us for thousand years and which jumps out as soon as you let him (remember, for example, the Middle Ages or Fascism) swallowed us.
I often say that I am a Hellenist by religion, and I want the concept of “pathos” in ancient Greek meaning will return to our life. Pathos as a desire to be higher, trying to look at stars but not the ground, to live spiritual, high ideals. Because I believe that humanity has come a long way from Hellenes to our days not in vain.
P.S. Photo: Argali from Inner Mongolia Collection, Bronze, 2017.