Showing posts with label art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art. Show all posts

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Why Aren't Greek Statues Well-Endowed? A Hellenist Answers

In recent historical discussions around the internet, the topic of male genital size on ancient Greek statues has been notably addressed. I honestly don't see why it matters (and I will get to that at the end of this post), but as a Hellenist who has studied since 2009, I'd like to think I could put forth some valid theories. Many ideas, to my knowledge, have been proposed, all the way to the suggestion that the Greeks admired small genitals. But I think there's another facet that we are failing to see.

For starters, it's not true that all Greek statues or depictions have this attribute. The Herm piece or a depiction of Priapos (a fertility God), will show very large penises. While other statues, like the one of Zeus or Poseidon of the Artemision Bronze, do not have large ones. But I think the factor is in the area of focus. With Priapos, the genitals were a focal point because of the immense fertility the God possesses. But in the case of the Artemision Bronze, the sculptor clearly didn't want genitals to be the message of the work. What you see is either Zeus throwing the thunderbolt or Poseidon throwing the trident. The focus is on the God's Divine power, not the genitals. So my theory is that it depended on where the artist wanted the viewer to look.

I also think that many people assume that male genitals are always the same size. This is not true at all. When erect or exceptionally aroused, a man can become several times larger, depending on how much blood flow and stretching the penis can hold and exhibit. So it may have been that the sculptor wasn't seeing small genitals, but rather, simply ones that were not erect.

Finally, I find a notable amount of sexism behind the whole discussion. If we were to see a statue of a woman with small breasts, we wouldn't think anything of it because we would consider that there is more to her life and her being than just sexual, but for some reason, when we come to a man, we put all the worth and focus between his legs.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Collages and Colors ~ Decorating A Temple Cheaply

It's probably no secret that, over the last three years, I have put thousands of my own dollars into my temple and outside sanctuary. But it's also true that not everything in my temple is expensive. In fact, some of the decorations are handmade beautifully. It's as well important to remember that while these decorations are comparatively cheap, they are not low class or trashy.

Part of being in a minority religion is having a crafty and inventive nature, and over the course of the last thirteen years, I have found many unique and widespread ways to do that. Admittedly, there's been a lot of trial and error in terms of figuring out what works well, what will last, and what is not tacky or impoverished looking.

One can usually perfect this practice by considering their own personal talents and hobbies they enjoy. One of my own artistic expressions has always been collages and colors, like in the picture you see above, of various Gods and ancient Greek stories. The work is a beautiful array of ancient Greek spirituality, theology and mythology. I didn't create the piece because I needed it or even for a specific purpose other than to add to the decorations of my temple.

Now before you say that you don't have the money for all of the art supplies needed to make collages, you don't actually need much. This one costs around $10 to create. At my local used or discount bookstore, I found a 8.5 x 11 hardcover book of the Trojan War for around $5, and in it were the pictures you see here. And a good thing about these images is that the author of the book likely did not create them, which means they are public domain or creative commons. At any rate, if the pictures are only being used for your personal temple or shrine, there's no copyright violation at all.

The way the collage was made included every part of the book. After I went through and carefully cut out images I wanted, I also cut off the front and back cover and taped them together in the middle. This provided a hard board for the collage without having to spend money on buying individual frames, it also just looks much better than a poster frame. The interior of the cover even has some of its own relevant imagery, which works well if you don't manage to cover every single space with the pictures. Finally, I took a simple $1 glue stick (not liquid glue) and pasted the images on the board (also covering the tape). The collage was then placed on the wall with simple stickpins and decorations strung from them. You can also use a decorative chain or necklace, anything that will stay and add to the beauty and uniqueness of the collage and help cover up those pins if you prefer.

For someone who may live alone and have little money, I can imagine this being a great alternative for the center piece of a shrine. Images are not just about statues alone. They're about a point of focus during worship and sacrifice, an addition to helping you connect with Gods and Heroes.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

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