THE TECHNOLOGY OF CLASSICAL NATURALISM IN ANCIENT RELIGIOUS IMAGES?

Peter Stewart

Resumo


The characteristic forms of Graeco-Roman naturalism, first developed in late Archaic and Classical Greece and ultimately inherited by the Roman world, could reasonable be viewed as a sort of artistic ‘technology’ within religious imagery, facilitating the efficacy of the cult image as a proxy for a god. This is true even for the Roman period when the heritage of Greek styles and conventions had become a highly conventionalized and conservative ‘language’ for religious representation. Nevertheless, the utility of classical naturalism as a representational strategy in such images had its limits. An interesting sidelight is cast on this issue by considering the ancient Buddhist art of Gandhara in Central/South Asia, which adopted the conventions of classical naturalism afresh, in order to invent the anthropomorphic image of the superhuman yet superlatively humane Buddha. The Gandharan case illustrated the undiminished potential of this visual tradition in the early centuries AD.


Palavras-chave


classical art; Gandharan art; Buddha; cult images; naturalism.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.26770/phoinix.v28n1a9

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Direitos autorais 2022 Peter Stewart

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