Jump to content

Menu

How do I explain ancient Greek nudity to a 7yr old girl?


Recommended Posts

Guest Amy in MS

Here my thought--

 

I'd ask her what some beautiful things are that she sees in art.

She'll probably have answers like "flowers" and "landscapes". Then you can ask, "why did people paint or sculpt these things?"

She'll probably answer, "because they are pretty and the artists liked them."

 

Then, you tell her that the Greeks thought people's bodies were beautiful too, and that's why they made their art to represent them.

 

Our culture pretends we think bodies are beautiful, but we don't. We think bodies should be hidden away, even in books and art.

 

Amy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with Amy.

Funny - if I were to walk the beach completely nude (the way I was made) - there would be outrage. The cops would come.

But I could wear some butt floss and pasties and be completely legal.

 

I would be $exier in the floss and pasties than if I were completely nude!

But somehow - that's ok.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nude art does not equal immorality. Our modern views of nudity differ drastically from the sensibilities of those who lived in the pre-modern age. Many of the Christian renaissance artists painted nudes. Nudes during the Classical Age usually depicted gods and heroes, nudes give a better feeling of the glory and heroism associated with the gods and heroes, the muscular lines, the beauty of the body and so forth. Also frailty, see Dying Warrior from the temple of Aegina. That warrior's frailty comes across so much more because he is nude. Finally, Greeks were nude a lot in public, it was not a big deal to them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It really is as simply as "They didn't need/want/desire too many clothes. Their climate was too hot for it and they prefered the nude body over the clothed one".

 

Our culture pretends we think bodies are beautiful, but we don't. We think bodies should be hidden away, even in books and art.

 

Amy, this is so true and so pathetic and sad. Black markering Art books...bodies hidden away like there is something horribly wrong with them. Sad. And were it my child, I'd be telling her this too (that society has put uneccessary restrictions on itself).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But I could wear some butt floss and pasties and be completely legal.

 

 

 

ROFL! I call it butt floss, too.

 

And, I can tell you, I'm pretty conservative. However, I was raised with an artsy mother who took me to museums and let me see nudity in art and I never equated artistic nudity with anything negative. Obviously, there's a line in the sand; pornography is unacceptable, but that's not art. I have no issues with my daughter seeing artistic nudity, in an appropriate context. God made our bodies, fearfully and wonderfully, and while modesty is a good thing and something I want my daughter to practice, I think it's counter productive to a child's self-image to teach that the human body is an ugly, dirty thing. I'm obviously coming from a Christian world-view, and I can't see how we can teach children that they're children of the Heavenly Father, who does all things and creates all things perfectly, yet tell them their bodies-that He created- are ugly.

 

This is just another reason out of the 10 million that I love that I can homeschool. I can allow my daughter to see a nekkie Greek statue if I choose to and others don't have to! Ain't homeschooling grand? LOL

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess, for a 7 year old, I'd merely say it was just the norm for them. They had no hang ups that nudity equals sex. They lived in a pretty mild climate, too. Their clothing style also made it easy for them to disrobe. Also, sports and physical fitness were so important(Olympic games, etc) so they obviously valued the body as well as the mind. It's not just a Greek thing, tho, cultures all over the world have held this belief.

 

. . . how shall I put this? The ancient Greeks did not value sexual continence as a virtue, savvy? So, yes, a lot of their nudity (whether in art or in daily living) was related to sex. Monogamy, heterosexuality, proscriptions of extra-marital sex were, for the most part, equated with the Jewish and, later, Christian cultures. Some Greek philosophers were exceptions, of course, and valued abstinence from all kinds of things. But on the whole, the Greeks were a pretty randy bunch, and proud of it.

 

This is probably not something I'd discuss with my 7yo, but I just wanted to throw that out there. The "well, it wasn't sexual for them" argument is not entirely accurate.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

LOL, yes PariSarah, Greek nudity was very much about sex!

 

I'm reading a fun novel these days. It's called "Madame Socrate". And while there's only one sexual encounter that is briefly described, there's plenty more that are part of the story. Plenty more! (just no description of them).

 

Now I'm not sure how entirely accurate the novel is, but it's a fun read. (It's a murder mystery for the first part, not entirely sure about the second part since the murder's been solved and avenged.)

 

There's talk of all the 'hermes' statues in Athenes being castrated overnight. It's a bad omen, because people - both men and women - tended to pet the genitals as a way of asking for the God's protection. Lol. Not something we'd see nowadays! ;-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's my understanding that the Greeks' love of nudity in art was considered pretty weird by other peoples of the time, regardless of climate. And the Greeks didn't go out in public naked; the men worked out naked, they often partied naked, but they still wouldn't dream of being seen undressed on the street. (Women, of course, didn't do any of that stuff unless they were courtesans. Even the statues of women were modestly clothed for a long time; nude women in art were a shocking innovation that came long afterwards.)

 

Nude statues of young men were an idealization of perfection. And there was also a lot of sex. Greeks were kind of weird about sex, they had plenty of their own hang-ups.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here my thought--

 

I'd ask her what some beautiful things are that she sees in art.

She'll probably have answers like "flowers" and "landscapes". Then you can ask, "why did people paint or sculpt these things?"

She'll probably answer, "because they are pretty and the artists liked them."

 

Then, you tell her that the Greeks thought people's bodies were beautiful too, and that's why they made their art to represent them.

 

I think this is great advice--very age-appropriate.

 

Our culture pretends we think bodies are beautiful, but we don't. We think bodies should be hidden away, even in books and art.

 

I really wouldn't equate modesty with shame or the perception of ugliness, but we've covered that before. Yes, some people hate bodies (their own or others), but covering bodies is not necessarily about hating bodies. My desire to cover my private bits has everything to do with my positive appreciation of my body (and sex).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am not one to push nudity on a youngster who is naturally modest. Jewish and Christian standards of modesty are different from Greek standards. I guess it depends on your philosophy and religion - so you make the call!

 

Greek humanism - the idea that man is the measure of all things and the ultimate in beauty - would enter my discussion. Also, many of the Greek scholars and poets were inflamed with lust at a young boy's body - and sought sexual gratification from their students. I believe that art cannot be separated from sexual norms of the culture.

 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with modesty. It does not mean that one has a problem with the human body, but rather that one respects, honors and cherishes it. Our culture is eroticisizing itself into impotence.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...