Divine or Human Images? Neoplatonic and Christian Views on Works of Art and Aesthetics

In: Numen
Author: Arja Karivieri1
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  • 1 Stockholm University, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Lilla Frescativägen 7, S-10691 Stockholm,
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This paper explores how Neoplatonists and Christians experienced and interpreted works of art, and how views on artists and individual works of art, such as Pheidias’ Zeus in Olympia, were expressed by the representatives of traditional Greco-Roman religions and Christians. The way the value of a work of art was expressed in Greco-Roman literature is compared with the comments and opinions of Neoplatonists and Christian authors, which show that art and its appreciation and function are closely connected to the relationship to God in ancient sources. The ideal of beauty took its place to enrich also the Christian view of aesthetics and enhanced the development of both Greco-Roman and Christian art.

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