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The Wardrobe Malfunction that Shook the World
Nudity, The Body Beautiful, and Greek Self-Fashioning

Sun, 11 Nov, 2012 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

ANDREW STEWART, PH.D.
PROFESSOR OF GREEK ART, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA BERKELEY

The centerpiece of The Body Beautiful is a Roman copy of the famous sculpture Discobolus, a naked athlete throwing the discus, presumably at the Olympics. This uniquely ancient Greek practice of stripping naked to compete at the games, and their use of nakedness as the “default setting” for adult males in art, are as puzzling as they are notorious. Stewart will explore the gradual acceptance of nakedness as a defining attribute of the “Greek men’s club”: the egalitarian city state or polis (only at Sparta did girls compete naked and for very specific reasons), and the invention around 500 BC of the victor statue and victory ode. Finally, he unpacks the role of nakedness in both life and art as a cornerstone of fifth-century Greek self-definition vis-à-vis the barbarian world outside.

Co-presented by the Hellenic Studies Program at Portland State University and Reed College.

Free for members or with Museum admission. Space may be limited. Advance tickets are recommended and available online or on site.

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© 2012 Portland Art Museum 

This exhibition has been made possible
through the collaboration of the British Museum and Portland Art Museum.
All images © The Trustees of the British Museum (2012). All rights reserved.