Cite at least three different presentations and describe what is being communicated through the body in detail.
In what way have artists depicted the body in art throughout history? Include in your examples at least one instance where the body itself was the medium or even tool.
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The human body has been the subject of artistic expression from Greek antiquity, when gods, by which was meant the forces of nature—sun, sea, lightning, etc.—were personified in the form of a hierarchy of god-figures with human characteristics—beauty, strength, wisdom, etc. In the Renaissance, the human body in art combined our physical presence with our “spirit” or soul, so that a statue like Michelangelo’s David or The Pieta was more than a representation of our physicality but also our inner being, our human-ness. In Rembrandt’s time, the source of light in his painting was often the person in the painting, who emanated the “light” of understanding and illuminated the whole scene, a practice El Greco continued (his Nativity, for example, has the baby Jesus in the manger as the light source on the faces of all the figures in the painting.) In modern times, Picasso, Braque, and others used the human figure to depict the multi-visual impression that the mind makes of a three-dimensional world on a two-dimensional surface. In performance art of the 20th century, artists such as Annie Sprinkles (Public Cervix Announcement) and Carolee Schneemann (Meat Joy) used the human body itself as their medium, in efforts to demystify the human physical experience. But the most transcendental of all the modern performance artist is Stelarc, who declared the human body “obsolete”--after a decade of suspending his own body on fishhooks to show it from different perspectives and to relate it to natural gravitational laws—by connecting his mind to mechanical devices, he demonstrates that our bodies are no better than machines, and that machines have surpassed the body’s capabilities.
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