The Implicit Politics of Physical Beauty and of Artistic Taste in the Aesthetics of Winckelmann
This essay argues that Winckelmann’s analysis of the “Greek profile,” a study of what he described as a critical feature in the facial contour of good Greek statues, has its implicit political issue relating to racism, anthropology, and social hierarchy. Focusing on this artistic-political nexus, I begin with the Greek profile, then consider how the superiority of Greek physiognomy and culture introduces factors of environmental privilege and racial superiority, and finally turn to the implicit politics of Winckelmann’s theory of artistic taste.
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