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Emanuele Alberto Cirello

Emanuele Alberto Cirello


Total Article : 76

About Me:I am a Year 13 student which aspires to be an architect. I am interested in anything I don't yet know, and I mostly write about art, politics , Italian culture and inspirational people, although I will try to write for as many categories possible, just to test myself and get to know more things.

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Dynamism and the human figure: an introduction

The word dynamism refers to an object characterised by vigorous activity and movement. Dynamism, in its purely mechanic meaning, refers to a body or an object that is moving in a direction due to a force or torque which causes motion. In the world of Physics, dynamics and dynamism are very important for the understanding the material world. The concept of dynamism is also very popular in philosophy, where it is mostly considered as progression of human nature, and often revolves around variation, alteration, selfhood and relationships of human nature with the natural world. Dynamism is therefore a topic dealt with by a variety of disciplines, and interpretations of it can be found all across Figurative Arts too.

In the History of Art, dynamism plays a key role in the understanding of the human figure, which is the medium through which dynamism is expressed. From the static "kouros" of the greek archaic period to the fluidity of motion in 20th century futurist sculptures by artists like Umberto Boccioni.

The human figure is one of the most relevant and popular subjects in the History of Art: since the birth of figurative art, man has tried to depict its own figure, from drawing on cave walls, onto wooden boards and onto canvases. The depiction of the human figure can be used not only to analyse the development of processes and techniques throughout centuries, but it can also be used to understand how the human figure was perceived. From the perfect depictions of classical and neo classical sculpture, Renaissance paintings and hyper-realistic portraiture to Impressionist sculptures and portraits. The variety in styles and depictions shows that the subject of the human figure has been heavily affected by previous artistic influences and social and historical context.

It is fascinating to see that the relationship between dynamism and the human figure is evident in every piece of art that has the human figure as a subject. Considering that, anything in our material world, when talking about dynamism, stasis comes into play; therefore, any type of human figure has something to do with dynamics even if it is depicted as resting. Stasis and motion are the two opposite ends in the realm of dynamism, following logical thinking, and therefore in art the range of depiction of dynamism is extensive.

The human figure is very complex; capturing it in a dynamic way is challenging as many factors influence the depiction of motion. When depicting a body in motion there are always limitations. In painting, the motion of the subject is impossible to depict on a bi-dimensional surface; with sculpture, the figure is depicted in a three dimensional way, although it is static as the mass of the artwork is immovable. Therefore there have always been experimentations to depict motion, ranging from photography, painting and sculpture. In this series of articles, I will explore how through each discipline dynamism and the human figure are depicted, and how through history, such depictions have evolved and changed in relation of their artistic context and contemporary movements.

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