Ancient Civilization and Representation of Human Body in Art

Art movements have spanned centuries, and the development and depiction of the human form have taken numerous approaches. Notably, different artists have illustrated the human body based on the ideologies developed during that era. Thus, it is essential to look at the past and analyze how artists from different ancient civilizations choose to depict the human body and how they rendered it, whether in painting or sculpture.

The depiction of the human form in art is seen as early as the prehistoric age or the Old Stone Age. During this era, art included cave paintings, shell necklaces, and human and animal forms. Artists used the human form to convey messages regarding their society. For instance, the Venus of Willendorf is a prehistoric sculpture of a female figure (Witcombe, n.d.). The artist’s emphasis was on the woman’s voluptuous features, including the face, breasts, and hips, which are interpreted as a depiction of fertility and capability to perform different duties in the society.

Egyptian art portrays the human body in a simple, 2D manner that utilizes a set of colors. As Glausiusz (2010) elucidate, ancient Egypt’s depiction of the human form in their art relied on principles inherent to the Egyptian viewpoint rather than the modern view. Their use of static, abstract, and formal nature of humans in many of their imagery portrays their approach as more naturalistic than Greek art. In their art, the human form was depicted from an extreme perspective, with large heads accompanied by drooping features, narrowing shoulders and waist, a small torso, a drooping belly, large buttocks, and short legs and arms, such as the one depicted in the painting known as Last judgment of Hu-Nefer (Principles of Egyptian Art, n.d.).

Near East art also embraced the depiction of the human form uniquely. Notably, rulers, such as kings, appeared in those arts due to their affluence and wealth that allowed them to pay for art (Cheng & Feldman, 2007). Though different artists adopted various styles, there were common characteristics in how they represented human figures. Usually, powerful men appeared in long garments compared to the workers who wore headdresses and wielded weapons (Cheng & Feldman, 2007). Additionally, their art showed men with long and curly beards to show their manliness or power. An ideal example of Near East’s depiction of the human form is the Stele with the law code of Hammurabi sculpture.

Ancient Greece is renowned for many artworks that remain appreciated to date. Greek artists employed an exquisite style in depicting the human body. Statues, both covered and nude, were used to appreciate the full beauty of the human body. Importantly, Greek artists provided rich details of the human body (Macaulay, 2015). For instance, the statue of Aphrodite of Knidos is an ideal example of the beauty and sensuousness of Greek art since it depicts the physical aspects of the human form in outstanding details.

Artists in the Ancient Aegean culture had a strong liking for marble and shapes. For instance, the National Archeological Museum of Athens preserved a figurine of a nude woman from Syros, demonstrating the beauty of Aegean art (Kleiner, 2013). Besides sculptures, Aegean culture also used paintings to represent their appreciation for the human form. In their paintings, men were represented as having dark features while women were painted with a fair complexion.

Since ancient ages, the human body has remained at the center of art. Through the eons, different artists have used their unique styles to depict the human body. While ancient artists depicted the human body as an appreciation of beauty, the same was used to show the customs and social structure within these societies.




Cheng, J. & Feldman, M. (2007). Ancient Near Eastern art in context: Studies in honor of Irene J. Winter by her students. In Culture and history of the Ancient Near East (Vol. 26). Leiden, Netherlands: Brill Publishers.

Principles of Egyptian Art. (n.d.). Royal Society of Chemistry. Retrieved from

Glausiusz, J. (2010). Body image in Ancient Egypt. Nature, 463(7), 34.

Macaulay, A. (2015, May 17). The body beautiful: The classical ideal in Ancient Greek art. The New York Times. Retrieved from

Kleiner, F. S. (2013). Gardner’s Art through the ages, Volume 1: The Western perspective. Cengage Learning.

Witcombe, C. L. C. E. (n.d.). Portfolio: Venus de Willendorf. Retrieved from

Friend Essay
Calculate your paper price
Pages (550 words)
Approximate price: -

Why Work with Us

High Quality Essays

FriendEssay helps with essay papers for all levels of academic courses such as high school, undergraduate or graduate level assignments (any subject). The Asssignment writers at Friend Essays have years of experience in helping students write their essays with expertise in various fields like Engineering, Economics, Marketing etc. You can trust our essay writers to take care of your work without any mistakes or plagiarism. Whether you need a simple 5-page essay or an extensive thesis paper on a complex topic - we will do it with professionalism, accuracy, and skill.

Experienced Academic Writers

All of our paper writers are native English speakers with at least three years’ experience in essay writing. They know what they are doing when it comes to essay formatting requirements for the different types of papers; MLA, APA or Harvard formats - we can handle them all without any difficulty whatsoever.

Free Unlimited Revisions

Paper modifications are like a breath of fresh air! If you need any revisions done on your paper, simply click the revision button and we will happily help.

Swift Delivery and 100% Money Back Guarantee

Friend essay is different from other essay writing companies because they are the only company in the world that offers a money back guaranty on any order!

Original and Confidential

We're committed to making sure that all documents we produce for you are 100% original. Not only do our editors check every quotation in a text, but they also promise the utmost confidentiality with each document service.

24/7 Customer Support

The customer support agents at our company are always available to help you. They can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and will work hard each time they try to get in touch with you so that the experience is as good as it gets.

Try it now!

Calculate the price of your order

Total price:

How it works?

Follow these simple steps to get your paper done

Place your order

Fill in the order form and provide all details of your assignment.

Proceed with the payment

Choose the payment system that suits you most.

Receive the final file

Once your paper is ready, we will email it to you.

Our Services

Looking for online essay writer to do an assignment for you? FriendEssay offers a wide range of academic help service such as admission essay writing, research paper help, dissertation writing among others. Simply place an order to get a discount today!


Homework Help Services

The best part is that we offer essay help on any topic - whether it's literature, history, math or even philosophy! Our specialists know their way around these subjects like no other which means they'll take care of your work as if it were their own and get back to you with quality essays within the time frame specified by our customer service team.


Business and Admission Essay

For those seeking professional business writing services such as resume writing, business plan writing, admission essays writing, we are also here for you. We have professionals in distinct business areas who have handled all types of business needs. So, worry no more.


Articles and Blog Writing Services

We also specialize in article and blog writing services, so if you're looking to get some content published on the web and need a reliable content writer, simple check the “help with my assignment” service from!


Editing Support

Whether you need someone who will write an essay from scratch on a topic of your choice or if you want us to edit one already written by yourself, FriendEssay has talented professionals available 24/seven so there's never any essay help delay