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How Art Made the World episode 4 First Stories
in Stone

Greeks and
Their Epics

Storytelling
Aboriginal Style

scholar:

D. Attenborough
Power of Images and Sound
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Greeks and Their Epics
Greeks and Their Epics

The Greeks had a rich tradition of evocative storytelling, and there was one epic story they loved to visualize above all others - Homer's tale of Odysseus. On the coastline of Sperlonga in Southern Italy, Greek artist converted an enormous cave into a dinning room where guests would sit amongst enormous sculptures and be fed and entertained with stories. The sculptures where not there just for ornamentation, but rather to help visualize the storytelling.

The sculptors have chosen to show the moment of maximum tension right before the spear went into the single eye

One giant sculpture illustrated an incident in the dramatic story of Odysseus' encounter with the Cyclops, where Odysseus and his men are driving a wooden stake into the Cyclops' single eye. The sculptors have chosen to show the moment of maximum tension - right before the spear went into the single eye - because it is at this moment that the character's emotions are the most revealing. And by depicting realistic emotions, this is no longer a story that just tells you what happened, but how it happened. It has psychological motivation. It shows you what people are feeling and marks a crucial step in the history of visual story telling.

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Storytelling Predates Hollywood
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