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Whether or not one feels that the story of Adam and Eve is a metaphysical allegory, the paintings certainly depict the final takeover of humanism over the idea of a Christian vision of God. What you ave shown is the placing of man in a position as his own god, from the readings of the ancient Greeks and Romans. The use of form, colour and metaphor are stunning and probably unmatched up to that time (mid 14th century onwards), or since (in my opinion). Stunning is the only word I can come up with.

 

Man seen through a poetic lens - the bellybutton is of little importance here.

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I my opinion, Adam and Eve represent the symbolic transition between the pre-humans, who looked human (physically and genetically) and the more modern humans (different mind set). Adam and Eve represented the change within the brain and mind that allowed civilization to form. Neanderthals did not have the brain/mind configuration for civilization even if they had similar genes to humans. Adam and Eve represent when the human mind changed from the pre-humans; became more godlike.

 

If you think about forming the first civilization, when there was no precedent and no "how-to book" to get started, this process required a fundamental change within the pre-human mind, away from the old school animal based selective advantage for genetics, into the unprecedented needs of selective advantage for the group.

 

If we applied social Darwinism, to the beginning of the first civilization it could never have got over the hump, even if this maximized genetics. Civilization was not about trying to maximize genes. It was about maximizing the brain/mind/ group.

 

Let me give an analogy. Say there were 6 men rowing a boat. Civilization is analogous to them putting aside their animal impulses so they can willfully work as a team. They can not all move to the beat of their own instinctive drums, stop when they want, go for a swim, take a food break, etc., or they would row out of synch. One can not depend on the way of the animals and row the boat successfully. The mind set needs to be different. The animals don't have the right stuff for civilization, or else they would form it. Adam and Eve symbolized the transition, when the boat started to move forward in spite of most of the rowers out of synch.

 

In modern times, civilization is well established and has developed a huge capacitance through laws and institutions. Science has re-introduced "like an animal", since it is part of being human. Even if many of us row out of synch, full or part time, the momentum and the time proportion of human rowers keeps the boat of civilization moving forward. But we can't all be like the animals, all the time, or the boat would stop.

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Should they be without a bellybutton? If you made a human without using a woman's womb to do so, would that human have a bellybutton? I would think so. I mean, the could have been created without a nose, or a bellybutton, etc., but for what purpose?

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The belly button is there, because the artist is not saying Adam and Eve were not part of biological evolution. The change symbolized by Adam and Eve occurred within the mind, allowing the right stuff needed to begin something that was unprecedented in evolution; civilization.

 

If you look at the photo linked to Lib-art, notice pre-humans in the background, who look the same as Adam and Eve, but who didn't yet have the sense/mind of Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve had free choice unlike the rest.

 

Later in the story of Genesis; Cain (farmer) and Abel (herder), Cain is sent away for killing Abel (farming supersedes herding which plant the roots needed to begin civilization).

 

Cain complains whoever shall come upon me shall kill me. Cain was referring to the pre-humans. They could act like advanced animals but were not subject to the same level of reason. God gives Cain a sign (talisman) which could spooked the pre-humans, so they leave Cain be; they feared this civilized item since it was never in nature. I assume Cain mates with the pre-human females since they look like him, with his children and children's children gradually getting the new mind/brain.

 

If you look at modern civilization, it is not centered on genetics but on the brain. For example, how much is spend caring for conditions associated with genetic defects? If genetics was the motivation, like in nature, the amount spent should be zero, since that would progress genetics. But since the mind and brain is the primary foundation of culture, genetic defects are more of an inconvenience, that the mind is increasingly able to overcome. Adam and Eve began this new mindset; mind over matter. God is historically ethereal, like thoughts, and not physical like biology.

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The belly button is there, because the artist is not saying Adam and Eve were not part of biological evolution. The change symbolized by Adam and Eve occurred within the mind, allowing the right stuff needed to begin something that was unprecedented in evolution; civilization.

 

I think you are reading way too much into it. The Lib-Art work (for example) was painted in 1520. Your argument rests on the artist having a symbolic knowledge of evolutionary theory, something that is highly unlikely.

 

A far more likely, albeit less prosaic explanation is that the artist was going to paint Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve are people and all the people he ever saw had belly buttons. Therefore he painted them with belly buttons.

 

Your Cain and Abel idea is pure conjecture. The first books of the Bible were first written, as far as we can tell, around 800BC. The transition to combined agriculture with dedicated farmland occured at least 8,000 years before that. (A recent report using genetics put the movement of farmers into Britain at 10,000 years BP.)

 

For the idea to stand up, you have to presume that the oral history was passed down quite accurately for 8,000 years. Highly unlikely. You are also presupposing that the storytellers of 10,000 years ago understood the societal relevence of the shift to agriculture and thought it worthy of recording in the oral histories.

 

In essence, you are suggesting that one of the first things developed by a stable, farming culture were rather advanced thinking cultural historians. I doubt the truth of this idea.

 

jimmydasaint, while I generally agree with your comment, some of the ancient artisans were at least as good as those who came after. Recent excavations in alexandria came up with this statue a couple of years ago.

black-granite-statue.jpg

 

It's in black granite and dates from the Ptolemaic period and is roughly life size. Notice the form and musculature showing through the thin veil of material. It is clearly a woman wearing a semi transparent dress, but carved out of granite? I believe this to be one of the under rated wonders of the ancient art world. It is simply magnificent.

 

For those in the US who are interested, the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia will have a collection on display from June 5th 2010 to January 2nd 2011.

Link here. This piece is among the 250 odd items on display. At $26 a ticket, this is extremlt cheap and I'm frankly bloody jealous.

 

I would urge anybody here to make the time to see this exhibit as it is going to truly be a "once in a lifetime" opportunity.

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michel123456, the statue first came to my notice in an archaeological article on the Alexandria digs. The picture above doesn't do it justice. My purely personal opinion is that this unknown artist was at least the equal of Michaelangelo. To create such an effect in granite using rather primitive tools is nothing short of genius.

 

I found the picture above by using a Google images search for Franck Goddio, the lead archaeologist for the underwater explorations.

Here.

 

It's well worth looking through some pictures as the quantity, size and quality of the statuary and other items found is truly staggering.

 

The digs have also shown us that we have vastly underestimated the size of the quakes that destroyed this amazing city. Adjoining parts of columns have been found separated by up to 200 metres. It takes a lot of force to chuck a 1 ton block that far.

 

Egypt gets 11% of it's GDP from tourism and is going all out with new and amazing museums. The new "Great Library" is already open. The "Grand Egyptian Museum" is due to open in 2012, with space for 100,000 artifacts and 100,000 square metres of floorspace.

 

Plans for a new underwater museum in Alexandria have hit some funding problems, but I have no real doubt that it will go ahead. It's too good a moneyspinner not to. Designs are at the architects site here. A perfect complement to the New Library.

 

Expect to see the museum battles heat up soon as Egypt attempts to get the Rosetta Stone back from the Brits and the marvellous Nefertiti bust back from the Berlin Museum as well as other items from around the world.

 

Cheers.

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Egypt is the source of an outstanding civilization. But you must know that Ptolemaic dynasty is Greek, including Cleopatra. http://www.lightnet.co.uk/informer/civilisations/images/mdf81739.jpg

The statue you showned is a wonderful mix of egyptian & greek art, showing a Kore (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kore_(sculpture) like a Kouros (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kouros), I mean a Kore was always represented dressed, and a kouros always naked.

 

Come to Greece and discover the brand new acropolis museum http://www.theacropolismuseum.gr/?pname=Home&la=2

 

BTW there must be some mistake in the following fragment from your link:

"French underwater archaeologist Franck Goddio looks up at the 1200-year-old statue of the Greek Goddess Isis after it was pulled from the sea by his team, June 3."

 

The statue must be 2300 years old.

And how is it possible to be in such a clean appearance after 2300 years under water?

mdf81739.jpg

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Yes, I did know the Ptolemys were Greek.;) I simply referred to them as Egyptian artifacts because of where they were found. Artisticly speaking the Ptolomaic period, as you say, produced an amazing synthesis of Greek and Egyptian art.

 

The statue is often referred to as a "Queen" depicted as Isis. I sincerely hope they manage to find the rest of her.

 

As to the statue, have a look at some of the other pics. They are mostly unusually clear of debris. However the harbour is shallow, generally less than 25 feet deep. It has been virtually fully surrounded by breakwaters since the fall of the city, so there will be little soil swept in by currents. No rivers or streams empty into the harbour so river sediment isn't a problem.

 

Underwater pics show a lack of seaweed or other growths, so the cleanliness of the statues isn't too surprising.

 

The New Acropolis Museum is something my wife and I hope to see in the next couple of years. Greece is on our list, and by the time we get there, I'm hoping a Trireme has surfaced.;)

 

BTW, I believe the Greek government is seriously pushing for the return of the Elgin Marbles. Good luck.

Edited by JohnB
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14679194.jpg

 

This trireme is a replica you can see at the Marina Flisvou of Athens.

In Google Earth at 37°56'3.78",23°41'7.83"

 

I have a friend Greek born in Alexandria. He told me when he was young, swimming at the coast, he could see remnants of the old town a few meters beneath the surface.

 

Thank you for the info & for the wishes.

The Greek government is pushing for years. If they succeed, it will be the start of the end for the glorious history of the British Museum. Our british friends are not really pleased with the idea.

 

As for the belly button, I am not interested at all. Thanks to Externet for having the great intuition of not mentioning the exact purpose of his thread in its title. It was a great opportunity, I learned something.


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I read some articles about Franck Goddio. He is not an archeologist and there seems to be some distance between french archeologists and him. Jean-Yves Empereur , his eminent archeologist collaborator, don't speak with him for a while, for an unknown reason. In some article, it is said that people in Alexandria knew quite well about Goddio findings, since he took them out of the sea some year ago before putting them back, and then making the great discovery.

That does not smell good.

Edited by michel123456
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Recent excavations in alexandria came up with this statue a couple of years ago.

http://z.about.com/d/goeurope/1/0/c/8/1/black-granite-statue.jpg

 

It's in black granite and dates from the Ptolemaic period and is roughly life size. Notice the form and musculature showing through the thin veil of material. It is clearly a woman wearing a semi transparent dress, but carved out of granite? I believe this to be one of the under rated wonders of the ancient art world. It is simply magnificent.

Some images of a beauty truly do transcend time. That's really quite amazing... astounding, even.

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