Category Archives: Aesthetics

Athens’ Royal Gardens

Did you know that most ornamental plants of the National Gardens come from Genova, Italy?

King Ludwig I of Bavaria
King Ludwig I of Bavaria

When King Ludwig of Bavaria came to Athens to visit his son (King Otto), he was surprised by the complete lack of green areas in the little town of Athens!
Queen Amalia, consort of King Otto, worked tirelessly to lay out and complete the Royal Gardens. With the help of the great Bavarian architect Friedrich von Gartner, the gardens start to take shape. The aim was to find plants that could flourish on the ancient, relatively dry soil of Attica.

Friedrich von Gaertner
Friedrich von Gaertner

In autumn 1839, the Greek sail ship ‘Phoenix’ sailed from the port of Genova, heading straight to the port of Peiraeus. The ship carried 15,000 ornamental plants!Royal Gardens palm

Royal Gardens flowers Thousands of flowers, trees and seedlings from Genovese gardens were brought to Athens and the Bavarian gardener Schmarat, with the help of the Prussian gardener Friedrich Schmidt, gathered more local plants and flowers from the south part of Attica (Sounion). Their vision was to create the most beautiful gardens at the south of Europe.

Queen Amalia planted herself seeds of palm trees that in 1842 she brought from the United States (a genus of palms native to the southwestern US). Most of them still stand tall today!

Why even care about Art?

Great nations write their autobiographies in three manuscripts

—the book of their deeds, the book of their words, and the book of their art.

Not one of these books can be understood unless we read the two others;

but of the three the only quite trustworthy one is the last.

JOHN RUSKIN, St. Mark’s Rest: The History of Venice

Ruskin
A Londoner who reinvented how we see art…

Bodybuilding & aesthetics

(The following excerpt is from an article written by Marc Magna and was published at bodybuilding.com on Apr 07, 2014)

The ancient Greeks taught us many things: democracy, philosophy, and perhaps most important to the bodybuilding community, the idea of aesthetic sensibility. To the ancient Greeks, symmetry was beauty—a rule evidenced by their architecture, art, and ideal physique.

Youth of AntikethyraThis ideal male form—as imagined in sculptures, paintings, and drawings— was usually made with a wide chest, broad shoulders, and a thick back placed upon a slim waist. The legs were muscular, but not overly huge. Everything was balanced and proportionate.

According to the ancient Greeks, the ideal male physique should have these measurements: the arms should be 2.5 times the circumference of the wrist, the calves 1.9 times the ankle size, the thighs 1.75 times the knee, the shoulders 1.6 times the waist, and the neck 2.5 times the wrist. A man’s build should also be athletic and lean.

The Greeks believed in these proportions for three reasons:

Marc Megna
Marc Megna

to perform athletically and in battle, to live a long time with good health, and to be attractive in order to pass along genetics. I can’t argue with these goals. They seem to reflect what many gym-goers want for themselves: a body that looks, feels, and performs better.