"Art for art's sake a nineteenth-century motto that permeated European cultures, would have been unthinkable in Greek and Roman antiquity (notwithstanding its arbitrary translation into Latin Ars gratis artis in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer logo.) The cult of beauty -- art divorced from immediate utility, beauty that transcends time and the gratuitousness and immediacy of artistic creation -- are cultural constructs of our time that we improperly attribute to the Greeks. But if we want to understand classical art, we have to think of it as useful not useless, functional not superfluous, narrative rather than aesthetic"
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