Examples of Political Geist:

Statues: Augustus of Prima Porta, from the early Roman Empire, c. 15 BC, and the previously discussed portrait head of the Yoruba King, c. 1200, reflect political propaganda issues as well. As both were commissioned by those kings/emperors themselves or by their successors, they reflect the need to be flattering and respect the ruler as symbol of his nation. The statue of Augustus depicts the first emperor of Rome as powerful. He wears a military breastplate and a skirt also appropriate to war. He holds a spear in his left hand. The muscles in his outstretched arm and legs are naturalistically depicted appropriate to a man of such weight and stature. But what about the face? How old is he? The face is without wrinkles, perfect in shape with almond eyes, straight nose, and lips no wider than the nostrils. Isnít that abstraction?

The perfection of the face does not match the middle-aged outstretched arm. And, what about that little person at his ankle? That is Cupid (from Valentineís Day fame). Augustus claimed that he could trace his family tree back to Aphrodite/Venus as she left Troy with the mortal Anchises. Therefore, Augustus believes that not only is he descended from the gods, but if Aphrodite were his great, great,......great grandmother, then Cupid is his cousin. So, in the sculpture, Cupid is giving Augustus the fist-pump - Go Augustus, go! Additionally, this sculpture was created when Augustus was more than middle-aged. From contemporary accounts, by the age of 60, Augustus had already moved out of the house (away from his shrew of a wife) and into an apartment over some storefronts. Augustus was described as having taken little care of his personal appearance. He never brushed his teeth, combed his hair, or changed his clothes. But that is not the narrative represented here! As in the earlier example of the Yoruba King, Augustus must be eternally young, strong, muscular and masculine as he serves as a symbol of his nation. Again, art serves as an instrument of political propaganda.