How Greece shaped our idea of the body beautiful

Our modern idea of the perfect body is largely unchanged from that of the Ancient Greeks. A new exhibition at the British Museum shows how little has changed in 2,500 years.

The Ancient Greeks were obsessed with the human body and how they could represent it – as a thing of beauty and a bearer of meaning.

The Defining Beauty exhibition at the British Museum gathers together works of art from prehistoric figurines to breathtakingly realistic sculptures of the age of Alexander the Great. It is remarkable how familiar the ideas of physical perfection they embody are to us today.

Natalie Haynes takes a look at the exhibition and talks to the British Museum’s director Neil MacGregor, Carlene Thomas-Bailey from Men’s Health Magazine and the academic Michael Squire to find out about the ancient ideas that still have an enormous impact on how we view ourselves and our bodies.

Secret Knowledge: The Body Beautiful screens on BBC World News on 6 and 7 June 2015.

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