In BBC2's 'How Art Made the World' (9th May 2005), it was suggested that artists have used exaggeration in the depiction of the human form throughout history.
I found this interesting, but it did not feel quite right. It missed an underlying principle. If we are exaggerating, why are we exaggerating?
It seems to me that it is not exaggeration that art strives for in the representation of the human form, it is simplification; extraction of the basic forms required for our concepts of human form (or anything else, for that matter). What is essential? This may lead to exaggeration of certain features. We are striving for the concept, rather than the image. How the object exists in our minds as a concept; a series of associations, notionally linked forms. We are trying to make in 2D or 3D, what 'human' is to us.