Ancient Greek art

Greek art has influenced western art to the present

in city states (Athens) democracy evolved, as did abstract reasoning, inquiry, philosophy, poetry, and history

Greeks were exposed to drastic contrasts of climate and constant fear of invasion- this demanded strength and intelligence

man became the measure of all things and was portrayed with physical perfection, beauty and dignity

Greeks peopled the world with immortal gods who functioned like themselves.

Many works, particularly bronze and panel painting, are lost, and the color has faded from temples and carved figures

greek gods: 90% of all greek art was created in the name of pagan gods. Greek gods were anthropomorphic- they took on human form

anthropocentric- greeks saw the human person as the center of the universe

Nike was the winged goddess of victory associated with the goddess of wisdom Athena

painting and pottery

geometric style (900-700 bc)

all monumental wall monuments of ancient greece have been lost

what we know of the development of painting we know from the images on pottery

ex- mid 8th century amphora 2 handled greek vessel used to store olive oil, water, wine, or honey. Decorated in the meander pattern and some animal figures.

Three main categories of pottery:

  1. black figure
  2. red figure
  3. white ground

ex- black figure painting- achilles and ajax playing a board game

exehias- sculpter and painter (540-530 bc) it was signed by exehias

24 inches high achilles is on the left, he is the younger warrior and a hero

ex-herakles strangling the nemeon lion red figure amphora

signed by psiax 525bc

special effects:

  1. 3-d qualities of the figures
  2. artistís knowledge of the body structure
  3. use of foreshortening

foreshortening shows depth by making the body parts in inaccurate dimensions

ex-attich black figure hydra 520 bc red clay mfa in Boston

hydra has three handles, two for lifting and one for pouring

Greek sculpture

the archaic style 660-480 bc influenced by the Egyptians

kouros-boy unclothed kore-girl clothed

archaic smile raised cheekbone lips turned upwards

1st clearly recognizable facial feature in western art

shows greek interest in human form and character.

Ex- the rampin head 560 bc body of a horseman, note the texture of the beard and hair

early classical style 490-450 bc transition between archaic and classical

ex- the critos boy 480 bc marble 22 7/8 inches high best example of this period

new developments:

  1. turned head
  2. controposto stance: right leg forward, bent knee weight is shifted so right hip and shoulder are lowered, appears more relaxed
  3. rigid stance and frontality have been modified

ex- Poseidon/Zeus 450 bc bronze new technique, lost wax method

5th century classical 450-400 bc "the best style in the world"

the term classical means:

  1. ancient greek art
  2. art that has stood the test of time
  3. the perfect example of itís type
  4. a particular style or appearance

3 classical principals:

  1. the body beautiful
  2. the ideal
  3. mid way balance

the Greeks were the first to see the body as beautiful. They developed the nude model, who symbolized hero, purity, innocence. The shape, form, and pose of the body is beautiful. The greeks tried to sculpt the ideal person, not the real person

the idealized body:

  1. healthy
  2. able- physically capable
  3. youth cult 18-21 is ideal

the greek idealized head had equal feature (eyes, ears ect equal and similar) and a long, straight nose.

Mid way balance avoided extremes in movement, realism, emotion, and compassion

greek art was calm, contnet, natural but not detailed, and balance

ex- the doryphorus or spear bearer 440 bc by polyclitus of argos

his work is considered the embodiment of the classical style. This was a marble copy of a bronze original 6foot 11.5 inches high a spear was once stored in the left hand. the tree trunk and marble piece at the waste serve as supports

critos boy vs. Spear bearer spear bearer has more motion, controposto stance, more organic structure, more detail and attention to anatomical accuracy, head has changed

ears lower, nose straighter, chin narrower, circles of curls in the hair are eliminated

classical greek architecture the orders of decorative columns

Doric: oldest style, heavy plain capital with no base

Ionic: there is an elaborate base, columns are taller and more slender, the capital consists of a double scroll that crooks like a rams horn. Ionic is the most elegant order

Corinthian: most recent order, most elaborate. Originally used inside buildings. The capital looks like a basket with leaves coming out of it

traits of a greek temple:

  1. open: reflects to greeks open mindedness. Openness is created by the columns. The emphasis is on the outside of the temple.
  2. accessible - assessable on all sides, open with stairs, very unusual and is used to represent the democratic spirit.

Ex- the Parthenon located on the acropolis it is a doric temple 5th century bc

the acropolis is filled with temples and monuments designed by phidias, a great sculptor

there was a giant statue of athena. The archetects were ictinus and callicrates it was carefully designed to be balanced, harmonious, and beautiful it had 2 rooms, a treasury and a cella or naos- a room used to hold the statue of athena

the temple was meant to be seen from the outside only the priest and a few attendants were allowed inside. Religious ceremonies were often held outside in front of the building. Attention was placed on making the outside beautiful.

The three goddesses on the west pediment are an example of wet drapery, when the clothing appears as if it were wet and thus clings closely to the body

ex- the temple of Athena Nike 427-424 bc honors Athena as the goddess of victory

ex- Nike from the balustrade of the temple of Athena Nike A.K.A athena adjusting her sandal. Removing her sandals symbolizes her being on holy ground.

An example of wet drapery

ex-the erechtheum 421-405 north side of the acropolis a temple to Athena as the patron of the city most important monument of the ionic order best know for the porch of the maidens

caryatids: female statues that act as a column, the male equivalent is called an atlas

the head and shoulders are straight and the garment looks like fluting

late classical style:

ex- the theater of epidarus 350 bc

  1. ambulatory: passage around the theater
  2. stairway
  3. orchestra: occupied by dancers and chourus
  4. parados: side entrance used by chorus and public
  5. proscenium: stage
  6. skene: a temporary building used for actors behind the acting area

ex- hermes and dionysus 350-340 bc by praxiteles leading Athenians sculptor

hermes is messanger god, dionysus is wine god

mythology says hermes once dangles grapes in front of the infant dionysus

the statue has an s shape known as the "praxitelean curve" which defines their stance

difference from classical style: fleshier, softer skin, hair more deeply curves, forehead is creased, cheeks fuller

Hellenistic style 323-31 bc

harmony and ideal body give way to dynamisism, individuality, melodrama (high emotions, movement, sensationalization)

realistic portraits: aged, suffering, young, rigorous, private emotions and psychological states were portrayed for the first time, great leaders were portrayed with a stature formerly reserved for the gods.

Ex- winged victory or nike of samothrace c 190 bc located on the island of samothrace reminded the people of a naval victory in 306 made of marble, unknown artist

local coins have the image on them, telling us

  1. the goddess held a trumpet in one hand
  2. she held a trophy over her shoulder with her other hand
  3. this was originally on the bow of a ship

motion is show by the wind blown garment, the turn or twist of the body, and the bent knees. Texture is shown by the wings, satin like garment, and the skin on her neck

ex-laocoon and his 2 sons 2nd cent bc roman copy of a Byzantine original marble artist was from Rhodes it evokes horror and pity depicts a story from the trojan war

pain is expressed through facial contusion, body position, tension the muscles

ex- the dying Gaul 230-220 bc roman copy of Byzantine original, marble

a wounded man about to die the ethnicity of the man is shown by his face, the matted and greasy hair, the mustache, a the torque (a gaulís necklace) around his neck.

He appears weak, and has a gash in his side