Ancient Greek The increased wealth of Greece in the 7th century bc was enhanced by overseas trade and by colonizing activity in Italy and Sicily that had opened new markets and resources. Athens did not send out colonists and did not engage in vigorous trade, and it declined as a cultural and artistic centre. Corinth, Sparta, the islands, the cities of eastern Greece, and Crete came to the fore with their diverse artistic interests and means of expression. At no other time were there such strongly differentiated regional schools of art in the Greek world.
Art and Architecture One popular form of Greek art was pottery. Vases, vessels, and kraters served both practical and aesthetic purposes. This krater depicts Helios, the sun god, and dates from the 5th century B. The arts reflect the society that creates them. Nowhere is this truer than in the case of the ancient Greeks.
Through their temples, sculpture, and pottery, the Greeks incorporated a fundamental principle of their culture: To the Greeks, arete meant excellence and reaching one's full potential. Ancient Greek art emphasized the importance and accomplishments of human beings. Even though much of Greek art was meant to honor the gods, those very gods were created in the image of humans.
Much artwork was government sponsored and intended for public display. Therefore, art and architecture were a tremendous source of pride for citizens and could be found in various parts of the city. Typically, a city-state set aside a high-altitude portion of land for an acropolis, an important part of the city-state that was reserved for temples or palaces.
The Greeks held religious ceremonies and festivals as well as significant political meetings on the acropolis. Photograph courtesy of www. The Acropolis In ancient Athens, Pericles ordered the construction of several major temples on the acropolis.
Among these was a temple, the Parthenon, which many consider the finest example of Greek architecture. Built as a tribute to Athena, the goddess of wisdom for whom the city-state Athens was named, the Parthenon is a marvel of design, featuring massive columns contrasting with subtle details.
Three different types of columns can be found in ancient Greek architecture. Whether the Doric, Ionic, or Corinthian style was used depended on the region and the purpose of the structure being built. Many barely noticeable enhancements to the design of the Parthenon contribute to its overall beauty and balance.
For example, each column is slightly wider in the middle than at its base and top. The columns are also spaced closer together near the corners of the temple and farther apart toward the middle.
In addition, the temple's steps curve somewhat — lower on the sides and highest in the middle of each step. Sadly, time has not treated the Parthenon well. In the 17th century, the Turks, who had conquered the Greeks, used the Parthenon to store ammunition.
An accidental explosion left the Parthenon with no roof and in near ruin. In later years, tourists hauled away pieces of the Parthenon as vacation souvenirs. Beauty in the Human Form Ancient Greek sculptures were typically made of either stone or wood and very few of them survive to this day.
Most Greek sculpture was of the freestanding, human form even if the statue was of a god and many sculptures were nudes.
The Greeks saw beauty in the naked human body. Early Greek statues called kouros were rigid and stood up straight. Over time, Greek statuary adopted a more natural, relaxed pose with hips thrust to one side, knees and arms slightly bent, and the head turned to one side.
Other sculptures depicted human action, especially athletics. A good example is Myron's Discus Thrower Another famous example is a sculpture of Artemis the huntress. The piece, called "Diana of Versailles," depicts the goddess of the hunt reaching for an arrow while a stag leaps next to her.
Among the most famous Greek statues is the Venus de Milo, which was created in the second century B. The sculptor is unknown, though many art historians believe Praxiteles to have created the piece.
This sculpture embodies the Greek ideal of beauty. The ancient Greeks also painted, but very little of their work remains. The most enduring paintings were those found decorating ceramic pottery.
Two major styles include red figure against a black background and black figure against a red background pottery.Temple Architecture.
With its rectangular stone platform, front and back porches (the pronaos and the opisthodomos) and rows of columns, the Parthenon was a commanding example of Greek temple architecture.
Typically, the people of ancient Greece did not worship inside their temples as we do today. The Art & Architecture of Ancient Greece: An illustrated account of classical Greek buildings, sculptures and paintings, shown in glorious photographs and drawings Mar 16, by Nigel Rodgers.
Ancient Greek Architecture Of all the ancient architectural styles, Greek architecture has proven to be the most enduring. Sure, the Egyptians built some impressive structures, and the Romans. Ancient Greek art stands out among that of other ancient cultures for its development of naturalistic but idealized depictions of the human body, in which largely nude male figures were generally the .
The architecture of ancient Greece is the architecture produced by the Greek-speaking people (Hellenic people) whose culture flourished on the Greek mainland, the Peloponnese, the Aegean Islands, and in colonies in Anatolia and Italy for a period from about BC until the 1st century AD, with the earliest remaining architectural works dating from around BC.
Other articles where Greek art is discussed: architecture: Places of worship: or reserved for priests; in ancient Greece it contained an accessible cult image, but services were held outside the main facade; and in the ancient Near East and in the Mayan and Aztec architecture of ancient Mexico, where the temple was erected at the summit of .