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Ancient Greek Art

Ancient Greek art occupies a pride of place in the annals of the greatest artworks of the world. The artistic exploits of the ancient Greek people has continued to mesmerize one and all throughout the ages with their myriad manifestations of charm, aristocracy, grace and sheer opulence. It is no wonder that ancient Greek art has influenced the course of art to a massive extent.  

The Time Period Of Ancient Greek Art

Ancient Greek art boasts of a rich artistic lineage, dating back to the Minoan prehistorical civilization, spanning a dizzy duration of about 4000 years. The time period of ancient Greek art can be further divided into the Archaic, the Classical and the Hellenistic periods.

Influences On Ancient Greek Art

Western Classical art, was influenced by the artistic traditions of the East, the then emerging religion of Christianity, the Renaissance ideals, the Italian ideologies of the Romanticist Era and the Ancient artwork of Greece.

The subjects depicted in the myriad forms of ancient Greek artwork range from the high ideals like bravery, heroism, and liberty to religious beliefs that they held and images of their Gods and Goddesses and from playful rendering of beautiful young men and women to athletic meets and battles.

Ancient Greek art has in turn exerted considerable influence on the course of how art has developed throughout the world. Thus you can discern Greek artistic strains in the artwork of the Romans and cultural exchanges during the time of Alexander the Great led to the Greek artistic traditions making inroads as far as the Far East. The humanistic traits and the high standards of craftsmanship inherent in ancient Greek art have been sources of inspiration for generations of Europeans artists. 

Greek art is primarily in four forms: architecture, sculpture, painting and pottery.

Ancient Greek Architecture and Sculpture

Ancient Greek architecture has earned recognition all throughout the world for the sheer grandeur and the exquisite artistry that the edifices portray. But sadly enough, there are not many relics left of ancient Greek architecture, what with the almost incessant wars, widespread looting and the havoc wrought in by the earthquakes. In fact, there are no remnants left of the Four Wonders of the World erected by the Greek architects, which are the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Colossus of Rhodes and Lighthouse of Alexandria.

The Archaic variety of ancient Greek sculpture was characterized by crude and hard lines and forms, while the Classical period saw the advent of more refined and realistic shapes and lines. In the Hellenistic period the sculptural traits of the Greek artisans bordered on the highly ornamental and the intricate.

To elaborate, in the Archaic period (800-500 BC), the most common form of a statue was a human figurine in some kind of a rigid posture, with a stiffer smile playing on the lips. The statues were somewhat after Egyptian sculptures, complete with a slight smile, extended palms and the fist clasped.

This tradition had quite a shift in the Classical period with the sculptors concentrating more on achieving a life-like fidelity in their creations. The stiffness also gave way to more fluidity in the bodily expressions, while the wistful smile was replaced by a grave look.

In the Hellenistic period, the Greek artist wielded more freedom of expression with grand designs, quirky plays of light and shadow and quite spectacular facial emotional and bodily postures.

Ancient Greek Painting and Painted Pottery

The ancient Greeks held paintings in high esteem. The Greek painters usually worked on wooden panels and also on pottery. However, much of the disappointment of the posterity, there isn’t much of remnants, except for a few pieces of terracotta works and a few paintings on the walls of the tombs in Macedonia and Italy. Amongst all the ancient Greek painters, Polygnotus of Thasos is the most renowned.

Ancient Greek art has, in many ways, charted the course of art all around the world and still continues to bring out the wide-eyed stares and gasps from the onlookers.

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