Sunday, September 29, 2019

Greek Art

Ancient Greek Art: Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic By: Catherine Marten CLA3114 sect. 02D3 Spring 2013 Art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, usually through visual forms. Art in ancient Greece went through a variety of changes throughout its history, especially from the Archaic to the Hellenistic periods. These changes are mainly due to the different views in Greek society that developed throughout these periods.The art of the Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic eras in ancient Greece are examples of how the philosophical views of the ancient Greeks changed and developed from 600-31 BCE and are still influencing views on art today. The art of ancient Greece during the Archaic era (600-480 BCE) made a shift from the earlier geometric forms of patterns and shapes to a more realistic form with large human sculptures being the focus. Many of the sculptures of this era seem to reflect an Egyptian influence from the East. The Archaic style of scu lpture was stiff and blocky like that of the Egyptians' sculptures.The two most prominent types of sculptures of this time were the male â€Å"kouros†, or standing youth, and the female â€Å"kore†, or standing draped maiden1. These large limestone statues were usually made as dedications to the gods or as grave markers. They could be found at funeral monuments outside of the city walls. Among the earliest examples of the type, the kouros in the Metropolitan Museum reveals Egyptian influence in both its pose and proportions2. The statues of the Archaic period were not always made to depict specific individuals.Instead, they exemplified the ancient Greek's new view of beauty and perfection. They were always statues of young men and women that ranged in age between adolescence and maturity. The male statues were usually not clothed and the female statues were clothed. This was most likely because the Greeks did not approve of female nudity in public. Another art form tha t emerged in the Archaic era was that of red figure pottery. It was invented in Athens around 530 BCE3. This style of pottery was characterized by red figures on a black background, where the figures were created in the original red of the clay.This allowed for more details to be seen in the pottery than with the earlier black figure technique because lines could be drawn onto the figures rather than being scraped out. The firing process of both red and black figure pottery was the same. It consisted of three stages. The first stage was called the oxidizing stage where air was allowed into the furnace. This resulted in the whole vase turning the color of the clay. In the second stage, green wood was introduced into the chamber and the oxygen supply was reduced. This caused the object to turn black in the smoky surroundings.In the third stage, air was reintroduced into the furnace which resulted in certain portions turning back to red while the glossed areas remained black. The red f igure technique gradually replaced the black figure technique as innovators recognized the possibilities that came with drawing forms4. Again, the images looked more realistic than previous art forms because of the more natural look of anatomy and garments. Painted vases were often made into different shapes for specific uses. A vase used for storing and transporting wine and food was called an â€Å"amphora†.A vase used for drawing water was called a â€Å"hydria†, and one used for drinking wine or water was called a â€Å"kantharos† or â€Å"kylix†4. The subject matter of red figure vases varied greatly from portraits of the gods and heroes, to depictions of every day Athenian life5. This, in turn, led to result in an archaeological record of historical, social, and mythological information of ancient Greece. The pictorial decorations provide insights into many aspects of Greek life and complement some of the literary texts and inscriptions from the Arc haic and, especially, Classical eras6.The Classical era (480-323 BCE) showed more advancements in the art of sculpture. The main subjects of Classical sculpture were young and athletic men with a heavy emphasis on the details of the human body. Unlike the stiff and upright sculptures of the Archaic style, Classical sculptures were more naturalistic and oriented in positions that suggested movement. The fluidity of the sculptures reflected the freedom of movement and expression that was associated with an introduction of democracy7. The aim of the Classical style was perfection.This resulted in many of the faces of the statues looking the same which made it difficult to identify who the statue depicted at times. However, the subjects of the sculptures in the Classical era were specific people or gods, rather than just a generic young man or woman like in the Archaic era. The sculpture style of the Classical period started using marble and bronze to make the statues. Bronze, valued fo r its strength and beauty, became the preferred medium for freestanding sculptures. However, many of the original statues seem to have disappeared in history.This is most likely because they were found to be of great value. These famous statues are known of through ancient literature and Roman copies later made. Greek artists of the Classical era attained a manner of representation that conveys a vitality of life as well as a sense of permanence, clarity, and harmony8. Polykleitos of Argos was particularly famous for formulating a system of proportions that achieved this artistic effect and allowed others to reproduce it. The Classical period also saw the start of sculptors becoming well known for their works.One sculptor named Phidias created a statue of the goddess Athena made of ivory and gold which was housed inside the Parthenon in Athens. It was later stolen and no longer exists today. He is also well known for overseeing the design and building of the famous Parthenon which i s an artwork in itself. Another sculpture that Phidias is famous for is the Statue of Zeus in the Temple of Zeus found in Olympia. It, too, was made of ivory and gold and was eventually lost just like the statue of Athena. Another sculptor named Praxiteles was an Athenian who became famous for creating the nude Aphrodite of Knidos.This statue was one of the first statues showing a woman nude rather than draped in cloth. Its slender proportions and distinctive contrapposto stance became hallmarks of fourth century B. C. Greek sculpture8. The Hellenistic era (323-31 BCE) followed the conquests of Alexander the Great, and Greek culture started to spread more east to as far as India. During this period, Greek sculpture became even more naturalistic than in the Classical era. Young men and women were no longer the only subjects of sculpture. Instead, common people, children, elderly, and animals were subjects.There were even representations of unorthodox subjects, such as grotesques9. Sc ulptors no longer felt obliged to depict people as having ideal beauty or being perfect. Instead, heavy emotion and movement were the focus. Pain and fear were shown on the faces of figures and battle scenes were even carved into relief sculptures for temples. Sculpture eventually became somewhat of an industry during this era which resulted in some lowering of quality10. Because of this, many statues from the Hellenistic period are still around today unlike those of the Classical period.The Hellenistic period saw the decline of the painting of vases. Red figure painting died out and was replaced by what is known as West Slope ware. This style consisted of painting in a tan colored slip and white paint on a fired black slip background with some simpler detailing. The most common vases are black and uniform with a shiny appearance like that of varnish and decorated with simple motifs of flowers. The Hellenistic period is also the period when vases in relief appeared. Relief is a mode of sculpture where raised forms and figures projecting detail or ornament are distinguished from a surrounding plane surface.Many times wreaths in relief were applied to the body of vases. There were also more complex reliefs based on animals or mythological creatures. There also appeared to be a shift in the tradition of painting. Artists started to seek a greater variety of tints than in the past. However, these newer colors were more delicate and did not support heat. The painting occurred therefore after firing, in contrast to the traditional practice. The fragility of the pigments prevented frequent use of these vases. This resulted in them being reserved for use in funerals.The conventional end of the Hellenistic period is 31 BCE, the date of the battle of Actium. Octavian, who later became the emperor Augustus, defeated Marc Antony's fleet and, consequently, ended Ptolemaic rule9. The Ptolemies were the last Hellenistic dynasty to fall to Rome. Interest in Greek art and cult ure remained strong during the Roman Imperial period, and especially so during the reigns of the emperors Augustus and Hadrian. For centuries, Roman artists continued to make works of art in the Hellenistic tradition. Bibliography 1. Boardman, John.Greek Sculpture, The Archaic Period. London: Thames and Hudson Ltd, 1978. 2. Department of Greek and Roman Art. â€Å"Greek Art in the Archaic Period†. In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www. metmuseum. org/toah/hd/argk/hd_argk. htm (February 2013) 3. Boardman, John. The History of Greek Vases. Thames & Hudson, 2006. 4. Department of Greek and Roman Art. â€Å"Athenian Vase Painting: Black- and Red-Figure Techniques†. In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www. etmuseum. org/toah/hd/vase/hd_vase. htm (February 2013) 5. Carpenter, Thomas H. Art and Myth in Ancient Greece. Thames & Hudson, 1991. 6. No rris, Michael. Greek Art from Prehistoric to Classical: A Resource for Educators. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000. 7. Pollitt, Jerome J. Art and Experience in Classical Greece. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972. 8. Hemingway, Colette, and Sean Hemingway. â€Å"The Art of Classical Greece (ca. 480–323 B. C. )†. In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www. metmuseum. rg/toah/hd/tacg/hd_tacg. htm (February 2013) 9. Hemingway, Colette, and Sean Hemingway. â€Å"Art of the Hellenistic Age and the Hellenistic Tradition†. In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www. metmuseum. org/toah/hd/haht/hd_haht. htm (February 2013) 10. Hemingway, Colette, and Sean Hemingway. â€Å"Ancient Greek Colonization and Trade and their Influence on Greek Art†. In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2 000–. http://www. metmuseum. org/toah/hd/angk/hd_angk. htm (February 2013)

No comments:

Post a Comment