Essay on greek art and architecture


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The design of graceful columned Greek temples has influenced architecture from the Renaissance to modern times. Greek sculpture established an ideal standard for the human form that served as a model for artists in ages to come. At the end of the Bronze Age, the Mycenaean culture disappeared. Many of the old sites were burned down or abandoned.

New settlements were established. For several hundred years the area entered what has been called the Dark Ages.

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People continued to live in the area, but in smaller, isolated groups. Painted pottery, a characteristic art form of ancient Greece, continued to be made. Few buildings of this time survive because they were made of wood and mud brick. After about B. Small settlements grew into cities. Sanctuaries places of worship were founded. And people began to create art in great quantities once again throughout the region. In pottery painting, a new style of decoration developed.

It was based on geometric designs--triangles, dots, and straight and angled lines. Human figures were introduced by the 's B. They first appeared on large pots used as burial monuments. These early, primitive silhouette figures marked the first depiction of people in Greek art. As artists began to portray the natural curves of the human body, the angular figures were gradually replaced with more rounded and realistic shapes.

Architecture during this period still consisted of small structures of wood or mud brick. Sculpture was mainly small figurines. Beginning about B. In a remarkably short time, the geometric style of vase painting was replaced by a bolder, more expressive style as artists experimented with Eastern images. These foreign influences are particularly evident in art produced in the city of Corinth. Potters there made colorful vases decorated with animal figures—such as owls or roaring lions—as well as rosettes and other Eastern designs.

It was during the Archaic period that Greek art and architecture attained its distinctive style. In some ways this style was a combination of the old geometric style and the newer influences from the East. Architecture After about B.


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Greek temples were built in three different styles, or orders: Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. Each of these styles is best identified by the distinctive design of its columns and capitals the decorated tops of the columns. The Doric order was developed by the Dorian tribes on the Greek mainland. It had a simple, sturdy, and relatively undecorated design. Unlike the other orders, Doric columns had no base.

It was more delicate and ornate than the Doric order. And it had longer and more slender columns that were often topped with a spiral or scroll-shaped capital. The Corinthian order developed in the city of Corinth during the classical period, well after the Doric and Ionic styles.

It is a variation of the Ionic. But its capitals have carved acanthus leaves instead of scrolls.

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Inside the Greek temple was a smaller, freestanding structure called a cella. The cella was surrounded by a row of columns a colonnade. Inside the cella was a statue of the god to whom the particular temple was dedicated. Sculpture The Archaic period saw a rapid development in the portrayal of the human figure.

At the beginning of the period, sculptors began to carve life-sized and larger figures of men and women for use in sanctuaries and grave monuments. These figures had stiff upright postures. Males were typically portrayed nude. Their arms were close to their sides and one leg was extended slightly forward in a style adopted from Egyptian sculpture. Females were clothed in elaborately draped garments. Like all Greek sculpture, the statues were painted with many colors. By the end of the period, sculpture had become much more realistic. Poses were less stiff and more natural.

The drapery on female figures better reflected the shape of the underlying body. Figures were also more idealized. This means they were meant to depict the ideal male or female form. Painting Although the art of wall painting was popular in ancient Greece, few examples remain today. However, many examples of vase painting have survived. By the Archaic period the depiction of human and animal figures had reached new heights.

Two different techniques were used for vase painting at this time. The earliest is called black-figure painting. It was invented in Corinth in the 's B.


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Figures were painted with liquid clay, which turned a glossy black when fired in a special oven called a kiln. The black silhouettes were then given details by incising, or scratching, lines through them to reveal the red clay body of the vase. Figure carving style reached its zenith in the first half of the fifth century in the Achilles and Penthesilea, Aesop and the Fox, Orpheus among the Thracians, etc. The most eminent of the vase painters in the Periclean age were Brygus, Sotades and Meidias.

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They chose scenes from actual life for depicting on the vases. In sculpture the Greeks had their greatest delight. Sculpture The Greeks filled their homes, temples, public places, their graves with terra-cotta statuettes arid images of gods and goddesses of stone. The Periclean sculptor shows a marvellous understanding of the physical forms and shapes in different postures. The Greek sculptor uses a variety of materials to work upon stone, terra-cotta, wood, bronze, marble, silver, gold, ivory, etc.

The Greek sculpture in the fifth century recorded so great achievements because the sculptors belonged to a school and long line of masters and pupils carried the art and handed it down to the next generation. In Periclean Athens five schools performed these functions. One Pythagoras of Samos who came over to Rhegium cast a Philoctetes which was so wonderful in its expressions of passion, pain and old age that Greek sculptors began to imitate him.

At Argos the sculptural technique begun by Ageladas reached its apex in Polycleitus who became famous by designing the temple of Hera, and a gold and ivory statue of the matron goddess.

Art & Architecture of Archaic and Classical Greece

Pheidias, Cresilas, and Phradmon were the renowned sculptors. Polycleitan canon of sculpture became almost a law with the sculptors of the Peloponnesus, and even Pheidias was partially influenced by him. Polycleitan sculpture represented strength and vigour than grace. The most famous statue made by Polycleitus was that of a male Discus Thrower which showed every sign of an athlete at the job, including posture, tension of the muscle, tendons, etc. His statues were so life like that his carved Heifer, the Greeks said could do everything but moo.

The Attic school was, however, particularly important for it gave beauty, tenderness, delicacy and grace to sculpture. Pheidias was first a painter then became a pictorial sculpture. He also studied bronze technique of Ageladas. Patiently, Pheidias made himself master of every branch of his art.

Essay on Ancient Greek and Roman Art Styles in the Renaissance

His Athene Parthenos stood thirty-eight feet high in the interior of the Parthenon as the virgin goddess of wisdom and chastity. It was made of ivory and gold, and adorned with precious metals.

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