Art History:  Periods in Greek History

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  Supplement to Art History ~ Grade 5 lesson 3

bulletGreek art, as a style, influenced the entire world at one time or another. The Romans borrowed it almost entirely, During the Middle Ages both the Romanesque and Gothic cathedrals drew upon the Greek influence. Our cities today clearly depict several architectural landmarks from this ancient civilization.

bulletArchaic Period (800-500 BC)
This period was dominated by sculpture, predominately statues of the human body: the
kouros (male youths) and kore (maidens). The figures look somewhat like the statues of
ancient Egypt except that they are free-standing which means they are seen completely in
the round. The Egyptian figures are usually a case of high relief The artists of this period
were already concerned with the obsession of the Greeks the human body. They were always trying to make it look more Lifelike in their sculptures. One attempt was to make the figure take one step forward. Another was to make the figure smile. This is often referred to as the Archaic smile.
Characteristics of this period are rigid geometric, block like figures.


bulletClassical period (500-330 BC)
This is probably the most important period in Greek art. The artist of this period was also concerned with the human body even more so. But now, he knew how to represent his figures in a beautiful and lifelike realism. This period represents the basic Greek ideals. The classical Greek artist was concerned with the ~ Athletics was
very much emphasized in this culture. The Olympic games began in ancient Greece.
Most often, the statues were of the Greek gods and goddesses.

Characteristics: Elegant, graceful beautiful sculptures of the human body. The Perfect body.


bulletHellenistic Period (330 BC-30 AD)
The art of this period became very moving, ornate and elaborate. The body was no
longer in elegant perfection. The figures were more muscular. The figures were even
more lifelike because they were so moving and emotional. Battle scenes, rage and
various emotions were depicted in the art of the Hellenistic period. For the first time in
Greek art, elderly people, bearded men, children, are included as subjects.

Characteristics: Ornate, emotional, depictions of all types of people.



The three classical orders began their usage within the respective Greek time periods. The earliest type, the Done, was used throughout die Archaic period, The Ionic in the Classical and the Corinthian was created during the Hellenistic. Each one of these styles corresponds with the sculpture and other art of the same period.


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