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The history of art in Ancient Greece begins with the Archaic Period (700 to 500 BC) in which some prehistoric art forms are continued along with influence from the Fertile Crescent area to the east and a strong Egyptian influence. Geometric patterns and shapes seem to dominate their painting and sculptural forms.
As their culture develops the Greeks begin to invent & discover new ideas that will forever change western civilization and have dramatic effects worldwide. Democracy, Theater, and Science are just a few examples. Thinkers such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle demonstrate the use of reason and logic.
Classical Greek art (500 to 323 BC) shows a desire to achieve perfection in beauty, balance, and meaning. The Greek sculptors tackled old problems with new ideas and methods and achieved some excellent solutions. Pediment sculpture is a good example. The low angle of the pediment made for some awkward sculptural spaces. Their compositions were rough at first, but eventually, at the height of the Classical Period, their compositions became well-balanced and beautiful.
Greek art moves into the Hellenistic Period beginning with the fall of Alexander the Great and his empire. Greek culture becomes divided and the atmosphere is filled with troublesome strife and warfare. Hellenistic art displays a new and dramatic turbulence in contrast with the peaceful balance of earler Classical works. Some individual artists stand out as innovators of artistic form, while others choose to continue the rules of Classical perfection.
We also briefly discussed the Etruscans, and how their society and values may have begun to influence Roman art.