Ancient Greek Art By: Ian dopp

The Ancient Greeks were masters at everything they did. They controlled surrounding nations, they held the Olympic Games, and had one of the most successful governments. This new form of government, Democracy, was so successful that versions of it still exist today, even over 2000 years later. In addition, they Ancient Greeks excelled at art and architecture. Today I am presenting on art and how it affected the everyday lives of the Greeks, and what exactly did art mean in Greek culture.

At the beginning of Ancient Greek art, sculptures of people were the most common piece of art. Many artists would make a sculpture of nude men or women. These original sculptures did not look completely realistic as rules of anatomy were not yet applied to these statues. Then, later on, two artists, Pheidias and Polyklietos figured out ways to make the sculptures more realistic. These are the sculptures you see in photos today. Usually these sculptures of men and women were made out of stone which was very fragile and broke easily. The other material that was commonly used was metal. Metal was extremely expensive and normally melted down for later usage.

These are stone sculptures

Sculpting was not the only form of Ancient Greek Art. In Ancient Greece, multiple artists, normally men, created intricately designed metal objects. Some metal objects created by artists may include the handle of bronze swords, the face of a shield, helmets made for battle, and many others. They were carved with drawings of Gods and Goddesses to help emotionally protect them in battle and in life. We can see from the metalworking that religion played a key role in their lives; artists clearly depicted how meaningful religion was in Greek society. At this time in history, silver was the most invaluable metal, even more so than gold.

Silver and gold were some of the metals used to make the Ancient Greek currency. These coins were very valuable and would still be worth large amounts of money today. Someone in Ancient Greek culture would have to be wealthy in order to own many of these coins. Gods and Goddesses again were on the faces of these coins. This was shown in respect and in order to appease the Gods.

Greek artists made different kinds of art, including metalworking, sculpting, and pottery. Pottery was likely the most popular form of art as it was found in homes throughout the country. Engraved, sometimes colorfully into the pottery were pictures of everyday lives, slavery, Gods and Goddesses, and rulers that Greek civilians were required to honor. Vases and pots that were made of terra cotta clay were not only used as offerings to the Gods, but also for storage. These pots had the ability to store food, water, jewelry, and almost anything that would fit inside these small pots. Occasionally, pottery was given to small children as gifts from their parents and relatives.

Along with all the paintings on pottery, there were separate paintings created by famous artists. These artists painted beautiful pieces that were put into and onto tombs, and were put up on the walls of castles and in civilians’ homes. These paintings were sometimes valued more than sculptures, figurines, and pottery.

All of these forms of art were created during four different time periods. Like in music, art was split up into time periods under the names of the Geometric Period, the Archaic Period, the Classical Period, and the Hellenistic Art Period. All four of these sections of time were incredibly important and each based their designs off of the previous time period. In the Geometric period, the art was characterized by geometric shapes in pottery and vase painting. The Archaic time period was a shift towards figurative art as well as naturalistic styles. The Classical time period was a time period full of honor. Those honored included rulers, athletes, and the 12 major Gods and Goddesses that the country believed in. The Hellenistic time period was a section in Greek history of prosperity and wealth. The art found from that time period depicted great triumphs and rarely negative aspects of Greek society.

Hellenistic Art Period

Art was not only used for entertainment to the eye, but also was used for physical and emotional purposes. These beautiful pieces of artwork, some of which still exist today showed the impact of religion on the Greek Society and showed some examples of what everyday life might have been in one of our first empires in the world.


Created with images by Fæ - "Cypro-Mycenean Jar LACMA M.49.14.13" • Xuan Che - "the wounded amazon" • adibalea - "athens greece apollo" • Dimitris Graffin - "Steel medieval knight's sword, Athens War Museum -" • saamiblog - "Ζευς [Sus]. Archaic Indo-Greek God Zeus i.e. Zevs at Heraklion Museum Crete. First known depiction. Første kjente avbildning av Zevs fra 8 - 7 århundre BCE." • Sharon Mollerus - "untitled image" • jharnum - "gold coin gold coin" • leoncillo sabino - "Metropolitan Museum Of Art NYC" • WebDonut - "antique pottery ancient" • Fæ - "Attic Geometric Lidded Pyxis LACMA M.77.48.5a-b" • Fæ - "Gold Necklace LACMA 50.22.8"

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