Ralph Larmann

Art Department

University of Evansville

back to: Chapter 1

Dipylon Vase (amphora)
Greek Geometric Style
c. 600 B.C.

Kouros figure
Greek Archaic
limestone sculpture
c. 600 B.C.

Kore figure
Greek Archaic
limestone sculpture
c. 600 B.C.

Hellenistic Greek
marble sculpture
100-200 B.C

Classical Greek
c. 448-432 B.C.

Classical Greek
marble sculpture
440 B.C

Winged Nike of Samothrace
Hellenistic Greek
marble sculpture
190 B.C.

Chapter 2: The Classical World


The Greeks believed that Man was an ideal form. In their estimation, Man is the measure of all things. Their works reflect an interest in the naturalistic world. More like reality except that there is an emphasis on the "ideal" figure.

-by 800 BC there were two groups in Greece the Ionians and the Dorians. Dorians inhabited the mainland, Ionians the east coast, islands and E. Turkey. The Dorians aided the Ionians in ousting the Persians from Greece.

-inventors of the predecessor of our alphabet (alpha, beta, etc.)
-democracy with direct citizen participation (citizens were required to attend day-long events at the theater), they despised tyrants like the Persians who had occupied Greece.
educational experience
-philosophy, science, arts, rhetoric, mathematics, physical education
-predecessor of modern university (Athens)

Greeks exported olive oil and wine and the decoration of these containers helped to market their products.
-Geometric Style (c. 900-700 BC) characterized by stylized motifs
-Black Figure (c. 600-480 BC) black coated surface that was scratched into, example: Ajax Commiting Suicide by Exekias, 525 B.C.
-Red Figure (c. 530-450 BC) negative version of Black Figure
-White Ground (c. 450-400 BC) grave ornamentation

Encaustic Painting- using pigment and Beeswax to paint.


- styles changed during different social periods in Greek culture.

-Archaic-(c. 660-480 BC)

  • Kore: female funerary memorial sculpture
  • Kouros: male funerary memorial sculpture
-Kouros and Kore-compared to Egyptian Sculpture this is more naturalistic
-has open form and implies movement.
-often portrayed with a smile

Athens rises to the forefront of Greek culture because of the victory over Xerxes (Persia) at Salamis. This begins the Golden Age of Athens around 480 B.C.

-Classical-(c. 490-300 BC)
-idealized proprtions
-no facial expression
-head turned slightly
-implied movement
-"s" curve

Lost Wax Process in Casting- using a mold, which is heated and wax melts out

artist: Polyclitus of Argos (Spearbearer) (c. 440 BC) marble copy of a bronze original with underlying organic structure of the body, great care with details
artist: Myron (Discobolos) (c. 430 BC) marble copy of original, naturalistic-looking, but not physically possible

Aesthetics of Plato and Aristotle
-Plato believed in a theory of ideal forms. All forms of this world are derived from an "ideal form in the spiritual world. Therefore all that we experience is an "imperfect" copy of a greater ideal. Plato regarded artists as imitators of imitation.
-Aristotle disagreed with Plato. He believed that art was connected to and an expression of the human soul. Works like Myron's Discobolos (Discus Thrower) are not representations of the natural world, but a reinterpretation of it. Works like this helped in the formation of Aristotole's opposition to Plato.

Hellenistic - (323-31 BC)
-emotional, active, dynamic, not so idealized
-reflected the attitude of despair that Athenians shared after defeat at the hands of the Spartans around 432 B.C.
-often copied by and for Romans who loved the style

-(Winged Nike of Samothrace) (c. 190 BC) marble

-(Laocoon) (c. 100-200 BC), Based on a story from Homer about the Trojan War. Laocoon was a Trojan priest who opposed accepting the Trojan Horse as a peace offering. The Greek gods sent serpents in the night to kill Laocoon and his sons for opposing the acceptance of the Horse.

-(Dying Gaul) -The Gauls were renowned for their fighting ability and this sculpture is a homage to the bravery of an enemy.


Paestum Basilica, 550 B.C.
-early Archaic Greek architecture using Doric order of construction
-derived from earlier temples made of wood

Classical Greek Architecture -called the age of Pericles because this Greek statesman called for and initiated the building program on the Acropolis during the Classical period. Buildings such as the Parthenon and the Erecthteum were built to honor Athena, patron goddess of Athens.

Parthenon- (c. 448-432 BC) by Ictinus and Callicrates, marble
-used a peristyle or colonnade all the way around
-had fluted columns which gave an illusion of great height
-Golden Mean (Rectangle); 1:1.618 ratio

The Erechtheum was a building that featured the "Porch of the Maidens." This "porch" was held up by columns sculpted to look like young women. These sculptural forms are called caryatid.

Architectural Orders:
-Doric-plain, named for the early mainland Greeks, more solemn
-Ionic-scroll capitals, named for early maritime Greeks, more ornate
-Corinthian-used primarily indoors, acanthus leaves decorated capital

Sarcophagus from Cerveteri
c. 520 B.C.

-were a vital link in progression from Greek to Roman Civilizations.
-women played an important role in the society
-used the arch in their architecture

Apollo of Veii-terra cotta figure similar to Greek archaic kouros figures.

Sarcophagus from Cerveteri
-husband and wife shown in sculpted form on their tomb
terra cotta

A bronze of a She-Wolf suckling Romulus and Remus (the mythical founders of Rome) gives an idea of the great skill with which Etruscan artists worked.

Pont du Gard
Ancient Roman
arched stone architecture
1 st Century B.C.

The Colosseum
Ancient Roman
stone and concrete architecture
72-80 A.D.

Ancient Roman
stone and concrete architecture
118-28 A.D.

Augustus Prima Porta
Ancient Roman
stone sculpture
1st C. A.D.


-the Romans worked on extensive building programs
-they used concrete, an innovation that allowed for faster building, larger scale
-the arch became the central tool in architecture, from it was derived the barrel vault, groin vault, and dome

-apartment buildings, called insulae, were built up to five stories high
-interiors were luxurious, even though exteriors weren't
-city dwellers lived in buildings with shops, etc.

-the villa was created as a country house to escape the city
-featured an atrium or central open courtyard

fora (forum) were outdoor market areas where meetings could take place
-public baths were meeting places and gymnasiums

-The Colosseum-built 72-80 AD, by Emperor Vespasian
-made from an understructure of concrete and covered with tufa, marble, etc.
-outside was dominated by Greek orders of columns (Doric, Ionic, Corinthian)
-had awnings to keep rain off of spectators
-provided running water and vomitoria where overgorged Romans could relieve themselves
-central section could be flooded for mock naval battles
-used for bloodsport only

circuses were racing venues for chariots, horses or footraces

-aqueducts were used to carry fresh water over great distances
-The Pont Du Gard
-built late 1st C BC, stone
-has a constant decline of 1 in 3000
-three tiered vault system
-formal rhythm in design

-temples were built in the manner of the Greeks

The Pantheon-built 117-125 AD; marble, brick, concrete
-constructed with a dome roof
-entry portico derived from Greeks
-based on sphere in interior
-oculus (eye in Latin) in roof let in light

Painting -encaustic: beeswax and pigment
-buon fresco: pigment and water on wet plaster
-egg tempera: egg yolk and pigment

Sculpture-mostly very naturalistic with few examples (after Hellenistic Greek)

Augustus Prima Porta- 1st C AD, marble, unknown artist
-idealized sculpture of Ceasar Augustus, first Emperor of Rome

Next study guide: Chapter 3

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