Ancient Greece Art

Acropolis

The Parthenon

Parthenon Metopes

Minoan Art

Greek Pottery

Sculpture and Art

Architecture in ancient Greece:

Greek life was dominated by religion and so it is not surprising that the temples of ancient Greece were the biggest and most beautiful.They also had a political purpose as they were often built to celebrate civic power and pride, or offer thanksgiving to the patron deity of a city for success in war. The Greeks developed three architectural systems, called orders, each with their own distinctive proportions and detailing. The Greek orders are: Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian.
Doric
Doric Style
The Doric style is rather sturdy and its top (the capital), is plain. This style was used in mainland Greece and the colonies in southern Italy and Sicily.
Ionic
Ionic Style
The Ionic style is thinner and more elegant. Its capital is decorated with a scroll-like design (a volute). This style was found in eastern Greece and the islands.
Corinthian
Corinthian Style
The Corinthian style is seldom used in the Greek world, but often seen on Roman temples. Its capital is very elaborate and decorated with acanthus leaves.


Doric Order:

Parthenon
Parthenon - temple of Athena Parthenos ("Virgin"), Greek goddess of wisdom, on the Acropolis in Athens. The Parthenon was built in the 5th century BC, and despite the enormous damage it has sustained over the centuries, it still communicates the ideals of order and harmony for which Greek architecture is known.

Ionic Order:

Erechtheum
Erechtheum - temple from the middle classical period of Greek art and architecture, built on the Acropolis of Athens between 421 and 405BC.
The Erechtheum contained sanctuaries to Athena Polias, Poseidon, and Erechtheus. The requirements of the several shrines and the location upon a sloping site produced an unusual plan. From the body of the building porticoes project on east, north, and south sides. The eastern portico, hexastyle Ionic, gave access to the shrine of Athena, which was separated by a partition from the western cella. The northern portico, tetrastyle Ionic, stands at a lower level and gives access to the western cella through a fine doorway. The southern portico, known as the Porch of the Caryatids (see caryatid) from the six sculptured draped female figures that support its entablature, is the temple's most striking feature; it forms a gallery or tribune. The west end of the building, with windows and engaged Ionic columns, is a modification of the original, built by the Romans when they restored the building. One of the east columns and one of the caryatids were removed to London by Lord Elgin, replicas being installed in their places.

Temple of Apollo at Didyma
The Temple of Apollo at Didyma - The Greeks built the Temple of Apollo at Didyma, Turkey (about 300 BC). The design of the temple was known as dipteral, a term that refers to the two sets of columns surrounding the interior section. These columns surrounded a small chamber that housed the statue of Apollo. With Ionic columns reaching 19.5 m (64 ft) high, these ruins suggest the former grandeur of the ancient temple.

The Temple of Athena Nike
The Temple of Athena Nike - part of the Acropolis in the city of Athens. The Greeks built the Temple of Apollo at Didyma, Turkey (about 300 BC). The design of the temple was known as dipteral, a term that refers to the two sets of columns surrounding the interior section. These columns surrounded a small chamber that housed the statue of Apollo. With Ionic columns reaching 19.5 m (64 ft) high, these ruins suggest the former grandeur of the ancient temple.



Corinthian Order:

The temple of Zeus
- most ornate of the classic orders of architecture. It was also the latest, not arriving at full development until the middle of the 4th cent. B.C. The oldest known example, however, is found in the temple of Apollo at Bassae (c.420 B.C.). The Greeks made little use of the order; the chief example is the circular structure at Athens known as the choragic monument of Lysicrates ( 335 B.C.). The temple of Zeus at Athens (started in the 2d cent. B.C. and completed by Emperor Hadrian in the 2d cent. A.D.) was perhaps the most notable of the Corinthian temples.


Acropolis

Acropolis in Greek means "The Sacred Rock, the high city". All around the world the Acropolis of Athens is known as 'The Acropolis'. There are many Acropolises in Greece but the Acropolis of Athens is the best known. The Acropolis is primarily dedicated to the Goddess Athena. But humans from the prehistoric era have populated the Acropolis and the caves around it. Situated in the middle of Athens, many myths, festivals and important events are connected to the sacred Acropolis. The Acropolis echoes the grandeur and the power of the Athenian empire.... more »

Parthenon

Work began on the Parthenon, built on the Acropolis, in 447 BC to replace an existing temple which was destroyed by the Persians in 480 BC and cost 469 silver talents to build. The work began under the orders of Pericles to show the wealth and exuberance of Athenian power. The name of the building most likely came from a cult statue of Athena Parthenos housed in the eastern room of the building. This magnificent structure was built of ivory and gold and was sculptured by the renowned sculptor Phidias. As with most buildings on the Acropolis it was dedicated to Athena to thank the Goddess for their success. The Parthenon was finally finished in 432 BC and was to show the world the dominance and power of Athens. The vast majority of the money used in the construction came from the Delian League funds. The Delian League was a treaty between the Greek states in league against the Persian Empire. However two years before work started on the Parthenon, the Athenians had struck a peace treaty with the Persians ending the war, although the League continued to exist. It is believed that because of this the league stopped being a mutual defence against Persia but part of the Athenian Empire. This theory was reinforced when Athens moved the Leagues treasury from the Pan-Hellenic sanctuary at Delos to the Parthenon (Opisthodomos room). Not only was the Parthenon a magnificent structure to look at, but it also showed Athenian dominance over the rest of the Greek peninsula and that Athens was its Greek imperial master. more »

Sculpture

Greek art and sculpture has had a profound effect throughout the ages. Many of the styles have been reproduced and copied by some of what the modern day audiences would class as some of the finest artists to have ever lived e.g. Michelangelo. Western art and sculpture derived from Roman art, while in the East, Alexander the Great's conquest gave birth to Greco-Buddhist art, which has even had an influence as far as Japan all of which stem from ancient Greek art. The Greeks used many different types of materials in their sculptures including stone, marble and limestone as these were abundant in Greece. Other materials such as clay were also used but due to their brittle nature very few have survived. Greek sculptures are very important as the vast majority of them tell us a story about Gods, Heroes, Events, Mythical Creatures and Greek culture in general. Many of the statues that have survived are actually of Roman origin. Like many people today the Romans had a deep respect for Greek sculptures and many were copied. If the Romans had not made these copies, many of the Greek Legends and stories that we know today would have been lost to antiquity. Greek sculptures are mainly divided into 7 time periods - Mycenaean Art, Sub-Mycenaean or Dark Age, Proto-Geometric, Geometric Art, Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic. more »

Copyright © 2003-2012 University Press Inc. All Rights Reserved