Classical Landscape with Figures: The Ancient Greek City and its Countryside


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Bintliff - A. Snodgrass, Mediterranean survey and the city. Antiquity 62, , For example, J. Cherry - J. Davis - E. Mantzourani eds. Bintliff, Appearance and reality : Understanding the buried landscape through new techniques in field survey, Archeologia del Paesaggio, M. Bottema - G. Entjes-Nieborg - W. Zeist eds. Gaffney - Z. See C. Joyce, Archaeology takes to the skies, New Scientist 25, January , Davis - J. Cherry eds. Doorn, eds. Pope - T. Van Andel - E. Wells - C. Runnels - E. Zangger, The Berbati-Limnes archaeological survey. The season, Opuscula Atheniensia 18 15 , , Barker - J.

Lloyd eds. The Boeotia survey, supra n. Morrisson - J. Lefort eds. Snodgrass, Mediterranean survey supra n. Birnbaum - S. Vryonis eds. Foxhall - H. Halstead - G. Morris, Burial and Ancient Society. Jones et alii eds. Olshausen - H. Sonnabend eds. Bonias - M. Brunet - G. The history of the Greek countryside: as the wave breaks, prospects for future research [article] Actes du colloque de Corfou mai John Bintliff. The hollow eye sockets of the figure of the man probably once held inlay for a more realistic appearance.

Animals, including bulls, deer, horses, and birds, were also based in geometry. Horse figurines were commonly used as offerings to the gods. The animals themselves became symbols of wealth and status due to the high cost of keeping them. Equine bodies may be described as rectangles pinched in the middle with rectangular legs and tail and are similar in shape to deer or bulls. While the animals and people are based in basic geometric shapes, the artists clearly observed their subjects in order to highlight these distinguishing characters.

During the Orientalizing period, Greek art evolved to feature a blend of Near Eastern and Egyptian stylistic conventions.


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This period was distinguished by international influences—from the Ancient Near East, Egypt, and Asia Minor—each of which contributed a distinctive Eastern style to Greek art. The close contact between cultures developed from increasing trade and even colonization. Motifs , creatures, and styles were borrowed from other cultures by the Greeks, who transformed them into a unique Greek—Eastern mix of style and motifs.

Corinthian black figure jug: Corinthian black figure jug with animal frieze, circa BCE. During the Orientalizing period in Corinth human figures were rarely seen on vases. Animals such as lions, griffins, sphinxes , and sirens were depicted instead. Palmettes and lotus blossoms were used instead of geometric patterns to fill empty space , although on some vessels negative space became more prominent. This oriental black figure style originated in the city of Corinth, spread to Athens, and was exported throughout Greece.

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The Corinthians developed the technique of black figure painting during this period. Black figure pottery was carefully constructed and fired three different times to produce the unique red and black colors on each vase. The black color came from a slip painted onto the vessel, after which incised lines were drawn on to outline and detail the figures. Additionally, red and white pigments could be added for more color or to differentiate details.

The unpainted portions of the vase would remain the original red-orange color of the pot. The full effect of this style of painting would not have been seen until after the vase emerged from its firings in the kiln. As the style spread, the subject matter changed from strictly Near Eastern animals to scenes from Greek mythology and everyday life. In this region, floral and animal motifs are common, but the human figure appears in the work of the most prominent painters such as the Analatos Painter, the Mesogeia Painter, and the Polyphemos Painter. The Proto-Attic style marked the first depictions of discernibly Greek religious and mythological themes in vase painting.

The bodies of men and animals were depicted in silhouette, though their heads were drawn in outline. Women were drawn completely in outline. Proto-Attic vases are usually distinguished by their orange clay, which is available in the Athens area. Sculpture produced during the Orientalizing period shares stylistic attributes with sculpture produced in Egypt and the Near East. This period was distinguished by international influences, from the Ancient Near East, Egypt, and Asia Minor, each of which contributed a distinctive Eastern style to Greek art.

Styles were borrowed from other cultures by the Greeks who transformed them into a unique Greek-Eastern mix of style and motifs. A small limestone statue of a kore maiden , known as the Lady of Auxerre — BCE , from Crete demonstrates the style of early Greek figural sculptures. The style combines Ancient Near Eastern and Egyptian motifs. The Lady of Auxerre is stocky and plank-like. Her waist is narrow and cinched, like the waists seen in Minoan art. She is disproportionate, with long rigid legs and a short torso.

A dress encompasses nearly her entire body—it tethers her legs together and restricts her potential for movement. The rigidity of the body recalls pharaonic portraiture from Ancient Egypt. Her head is distinguished with large facial features, a low brow, and stylized hair. The hair appears to be braided, and falls down in rigid rows divided by horizontal bands.

This style recalls a Near Eastern use of patterns to depict texture and decoration. Lady of Auxerre reconstruction: A reconstruction of the original Orientalizing sculpture. Cambridge University. Her face and hair are reminiscent of the Geometric period. The face forms an inverted triangle wedged between the triangles formed be the hair that frames her face. Traces of paint tell us that this statue would have originally be painted with black hair and a dress of red and blue with a yellow belt. The figure, named for the individual who left it as an offering , is that of a standing man with a rigid and somewhat Daedalic form.

Apart from the novelty of recording its own purpose, this sculpture adapts the formulae of later Orientalized sculptures, as seen in the shorter more triangular face and slightly advancing left leg. This is sometimes seen as anticipating the greater expressive freedom of the later seventh century BCE. As such, the Mantiklos figure is referred to in some quarters as proto-Daedalic. Despite the separation of several decades and over miles, the Mantiklos Apollo and the Lady of Auxerre share interesting similarities, including their long plaited hair, cinched waist, stylized smile, and hand raised to the chest—all of which recall ancient Egyptian sculpture.

Although the right arm of the Mantiklos Apollo is missing, the position of its shoulder implies a possible position similar to that of the left arm of the Lady of Auxerre, straight at its side. However, we can already see striking differences that will remain the standard in Greek art for centuries. The male body, as a public entity entitled to citizenship, is depicted nude and free to move. This freedom of movement is seen not only in the legs of the Apollo figure but also in the separation of his hand from his chest.

On the other hand, the female body, as a private entity without individual rights, is clothed and denied movement. While the Mantiklos Apollo holds his hand parallel to his chest, the Lady of Auxerre places her hand directly on hers, maintaining the closed form expected of a respectable woman. The temples of the Greek Orientalizing period had simple plans and sculpture that were influenced by styles from Egypt and the Near East.

The basic principles for the development of Greek temple architecture have their roots between the tenth and seventh centuries BCE. In its simplest form as a naos or cella , the temple was a simple rectangular shrine with protruding side walls antae that formed a small porch. By adding columns to this small basic structure, the Greeks triggered the development and variety of their temple architecture.

Two columns marked the entrance to the inner chamber. The building of stone temples first began during the Orientalizing period. Earlier temples were made from wood and other perishable materials and used terra cotta revetments in the form of rectangular and circular panels. With the introduction of stone as a building material, revetments became unnecessary and were replaced by sculptural ornamentation. These temples derive their structure from Minoan and Mycenaean architectural designs.

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Oriental Greek stone temples were fronted by three columns and one entrance which lead into a single room chamber cella , where the cult statue would be placed. The temple cella was reserved for the cult statue, while cult rituals often sacrifices took place outside in front of the temple and usually around an altar.

Temple A at Prinias c. Its plan was similar to the anta design with a third column in the center in front of the doorway. One step spanning the width of the facade led to the pronaos. The columns were very simple, rectangular as opposed to cylindrical blocks with very thin bases and capitals. Unlike Minoan columns, the shafts of the columns of Temple A did not taper; rather, their width remained constant for the entire length.

On the entablature , the frieze of the facade consisted of a series of reliefs depicting a procession of riders on horseback with little variation. The scale of the horses dwarfs that of their riders. Each horse stands in profile, while each rider faces the viewer with his sword raised and his shield seemingly connecting his head to his legs. Although their shields cover most of their bodies, the seemingly bare state of their legs implies that the riders might be nude, as was typical for the male body in art.

Each rider has a stylized nose, eyes, and eyebrows and wears a helmet. Like free-standing sculptures of the time, the hairstyle of the riders is plaited in a somewhat Egyptian style. A meander runs atop the reliefs. The current cracked condition of the frieze is a likely indicator that it was assembled in a piecemeal fashion, as opposed to being carved as a singular entablature.

Atop the entablature sat sculptures of two winged female creatures resembling the sphinx or the lamassu of the ancient Assyrian and Babylonian cultures. Temple A portico frieze: Made of marble and originally from Prinias, Crete, c. Behind the facade of Temple A sat a doorway with an intricately designed lintel. Its frieze consisted of six stylized panthers standing in high relief. This motif is typical of northern Syria. Between each group sits a plain rectangular recess, probably to mark the location of the central column that supported the lintel. Atop the frieze sit two stylized female sculptures in the round who face each other.

One figure places her hands flatly on her lap, while the other holds her hands in a position to accommodate a cup or similar object. It is believed that these figures represent goddesses, although the identities of those goddesses remain disputed. Each sits in profile on a plain backless bench. The face of each figure has almond-shaped eyes and stylized eyebrows similar to those on Egyptian sculptures. Their hair is plaited and falls to either side of their shoulders. Like the free-standing sculptures of the Orientalizing period, each figure on the lintel of Temple A wears Egyptian-style headgear with geometric patterns and cloaks atop their geometrically patterned dresses, which are cinched at the waist.

While their feet protrude from beneath their long skirts, the blocks that define the lower parts of their bodies provide no acknowledgement of the body beneath the clothing. The ancient site of Delphi, located in central Greece on the slope of Mt. Delphi was home to the dragon Python who protected the navel of the earth. Apollo slew the Python, establishing his presence at the site. Not only was the site the main place of worship for the god Apollo, it was also the home of an oracle.

The oracle was a sibyl or priestess known as a Pythia. The oracle would place her tripod seat over the fissure, inhale the fumes, and then would be possessed by Apollo, allowing him to speak through her.

The Delphic Oracle was an essential part of Greek life and was consulted for matters public and private, small and large, and so had commanding power over the lives of the Greeks. One peristyle of Doric columns the order used in Archaic architecture surrounded the perimeter of the stylobate that rested atop two steps. Temple of Apollo: Reconstructed Doric columns mark the east end front of the temple.

There was also a large theater built into the hillside located just above the Temple of Apollo. The theater was first built in the fourth century BCE and renovated multiple times in the following centuries. It could seat 5, spectators and offered a view of the entire sanctuary site and the valley.

The road leading up to the sanctuary site of Apollo was lined with votive statues and treasuries. The treasuries were built by different poleis to honor the oracle, thank her for her advice, and commemorate military victories. These small, temple-like structures held the votives and offerings made to Apollo as well as a small proportion of the spoils won from battle from each polis. Because the buildings held a wealth of materials and goods, they are known as treasuries. Herakles and Apollo: Herakles stealing the tripod of Apollo. From the east pediment of the Siphnian Treasury.

Siphnian Treasury, Delphi, Greece. The Siphnian Treasury was built for the polis of Siphnos, a city-state that occupied a Cycladic island. The Siphnians had large gold and silver mines, from which they profited enormously, and they used the profits to erect their treasury at Delphi. The treasury housed their gold and silver gifts to the gods. The Siphian Treasury was the first structure built entirely from marble when it was erected in BCE and was elaborately decorated.

The two columns in the antis were not typical columns but caryatids, support columns that took the shape of women. A continuous Ionic frieze that wrapped around the top of the treasury beneath the pediment depicted scenes from Greek mythology, including a gigantomachy on the north side, the Judgment of Paris on the west side, and gods watching the sack of Troy by the Greeks on the south and east sides.

Gigantomachy: A gigantomachy scene from the north frieze of the Siphnian Treasury. The figures are carved in an Archaic style and in high relief, and they are almost, but not entirely, freed from the wall of the frieze. While the figures appear to be in motion, with wide stances and arms open wide for battle, the majority of them stand with both feet flat on ground. This inhibits the sense of motion given by the rest of their bodies. The pedimental figures are especially rigid and linear, although the figures are no longer scaled to fit into the small corners of the pediment.

When looking at these figures, from the front they appear to appropriately model the body, while from the side the figures appear block-like, emphasizing the fact that they were carved from stone. Like the Siphnian Treasury, the Athenian Treasury was constructed entirely of marble. The treasury has Doric columns and a frieze of triglyphs and thirty metopes that depict scenes from the life of Theseus, an Athenian mythological hero, and Herakles. The metopes also display the development of Archaic relief and temple decoration. The figures do not feel forced into their frame but instead begin to fill out the scene.

Most of the scenes consist of only two characters and few scenes, such as Herakles fighting the Ceryean Hind an enormous deer , display a new sense of ingenuity.

Classical Landscape with Figures: The Ancient Greek City and Its Countryside

Furthermore, the figures, unlike those on the Siphnian pediment, appear modeled from all sides, as opposed to just frontally. The temples of the Archaic period are the first stone temples built in Greece. They demonstrate a developing knowledge of stone building through their use of decorative spaces on buildings. Stone temples were first built during the Archaic period in ancient Greece.

Before this, they were constructed out of mud-brick and wood—simple structures that were rectangular or semi-circular in shape—that may have been enhanced with a few columns and a porch. The Archaic stone temples took their essential shape and structure from these wooden temples and the shape of a Mycenaean megaron. The standard form of a Greek temple was established and then refined through the Archaic and Classical period. Most temples were rectilinear in shape and stood on a raised stone platform, known as the stylobates , which usually had two or three stairs.

Temple plans: These illustrations show various examples of Greek temples. The main portion of the temple was the naos. To the front of the naos was the pronaos, or front porch. A door between the naos and pronaos provided access to the cult statue. Columns, known as prostyle , often stood in front of the pronaos. Such aligned columns were referred to as columns in antis.

The Human Body in Ancient Greek Art and Thought

A rear room, called the opisthodomos, was on the other side of the temple and naos. A wall separated the naos and opisthodomos completely. The opisthodomos was used as a treasury and held the votives and offerings left at the temple for the god or goddess. It also had a set of prostyle columns in antis that completed the symmetrical appearance of the temple.

While this describes the standard design of Greek temples, it is not the most common form found. One notable exception to this standard was the circular tholos , dedicated to Apollo at Delphi. The first stone temples varied significantly as architects and engineers were forced to determine how to properly support a roof with such a wide span.

Later architects, such as Iktinos and Kallikrates who designed the Parthenon, tweaked aspects of basic temple structure to better accommodate the cult statue. All temples, however, were built on a mathematical scale and every aspect of them is related to one another through ratios. In this equation, x stands for the number of columns across the front, the shorter end, while y designates the columns down the sides. The number of columns used along the length of the temple was twice the number plus one the number of columns across the front.

Due to these mathematical ratios, we are able to accurately reconstruct temples from small fragments. The style of Greek temples is divided into three different and distinct orders, the earliest of which is the Doric order. These temples had columns that rested directly on the stylobate without a base. Their shafts were fluted with twenty parallel grooves that tapered to a sharp point. The capitals of Doric columns had a simple, unadorned square abacus and a flared echinus that was often short and squashed. This was perhaps a way to create an optical illusion or to emphasize the weight of the entablature above, held up by the columns.

Doric and Ionic order: This drawing illustrates the stylistic differences between the Doric and Ionic order. The Doric entablature was also unique to this style of temples. The frieze was decorated with alternating panels of triglyphs and metopes. The triglyphs were decorative panels with three grooves or glyphs that gave the panel its name. The stone triglyphs mimicked the head of wooden beams used in earlier temples. Between the triglyphs were the metopes. Sculptors used the metope spaces to depict mythological occurrences, often with historical or cultural links to the site on which the temple stood.

It is one of the Twelve Labors depicted on the temple. Most sculptors attempted to use the limited and angular space of metopes to show distinct moments that filled the shape, but not all were successful in doing so. Another space used for decoration was the pediment at each end of the temple. Due to the larger space afforded by these sections, the sculptors often chose to depict larger and more eventful scenes.

All of these decorative sculptures would be painted in bright colors and recognizable to onlookers. It is peripteral, with nine columns across its short ends and 18 columns along each side. The opisthodomos is accessed through the naos by two doors. There are three columns in antis across the pronaos. Inside the naos is a row of central columns, built to support the roof.

The cult statue is placed at the back, in the center, and is blocked from view by the row of columns. When examining the columns, they are large and heavy, and spaced very close together. This further denotes the Greeks unease with building in stone and the need to properly support a stone entablature and heavy roof. The capitals of the columns are round, flat, and pancake-like. In this example, the temple was fronted by six columns, with 14 columns along its length.

The opisthodomos was separated from the naos and had its own entrance and set of columns in antis. A central flight of stairs led from the pronaos to the naos and the doors opened to look upon a central cult statue. There were still interior columns; however they were moved to the side, permitting prominent display of the cult statue.

Temple of Aphaia at Aegina, c. Aegina is a small island in the Saronic Gulf within view of Athens; in fact, Aegina and Athens were rivals. While very little paint remains now, the entire pediment scene, triglyphs and metopes, and other parts of the temple would have been painted in bright colors. Plan of the sanctaury of the Temple of Aphaia: Ground plan of the Temple of Aphaia and the surrounding area.

The Temple of Aphaia is one of the last temples with a design that did not conform to standards of the time. The columns have become more widely spaced and also more slender. Despite the connection between the opisthodomos and the naos, the doorway between them is much smaller than the doorway between the naos and the pronaos.

In this case there are five on each side, and each colonnade has two stories. Sculpture in the Archaic Period developed rapidly from its early influences, becoming more natural and showing a developing understanding of the body, specifically the musculature and the skin.

Most statues were commissioned as memorials and votive offerings or as grave markers, replacing the vast amphora two-handled, narrow-necked jars used for wine and oils and kraters wide-mouthed vessels of the previous periods, yet still typically painted in vivid colors. New York Kouros, c. Origin unknown. Kouroi statues singular, kouros , depicting idealized, nude male youths, were first seen during this period. Carved in the round , often from marble, kouroi are thought to be associated with Apollo; many were found at his shrines and some even depict him.

Emulating the statues of Egyptian pharaohs, the figure strides forward on flat feet, arms held stiffly at its side with fists clenched. However, there are some importance differences: kouroi are nude, mostly without identifying attributes and are free-standing. Early kouroi figures share similarities with Geometric and Orientalizing sculpture, despite their larger scale. For instance, their hair is stylized and patterned, either held back with a headband or under a cap.

The New York Kouros strikes a rigid stance and his facial features are blank and expressionless. The body is slightly molded and the musculature is reliant on incised lines. Kroisos, c. As kouroi figures developed, they began to lose their Egyptian rigidity and became increasingly naturalistic.

The kouros figure of Kroisos, an Athenian youth killed in battle, still depicts a young man with an idealized body. The muscles of the legs, abdomen, chest and arms appear to actually exist and seem to function and work together. The reddish appearance of his hair reminds the viewer that these sculptures were once painted. His cheeks are round and his chin bulbous; however, his smile seems out of place.

This is typical of this period and is known as the Archaic smile. It appears to have been added to infuse the sculpture with a sense of being alive and to add a sense of realism. Peplos Kore: Reconstruction of the paint on the Peplos Kore. A kore plural korai sculpture depicts a female youth.

Whereas kouroi depict athletic, nude young men, the female korai are fully-clothed, in the idealized image of decorous women. However, they also have Archaic smiles, with arms either at their sides or with an arm extended, holding an offering. The figures are stiff and retain more block-like characteristics than their male counterparts. Their hair is also stylized, depicted in long strands or braids that cascade down the back or over the shoulder. A slight indentation between the legs, a division between her torso and legs, and the protrusion of her breasts merely hint at the form of the body underneath.

Remnants of paint on her dress tell us that it was painted yellow with details in blue and red that may have included images of animals. The presence of animals on her dress may indicate that she is the image of a goddess, perhaps Artemis, but she may also just be a nameless maiden. Acropolis Kore, c. Later korai figures also show stylistic development, although the bodies are still overshadowed by their clothing. The example of a Kore — BCE from the Athenian Acropolis shows a bit more shape in the body, such as defined hips instead of a dramatic belted waistline, although the primary focus of the kore is on the clothing and the drapery.

This kore figure wears a chiton a woolen tunic , a himation a lightweight undergarment , and a mantle a cloak. Her facial features are still generic and blank, and she has an Archaic smile. Even with the finer clothes and additional adornments such as jewelry, the figure depicts the idealized Greek female, fully clothed and demure. Pediment of the Temple of Artemis at Corfu, c. Corfu, Greece. This sculpture, initially designed to fit into the space of the pediment, underwent dramatic changes during the Archaic period, seen later at Aegina. The west pediment at the Temple of Artemis at Corfu depicts not the goddess of the hunt, but the Gorgon Medusa with her children; Pegasus, a winged horse; and Chrysaor, a giant wielding a golden sword surrounded by heraldic lions.

Medusa faces outwards in a challenging position, believed to be apotropaic warding off evil. Additional scenes include Zeus fighting a Titan, and the slaying of Priam, the king of Troy, by Neoptolemos. These figures are scaled down in order to fit into the shrinking space provided in the pediment. Dying Warrior, c. Sculpted approximately one century later, the pedimental sculptures on the Temple of Aphaia at Aegina gradually grew more naturalistic than their predecessors at Corfu. The dying warrior on the west pediment c.

His hair remains stylized with round, geometric curls and textured patterns. The warrior props himself up with an arm, and his whole body is tense, despite the fact that he has been struck by an arrow in his chest. His face, with its Archaic smile, and his posture conflict with the reality that he is dying.

The dying warrior on the east pediment c. Although he bears a slight Archaic smile, this warrior actually reacts to his circumstances. Nearly every part of him appears to be dying. Instead of propping himself up on an arm, his body responds to the gravity pulling on his dying body, hanging from his shield and attempting to support himself with his other arm. His muscles are contracted and limp, depending on which ones they are, and they seem to strain under the weight of the man as he dies.

Archaic black- and red-figure painting began to depict more naturalistic bodies by conveying form and movement. The Archaic period saw a shift in styles of pottery decoration, from the repeating patterns of the Geometric period , through the Eastern-influenced Orientalizing style, to the more naturalistic black- and red-figure techniques.

During this time, figures became more dynamic and defined by more organic—as opposed to geometric—elements. Black-figure painting, which derives its name from the black figures painted on red backgrounds, was developed by the Corinthians in the seventh century BCE and became popular throughout the Greek world during the Archaic period. As painters became more confident working in the medium , human figures began to appear on vases and painters and potters began signing their creations.

Francois Vase: Made by Kleitias and Ergotimos. The krater, named for the man who discovered it in the nineteenth century, depicts figures on the six registers that wrap around the krater. Unlike the monumental vases of the Geometric period, this krater stands at 66 cm 2. The surface depicts various mythological scenes with many figures labeled by name. The other side depicts Theseus, who slayed the Minotaur , with Athenian youths and his wife Ariadne.

Other registers depict scenes of the Trojan War and Peleus with his son Achilles. Instead of filling negative space with patterns and geometric designs, Kleitias leaves areas empty. The people and horses are depicted differently than Oriental and Geometric prototypes. Bodies are more accurately rendered and less dependent on geometric shapes, although profile views dominate, and sharp lines provide texture for musculature and clothing.

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While many figures still stand flat-footed, the limbs of people, horses, and centaurs show movement and are dramatic compositions within the confines of the style. Athenian Black-figure amphora, c. Vulci, Italy. Exekias, considered the most prominent black-figure painter of his time, worked between and BCE in Athens.

He is regarded by art historians as an artistic visionary whose masterful use of incision and psychologically sensitive compositions mark him as one of the greatest of all Attic vase painters. His vessels display attention to detail and precise, intricate lines. Exekias is also well-known for reinterpreting mythologies. One example is an amphora that depicts the Greek warriors Achilles and Ajax playing dice. Both men are decorated with fine incised details, showing elaborate textile patterns and almost every hair in place. As they wait for the next battle with the Trojans, their game foreshadows their fates.

The technique is similar to black-figure painting but with key differences. Instead of painting a figure with black slip and using a burin to scrape away the slip to create details, red-figure painting has the background painted black and the figures left the red color of the terra cotta. Black slip was painted with a brush to add detail. Brushes could achieve more fluid lines than a burin, so details were better rendered and figures became livelier than the black-figure silhouettes.

The black slip could also be diluted with water to create shades for modeling bodies or clothing. Overall, the technique allowed vase painters to create compositions that rendered the body more naturally. Red-figure side of a bilingual amphora, c. Black-figure side of a bilingual amphora, c. Bilingual vase painting became popular with the advent of red-figure painting. Bilingual vases were painted with a single scene on each side of the vessel, usually the same scene rendered twice. One side depicts the scene in black-figure and the other side depicts the scene in red-figure.

The Andokides Painter is credited as the inventor of red-figure style and its early production on bilingual vases. A score of vases with black figures, whose attribution is disputed by some researchers, show that the Andokides painter gradually attained greater control and virtuosity in the technique. Earlier examples appear a little stiff.

Later, the artist exploits the benefits inherent in the technique and utilizes a range of colors from red to dark brown. The Andokides painter marked the arrival of the red-figure style that was later used by many artists. Heracles was his favorite character. Revelers Vase: Red-figure amphora, c. Additional red-figure painting can be seen in the work of the rivals Euthymides and Euphronios. Euthymides is known as a pioneer of red-figure painting. His vessels depict people in movement and he attempted perspective by showing figures with foreshortened limbs. The Revelers Vase is an amphora that depicts three drunk men dancing.

While the figures do not overlap, the bodies are in shown in profile, three-quarter view, and from behind. Breaking the traditional rigidity of contemporary Archaic statues and paintings, the revelers are in dynamic postures. The two outer figures stand in active stances, with their legs and hands in motion. The middle figure is in a twisted position, with his back to the viewer and his head looking over his left shoulder.

The use of foreshortening , although rudimentary, gives the entire composition a more natural and believable feel. Herakles and Antaios: Euphronios. Herakles Wrestling Antaios. Athenian Red-figure calyx krater. Cervetri, Italy. The painter Euphronios is also recognized for his dramatic and complex compositions. He used diluted clay slip to create a range of shades to color his figures, making them appear energetic and present in three-dimensional space.

A scene of Herakles and Antaios wrestling conveys the bodies of both men with previously unseen naturalism. Early Classical Greek marble sculptures and temple decorations display new conventions to depict the body and severe style facial expressions. The Temple of Zeus at Olympia is a colossal ruined temple in the center of the Greek capital Athens that was dedicated to Zeus, king of the Olympian gods. Its plan is similar to that of the Temple of Aphaia at Aegina. It is hexastyle , with six columns across the front and back and 13 down each side. It has two columns directly connected to the walls of the temple, known as in antis, in front of both the entranceway pronaos and the inner shrine opisthodomos.

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Like the Temple of Aphaia, there are two, two-story colonnades of seven columns on each side of the inner sanctuary naos. The pedimental figures are depicted in the developing Classical style with naturalistic yet overly muscular bodies. Most of the figures are shown with the expressionless faces of the Severe style. The figures on the east pediment await the start of a chariot race, and the whole composition is still and static.

A seer, however, watches it in horror as he foresees the death of Oenomaus.


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This level of emotion would never be present in Archaic statues and it breaks the Early Classical Severe style, allowing the viewer to sense the forbidding events about to happen. Seer from the east pediment of the Temple of Zeus, marble, c. Unlike the static composition of the eastern pediment, the Centauromachy on the western pediment depicts movement that radiates out from its center. The centaurs, fighting men, and abducted women struggle and fight against each other, creating tension in another example of an early portrayal of emotion.

Most figures are depicted in the Severe style. However, some, including a centaur, have facial features that reflect their wrath and anger. Centauromachy, c. The twelve metopes over the pronaos and opisthodomos depict scenes from the twelve labors of Herakles.

Like the development in pedimental sculpture, the reliefs on the metopes display the Early Classical understanding of the body. It is from the Temple of Zeus at Olympia. From the Temple of Zeus at Olympia. The scenes depict varying types of compositions. Some are static with two or three figures standing rigidly, while others, such as Herakles and the Cretan Bull, convey a sense of liveliness through their diagonal composition and overlapping bodies. Kritios Boy, marble, c.

A slightly smaller-than-life statue known as the Kritios Boy was dedicated to Athena by an athlete and found in the Perserchutt of the Athenian Acropolis. Its title derives from a famous artist to whom the sculpture was once attributed. The marble statue is a prime example of the Early Classical sculptural style and demonstrates the shift away from the stiff style seen in Archaic kouroi.

The torso depicts an understanding of the body and plasticity of the muscles and skin that allows the statue to come to life. Part of this illusion is created by a stance known as contrapposto. This describes a person with his or her weight shifted onto one leg, which creates a shift in the hips, chest, and shoulders to create a stance that is more dramatic and naturalistic than a stiff, frontal pose.

This contrapposto position animates the figure through the relationship of tense and relaxed limbs. However, the face of the Kritios Boy is expressionless, which contradicts the naturalism seen in his body. This is known as the Severe style. The blank expressions allow the sculpture to appear less naturalistic, which creates a screen between the art and the viewer. This differs from the use of the Archaic smile now gone , which was added to sculpture to increase their naturalism.

However, the now empty eye sockets once held inlaid stone to give the sculpture a lifelike appearance. Polykleitos was a well-known Greek sculptor and art theorist during the early- to mid-fifth century BCE. He is most renowned for his treatise on the male nude, known as the Canon, which describes the ideal, aesthetic body based on mathematical proportions and Classical conventions such as contrapposto.

His Doryphoros, or Spear Bearer, is believed to be his representation of the Canon in sculpted form. The statue depicts a young, well-built soldier holding a spear in his left hand with a shield attached to his left wrist. Both military implements are now lost. The figure has a Severe-style face and a contrapposto stance. This is a Roman marble copy of a Greek bronze original, c. This sculpture demonstrates how the use of contrapposto creates an S-shaped composition. The juxtaposition of a tension leg and tense arm and relaxed leg and relaxed arm, both across the body from each other, creates an S through the body.

Surviving Greek bronze sculptures from the Early Classical period showcase the skill of Greek artists in representing the body and expressing motion. Diadoumenos Atenas Roman copy : The extension connecting the tree trunk to the leg of the figure is an example of a strut used in marble Roman copies of original Greek bronzes. Bronze was a popular sculpting material for the Greeks.

Composed of a metal alloy of copper and tin, it provides a strong and lightweight material for use in the ancient world, especially in the creation of weapons and art. The Greeks used bronze throughout their history. Because bronze is a valuable material, throughout history bronze sculptures were melted down to forge weapons and ammunition or to create new sculptures.

The Greek bronzes that we have today mainly survived because of shipwrecks, which kept the material from being reused, and the sculptures have since been recovered from the sea and restored. The Greeks used bronze as a primary means of sculpting, but much of our knowledge of Greek sculpture comes from Roman copies. The Romans were very fond of Greek art, and collecting marble replicas of them was a sign of status, wealth, and intelligence in the Roman world.

Roman copies worked in marble had a few differences from the original bronze. Struts , or supports, were added to help buttress the weight of the marble as well as the hanging limbs that did not need support when the statue was originally made in the lighter and hollow bronze. The struts appeared either as rectangular blocks that connect an arm to the torso or as tree stumps against the leg, which supports the weight of the sculpture, as in this Roman copy of the Diadoumenos Atenas.

The lost wax technique, which is also known by its French name, cire perdue, is the process that ancient Greeks used to create their bronze statues. The first step of the process involves creating a full-scale clay model of the intended work of art. This would be the core of the model. Once completed, a mold is made of the clay core and an additional wax mold is also created. The wax mold is then be placed between the clay core and the clay mold, creating a pocket, and the wax is melted out of the mold, after which the gap is filled with bronze.

Once cooled, the exterior clay mold and interior clay coreis are carefully removed and the bronze statue is finished. The multiple pieces are welded together, imperfections smoothed, and any additional elements, such as inlaid eyes and eyelashes, are then added. Because the clay mold must be broken when removing the figure, the lost wax method can be used only for making one-of-a-kind sculptures.

The Charioteer of Delphi is an Early Classical bronze sculpture of a life-sized chariot driver. An inscription at the base tells us that the statues were originally dedicated by a man, named Polyzalus of Gela, to Apollo at the Sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi. Polyzalus commissioned and dedicated the work in commemoration of his victorious chariot race during the Pythian Games. The Charioteer is the only remaining part of a large statue group that included the chariot, grooms, and horses. Charioteer of Delphi: Charioteer of Delphi.

Sanctuary of Apollo, Delphi, Greece. While the commissioner was a tyrant of the Greek colonial city of Gela on Sicily, the statue is believed to have been made in Athens. It was made by the lost wax technique in multiple sections and then assembled. The Charioteer stands tall, his right arm stretched out to grasp reins; his left arm is missing. He has a high waist, which probably looked more natural when he stood on his chariot. However, despite the high waist, the figure has a high degree of naturalism , on par with the marble sculptural developments of the Early Classical style.

The arms, face, and feet are rendered with high plasticity, and the inlaid eyes and added copper of his lips and eyelashes all add a degree of naturalism. When compared to Archaic sculptures, it appears very natural. However, as an Early Classical sculpture, the Charioteer has yet to achieve the full Classical style. The Archaic smile is gone, but his appears almost blank and expressionless, on par with other sculptures produced in the Severe stye of the Early Classical period.

Bronze, c. The Riace Warriors are a set of two nude, bronze sculptures of male warriors that were recovered off the coast of Riace, Italy. They are a prime example of Early Classical sculpture and the transition between Archaic to Classical sculpting styles. The figures are nude, unlike the Charioteer. Their bodies are idealized and appear dynamic, with freed limbs, a contrapposto shift in weight, and turned heads that imply movement. The muscles are modeled with a high degree of plasticity, which the bronze material amplifies through natural reflections of light. Additional elements, such as copper for the lips and nipples, silver teeth, and eyes inlaid with glass and bone, were added to the figures to increase their naturalism.

Both figures originally held a shield and spear, which are now lost. Warrior B wears a helmet, and it appears that Warrior A once wore a wreath around his head. The Artemision Bronze represents either Zeus or Poseidon. Both gods were represented with full beards to signify maturity. However, it is impossible to identify the sculpture as one god or the other because it can either be a lightning bolt symbolic of Zeus or a trident symbolic of Poseidon in his raised right hand.

The figure stands in heroic nude, as would be expected with a god, with his arms outstretched, preparing to strike. The bronze is in the Severe style with an idealized, muscular body and an expressionless face. Like the Charioteer and the Riace Warriors, the Artemision Bronze once held inlaid glass or stone in its now-vacant eye sockets to heighten its lifelikeness. The right heel of the figure rises off the ground , which anticipates the motion the figure is about to undertake.

The ceramic art from Early Classical Greece displays important compositional developments and increased naturalism in the figures. The Classical period witnessed the continuation of red- and black-figure painting techniques on ceramic objects. While artists continued to produce black-figure paintings into the second century BCE, the technique became increasingly rare, overtaken around BCE by red-figure painting.

Attic red-figure vases were exported throughout Greece and beyond, and for a long time dominated the market for fine ceramics. Only a few centers of pottery production could compete with Athens in terms of its innovation, quality, and production capacity. Red-figure painting continued to flourish during the Early, High, and Late Classical periods. The naturalism of the figures in Early Classical vase painting continued to increase, as the figures became less stocky and less linear.

Both the figures and their drapery began to appear more plastic, and the scenes often depicted a single moment within a mythical story or event. Furthermore, vase painting began to be influenced by the changes occurring in both sculpture and the large-scale painting of walls and panels. The Mannerists were a group of Attic red-figure painters known for their affected emotive subject matter. Their main characteristic is that they maintained features of black-figure vase painting in the red-figure technique.

Their figures seem elongated and have small heads, the garment folds fall stiff and resemble stairs, and the images are framed with black-figure style ornamentations. The range of motifs is also influenced by previous periods. The figures gesticulate as if using a form of sign language—the hands often appear stiff and theatrical.

This story alludes to ancient Greek admonitions against hubris, or extreme pride. The scene is one of the first vase painting scenes to show the figures on different ground lines. One child has even fallen behind a rock in the landscape. On the other side of the vase is an image of gods and heroes, with Herakles at the center. All the figures stand and sit on various ground lines. The figures on both sides are depicted from multiple angles, including three-quarter view, and a profile eye is used for the figures in profile, a first in Greek vase painting.

The reverse side of the krater depicts Artemis and Apollo slaying the children of Niobe. An Athenian red-figure calyx krater, c. The Berlin Painter is another well-known Early Classical vase painter. His unique style depicts figures, isolated from context, on a small ground line against a glossy black background. He pays particular attention to the details of the body and the drapery of each figure, and allows both figure and drapery to express emotion, space , and movement. His painting entitled Ganymede with a Hoop and Cock conveys a sense of dynamism by arranging the body through a series of diagonal outlines, using contour lines to mark the locations of muscles and tendons beneath the skin.

White-ground painting developed around BCE and gained popularity during the following century. The technique is based on the use of paints, instead of slip, to create polychrome vessels. The vessels were first coated in a white slip before various colors of paint were added. The white background and firing techniques allowed for various colors to be used, including blue, yellow, red, brown, and green. Because the style is less durable than black- and red-figure painting, it was often used for votives and as grave offerings.

The common outline paintings of the white-ground technique would not dominate the style until approximately the mid-fifth century BCE. For the first 50 years of white-ground painting, known as Type I, the imagery resembled conventional black-figure painting, with the color of the background as the only difference. This depiction of Herakles fighting Geryon provides an example of Type I white-ground painting. Herakles Fighting Geryon: Herakles in the center attacks Geryon on the far right. Eurytion lays wounded at their feet. Athena on the left watches the scene.

Attic white-ground black-figure lekythos. White-ground painting is often seen on a lekythos , a vessel used to hold oils, which were sometimes used for anointing the dead. Due to this funerary function, lekythoi were also used as grave offerings. As such, many of the scenes painted on white-ground lekythoi depict or allude to funerary scenes such as funerary rites and rituals or images of warriors departing their wives for battle and death.

While the scene of Herakles fighting Geryon depicts a rather violent prelude to death, the imagery on later lekythoi is somewhat more sedate. The Achilles Painter, a pupil of the Berlin Painter and creator of both red-figure and white-ground vessels, is one of the most well-known white ground painters. The scenes he painted on his white-ground lekythoi are filled with pathos and sorrow, often depicting women sitting in front of grave stelae or bidding their battle-bound husbands farewell.

Overall, in both white-ground and red-figure painting during the Early Classical period, the form of the body was perfected by the artisans. Painted vessels were now depicting figures on a two-dimensional plane, with the illusion of three-dimensional space. These figures were rendered in that space naturally, in terms of their movement and form.

Black-figure painting nearly disappeared in the Early Classical period and was primarily reserved for objects made to seem old or to recall antique styles, such as victory amphorae for the Panhellenic Games. High and Late Classical architecture is distinguished by its adherence to proportion, optical refinements, and its early exploration of monumentality.

During the Classical period, Greek architecture underwent several significant changes. The columns became more slender, and the entablature lighter during this period. In the mid-fifth century BCE, the Corinthian column is believed to have made its debut. Gradually, the Corinthian order became more common as the Classical period came to a close, appearing in conjunction with older orders, such as the Doric. Additionally, architects began to examine proportion and the chromatic effects of Pentelic marble more closely. In the construction of theaters, architects perfected the effects of acoustics through the design and materials used in the seating area.

The architectural refinements perfected during the Late Classical period opened the doors of experimentation with how architecture could define space, an aspect that became the forefront of Hellenistic architecture. Throughout the Archaic period, the Greeks experimented with building in stone and slowly developed their concept of the ideal temple. Many temples during the Classical period followed this formula for their peripteral colonnade , although not all.

Furthermore, many temples in the Classical period and beyond are noted for the curvature given to the stylobate of the temple that compensated for optical distortions.

Classical Landscape with Figures: The Ancient Greek City and its Countryside Classical Landscape with Figures: The Ancient Greek City and its Countryside
Classical Landscape with Figures: The Ancient Greek City and its Countryside Classical Landscape with Figures: The Ancient Greek City and its Countryside
Classical Landscape with Figures: The Ancient Greek City and its Countryside Classical Landscape with Figures: The Ancient Greek City and its Countryside
Classical Landscape with Figures: The Ancient Greek City and its Countryside Classical Landscape with Figures: The Ancient Greek City and its Countryside
Classical Landscape with Figures: The Ancient Greek City and its Countryside Classical Landscape with Figures: The Ancient Greek City and its Countryside

Related Classical Landscape with Figures: The Ancient Greek City and its Countryside



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