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Art Forms Through the Ages

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From the Archaic period through the Hellenistic in ancient Greece, different art forms developed at different speeds in reflection to society. In the 7th century B.C. witnessed the slow development of the Archaic style exemplified by black and red figures in vase painting, and sculptures most often depicted what is known as the "archaic smile." The characteristic smile of archaic sculptures portrayed the Greek's sense of certainty and optimism in facing a world that they seemed increasingly able to control, however, the onset of the Persian Wars shifted the sculptural expressions to a more somber and concerned look. The Kritos Boy, a sculpture from 490 B.C.E., marks the literal turning point from the Archaic World to the early Classical period. Often referred to as the Golden Age, the Classical period produced artist exploring ideas and styles from the century before but with an increased effort in humanizing art. The conventions and rules of the classical period eventually gave way to experimentation and a sense of freedom that allowed artists to explore their subjects from different unique points of view. The Hellenistic period produced art forms that were no longer constrained by a central religious ideology; rather the works from this era were more secular and geared toward dramatic human emotions.

The ancient Greeks had no obsession with the afterlife, but were mostly concerned with the comfort of their expedient existence, and they often sought to immojavascript:deletePaper(123856)rtalize their own actions and beliefs through art. Archaic sculptures such as Kore and Kouros represent the Greeks shift from abstract designs for increasingly realistic forms of art. Sculptures from this era reflected the artists attempt to answer such questions as: what do humans really look like? What is the true nature of appearance? Socially, the hereditary aristocrats of this time were beginning to lose their commanding status, and the Archaic smile of these statutes almost foretold a cultural revolution on the horizon. With all muscles tense and poised, they stood with frozen smiles as if they knew what was about to occur; the golden age of Greek thought.

The central principle of the classical age was the idea that existence could be ordered and controlled in a balanced society, thus confidence in human reason and self knowledge showed through in Greek statutes. Artists began revealing new interests in representing the human body in motion, such as Myron with the Discuss Thrower in 450 B.C.E. In striving for naturalism and perfection, works such as the Doryphoros and the Canon were constructed using precise mathematical formulas representing the perfect male body. During the classical period sculptors created many works for temples, but also depicted successful athletes and rich families designed to show respect to the gods. When Alexander the Great died in 323 B.C.E., the division of his empire spread Greek



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