High Classical Greek Sculpture In Athens

2493 words - 10 pages

High Classical Greek Sculpture in Athens

A great change came about in Greek art of the 17thCentury B.C. that was the beginning of the archaicage. In this century, the dominant theoretical geometric patterning, about 1050 and 700 B.C.,was replaced by a more naturalistic approach reflecting considerable influence from the Egypt and Near East. Market places in the Nile Delta and the Levant motivated Greek artists to work in diverse practices such as metalworking, jewelry making, ivory carving, and gem cutting. Eastern graphic motifs such as lotus compositions, animal hunts and composite beasts namelysirens (part bird, part woman), sphinxes (part winged lion, part woman), ...view middle of the document...

Among the original examples of the type is the kouros, which is in the Metropolitan Museum,revealing Egyptian influence in both its proportions and pose. Erected in cemeteries outside the city walls and in sanctuaries, these large statues acted as grave markers or dedications to the gods. Athenian aristocrats commonly erected luxurious funerary monuments in the city and its surroundings, mostly for their relatives who had died young. Such memorials also took the outward appearance of stelai decorated in relief (Boardman, 1980).
In the new Classical, sculpture was a perfect tool for expression. New methods in bronze casting were coined in the 6th century and were quickly diffused; centers of fabrication were identifiedin antiquity by their alloys. Accessibility of quality marble determined thecenters of fabrication of stone curving. After the bogus dawns of Sparta (grey marble of Mt. Taygetos) and Crete (local limestone) in the 17thcentury, Paros and Naxos dominated6th-century sculpture production. The Parian colony exploited its own marble sources for local use only. Thasos and Naxosattempted massive statuary in simulation of Egypt. The sculptors ofSicily and South Italy were limited to local limestone and hence imported Parianmarble for luxurious use. The acrolithic technique was developed in areas that lackedquality stone in which marble limbs and heads were attached to wooden torsos. Athens not only attracted marbles from theislands and sculptors but also used homegrown resources(white and grey marbles) and talents. The Persian attackof Greece in the first decades of the 5thcentury brought about the end of Naxian marble production.Because of the artistic and politicaldomination of Athens made herthe master of the island states(Moore, 2010).
Prehistoric and Early Greek Art
In the late 6th millennium B.C., the Cycladic islands, located in the southwestern Aegean Sea, weresettled. The sculptures made throughoutthe Neolithic epoch are the predecessors of the numerous and well known pieces which dates between 3200 and2000 B.C. These are usuallycalled Cycladic. Cycladic works are the creations of apoorly understoodculture. A small number of settlements have been identified, much of the evidencecomes from graves, and scholars havenot ascertained the exact origin of the occupants. In the prevalenceof human appearance, the use of marble sharpened with color,the carefulmaintenance of proportions, and the harmony of all theparts. These arts initiate the magnificentconvention of Greek marblesculpture (Jasper & Oswyn, 1986).

In Athens, the poet and lawgiverSolon instituted revolutionarychanges and set up a written code of laws. At the same time, potters (both foreign native-born) acquired Corinthian practices in Athens and by 550 B.C., Athenianblack-figure pottery work dominated the export throughout the Mediterranean area. The Athenian around Athens were also referred to as "Attic".Athenian vases of the second half of the 6thcentury B.C. gave a...

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