The Greeks believed in living the perfect life. They believed that a variety of different gods (as in Greek Mythology) controlled different aspects of every persons destiny on earth. They believed these gods acted in very human ways and had great respect and fear for them.
As a result, many buildings and works of art were created to please the different gods and give the Greek people places to worship.
A sacred hill in Athens, Greece that rises some 500 feet above the surrounding city. It is covered with buildings, temples, and statues. It was intended to be a tribute to the Gods and placed at high on the land so they could be closer.
It was also intended to symbolize the glory and power of Athens to those that approached.
One of the Greeks greatest contributions was in architecture. An example of this would be the Parthenon. It took 10 years to build this massive structure that sits atop the Acropolis. Its purpose is that of a temple.
The Parthenon (Cont.)
Its appearance today is much different than how it originally looked. Inside there was a giant statue of Athena, a Greek goddess, along with other statues and embellishments. Centuries of war and environmental factors have left it just a shell of what it once was.
Oddly enough, there is a full scale replica in Nashville,TN.
The Three Orders of Greek Decorative Style
The Three Orders of Decorative Style
Over time, the Greeks developed three different styles of architecture. For the most part you can tell the difference in the decorative style by looking at the type of column and capital that is used in construction.
These three decorative styles have been used since being developed by the ancient Greeks and are still very popular today.
The Doric Style
A simple, heavy column without a base, topped by a plain capital that has no ornamentation.
The Ionic Style
Used an elaborate base and capitol in the form of scrolls.
It was the second of the three styles developed.
The Corinthian Style
The most elaborate of the three orders. It is elongated and decorated with leaves. It usually sits atop a plain column and has heavy detail.
Greek Sculpture Three Distinct Periods .
The Archaic Period
Sculptors created large, rigid, freestanding sculptures called Kouros. Original intention of these sculptures is unknown. Very similar to Egyptian sculpture.
The Classical Period
Greek sculptors were interested in to the human form moving in space. There was also great care taken to create the ideal proportions of the human form. Anatomical perfection was important.
The Hellenistic Period
Aesthetic beauty was less important to the sculptors of this time period. They were interested in showing emotion on the face and used realistic proportions as opposed to ideal proportions of the classical period.
The ancient Greeks loved color…at one time most of the sculptures were painted in bright, vivid colors and layered in gold. Over time this has worn away, but there are some that are still found with traces of faded color.
Unfortunatly, most of the paintings and wall murals have been destroyed over the years by h, time, and war.
Greek Vase Making
The Greek vase served the purpose of grave markers for the ancient Greeks. Although not urns for ashes, they marked the burial site. Early vases were decorated with simple, geometric patterns.
Greek Vase Decoration
Later vases used realism to construct a story on the outside of the vase about the deceased. Similar to the way the Egyptians before them would use hieroglyphs inside of the tombs.
ROMAN ART This period lasted from approx. 100 B.C. to 300 A.D.
One of the Romans biggest contributions was in architecture. The span of their empire was vast, and examples of their architectural style can be seen all over Eastern Europe.
Were large rectangular buildings constructed to hold large numbers of people. It was often used as a public forum and meeting place.
Was a temple built for the Roman gods but eventually became a Christian church. Its main feature is a massive domed roof with a hole in the middle to allow for light. Of course, the rain gets in, but the Romans designed it so that the floor sloped down to the middle and they built a drainage system for the water collected.
It was built to house all sorts of sporting events...chariot races and gladiator fights among them. The Colosseum is a great example of the use of arches. It’s design allowed it to fill up and empty out in just minutes.
Just like in the movie, the floor of the Colosseum was lined with trap doors that could be raised and lowered. However, the movie comes shy of the real slaughter that took place. On some occasions, as many as 5,000 pairs of gladiators and 11,000 animals were killed in the event.
A Triumphal Arch
A heavily decorated arch used by the Romans to celebrate a successful military campaign. Upon return from battle the victorious would march thru the arch in celebration.
The Aqueduct System
Was a system used by the Romans to bring water down out of the mountains to be used in the city. Gravitational flow and the use of arches in construction help make this system work. This was a major advancement for cities.
The Roman Empire was a wealthy one and recreation was an important part of daily life. The Romans built many structures to support their forms of recreation.
The Famous Roman Baths
Roman baths were vast enclosed structures that contained libraries, gyms, restaurants, and other forms of leisure. Of course, the most important feature was the bath itself. The “bath” was a series of pools that went from hot water to cool water.
These temperatures were maintained by slaves who worked in the rooms underneath the pools to keep them hot by stoking the fires. You would start in the hot pool and work your way down to the cool pool. Baths were one of the centers of the Roman social scene.
Roman Sculpture and Painting
Romans were very keen on Greek Art and followed their classical forms. Realism was an important factor in their artwork.
The public often commissioned portrait sculptures, and artists strived to create what the person actually looked like. This was in contrast to the Greeks who were more interested in the ideal forms.
Were used to decorate the often-elaborate homes of the Romans. These paintings were not hung on the wall, but painted on the wall for decor.