GEOMETRIC ART 900-700 BC This was a time of dramatic transformation that led to the establishment of primary Greek institutions The Greek city-state (polis) was formed, the Greek alphabet was developed, and new opportunities for trade and colonization were realized With the development of the Greek city-states came the construction of large temples and sanctuaries dedicated to patron deities (mostly Olympian Gods), which signaled the rise of religion The eighth century B.C. was the time of Homer The presence of fine metalwork attests to prosperity and trade. The armed warrior, the chariot, and the horse are the most familiar symbols of the Geometric period Firing terracotta vases; casting and cold working bronze; engraving gems; and working gold were the most common forms of art in this time. The only significant medium that had not yet evolved was that of monumental stone sculpture—large-scale cult images most likely were constructed of a material such as wood.
ARCHAIC PERIOD 700-500 BC The abstract geometric patterningis supplanted in the seventh century by a more naturalistic style reflecting significant influence from the Near East and Egypt. motifs were introduced—palmette and lotus compositions, animal hunts, and beasts such as griffins (part bird, part lion), sphinxes (part woman, part winged lion), and sirens (part woman, part bird). They portrayed their own myths and customs, thereby forging the foundations of Archaic and Classical Greek art.
Sparta produced remarkable ivory carvings and distinctive bronzes; Corinthian artisans invented a style of silhouetted forms s of small animals and plant motifs; The vase painters of Athens were more inclined to illustrate mythological scenes.
Throughout the sixth century B.C., Greek artists made increasingly naturalistic representations of human figure. two types of freestanding, large-scale sculptures predominated: the male kouros, or standing nude youth, and the female kore, or standing draped maiden. The kouros reveals Egyptian influence in both its pose and proportions.
ARCHAIC PERIOD 700-500 BC The two main orders of Greek architecture—the Doric order and the Ionic were established by the beginning of the sixth century B.C.
Thales of Miletos, demonstrated the cycles of nature and successfully predicted a solar eclipse and the solstices; Pythagoras of Samos, famous today for the theorem in geometry that bears his name, was an influential mathematician; In Athens, the lawgiver and poet Solon instituted groundbreaking reforms and established a written code of laws.
Black-figure pottery dominated the export market throughout the Mediterranean region providing a wealth of iconography illuminating numerous aspects of Greek culture, including funerary rites, daily life, athletics, warfare, religion, and mythology. The consequent invention of the red-figure technique, which offered greater opportunities for drawing and eventually superseded black-figure, is conventionally dated about 530 B.C.
CLASSICAL PERIOD 480-323 BC After the defeat of the Persians in 479 B.C., Athens dominated Greece politically, economically, and culturally. It had also developed into the first democracy. All adult male citizens participated in the elections and meetings of the assembly Pericles transformed the Acropolis into a lasting monument to Athens's newfound political and economic power. Dedicated to Athena, the Parthenon epitomizes the architectural and sculptural grandeur of Pericles' building program. The building itself was constructed entirely of marble and richly embellished with sculptureGreek artists attained a manner of representation that conveys a vitality of life as well as a sense of permanence, clarity, and harmony. Bronze, valued for its tensile strength and lustrous beauty, became the preferred medium for freestanding statuary, although very few bronze originals of the fifth century B.C. survive. The middle of the fifth century B.C. is often referred to as the Golden Age of Greece, particularly of Athens. The red-figure technique superseded the black-figure technique Great advances were made in portraying the human body, clothed or naked, at rest or in motion. In architecture, the Corinthian—characterized by ornate, vegetal column capitals—first came into vogue. For the first time, artistic schools were established as institutions of learning. During the mid-fourth century B.C., Macedonia became a formidable power under Philip II and the Macedonian royal court became the leading center of Greek culture; his son, Alexander the Great, cultivated the arts as no patron had done before him.
HELLENISTIC PERIOD 321-31 BC Alexander the Great and his armies conquered much of the known world, creating an empire that stretched from Greece and Asia Minor through Egypt and the Persian empire in the Near East to India. This unprecedented contact with cultures exposed Greek artistic styles to a host of new exotic influences. The death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C. traditionally marks the beginning of the Hellenistic period. Some Greek city-states asserted their independence through alliances. Royal families lived in splendid palaces with elaborate banquet halls and sumptuously decorated rooms and gardens. Hellenistic kings became prominent patrons of the arts, commissioning public works of architecture and sculpture Jewelrytook on new elaborate forms and incorporated rare and unique stones Hellenistic art is richly diverse in subject matter and in stylistic development. It was created during an age characterized by a strong sense of history. For the first time, there were museums and great libraries, such as those at Alexandria and Pergamon Hellenistic artists copied and adapted earlier styles, and also made great innovations. Representations of Greek gods took on new forms; the popular image of a nude Aphrodite, reflects the increased secularization of traditional religion. Also prominent in Hellenistic art are representations of Dionysos, as well as those of Hermes and Eros There are representations of unorthodox subjects, such as grotesques, and of more conventional inhabitants, such as children and elderly people. These images describe a diverse Hellenistic populace. The most avid collectors of Greek art were the Romans, who decorated their town houses and country villas with Greek sculptures The conventional end of the Hellenistic period is 31 B.C., the date of the battle of Actium. Octavian, who later became the emperor Augustus, defeated Marc Antony's fleet and, consequently, ended Ptolemaic rule. The Ptolemies were the last Hellenistic dynasty to fall to Rome. Interest in Greek art and culture remained strong during the Roman Imperial period For centuries, Roman artists continued to make works of art in the Hellenistic tradition.