• Considered to be the center of the world.
Delphi symbolically represents nature and
man brought together between the sea and
the hills. The temple of Apollo according to
legend housed Apollo since 4 days after his
birth, at which time he killed a serpent
(representing the forces of nature) and
• The pathway to the temple of Apollo and on
to the theater, begins at the lower end of the
sanctuary, rises up the hillside crisscrossing
past various structures and other artifacts or
remnants of Greek city states. As a collection,
the artifacts serve as representation of a
• Delphi has been important as the sanctuary of
gaia, the original goddess of the earth and
Greek and Roman Deities
• Most of the Greek deities were adopted by the
Romans, although in many cases there was a change
• According to the most widespread legend, twelve
major sky gods and goddesses established
themselves in patarial splendor on Mount Olympus
in northern Greece after defeating the earth deities,
called Giants or Titans, for control of the earth and
Greek and Roman Deities
• Zeus (Jupiter), supreme deity, Mature, bearded man, holds
scepter or lightning bolt; eagle and oak tree are sacred to him.
• Hera (Juno), goddess of marriage, Sister/Wife of Zeus,
Mature; cow and peacock are sacred to her.
• Hestia (Vesta), goddess of the hearth, Sister of Zeus, Her
sacred flame burned in communal hearths.
• Poseidon (Neptune), god of the sea. Holds a three pronged
spear; horse is sacred to him.
• Hades (Pluto), god of the underworld, the dead, and
wealth. His helmet makes the wearer invisible.
• The remaining seven sky gods, the offspring of the first five,
• Ares (Mars), god of war. Son of Zeus and Hera. Wears armor; vulture
and dog are scared to him.
• Hephaistos (Vulcan), god of the forge, fire, and metal handicrafts. Son
Hera (in some myths, also of Zeus); husband of Aphrodite. Lame
sometimes ugly; wears blacksmith's apron, carries hammer.
• Apollo (Phoebus), god of the sun, light, truth, music, archery, and
healing. Sometimes identified with Helios (the sun), who rides a chariot
across the daytime sky. Son of Zeus and Leto (a descendant of earth);
brother of Artemis. Carries bow and arrows or sometimes lyre; dolphin
and laurel are sacred to him.
• Athena (Minerva), goddess of wisdom, war, victory the city, and
civilization. Daughter of Zeus, sprang fully grown from his head. Wear
helmet and carries shield and spear, owl and olive trees are sacred to her.
• Hermes (Mercury), messenger of he gods, god of fertility and luck,
guide of the dead to ht eunderworld, and god of thieves, commerce, and
the marketplace. Son of Zeus and Maia, the daughter of Atlas, a Giant who
supports the sky on his shoulders. Wears winged sandals and hat; carries
caduceus, a wind with two snakes entwined around it.
OTHER IMPORTANT DEITIES INCLUDE.
• Demeter (Ceres), goddess of grain and agriculture.
• Persephone (Proserpina), goddess of fertility and queen of
the underworld. Wife of Hades; daughter of Demeter.
• Dionysos (Bacchus), god of wine, the grape harvest, and
inspiration. Shown surrounded by grape vines and grape
clusters; carries a wine cup. His female followers are called
• Eros (Cupid), god of love in some myths, the son of
Aphrodite. Shown as an infant or young boy. Sometimes
winged, carries bow and arrow.
• Pan, proctector of shepherds, god of the wilderness and of
music. Half man, half goat, he carries pan pipes.
• Nike, goddess of victory. Often seen winged and flying.
The Lefkandi Centaur
This centaur from Lefkandi on Euboea
is an important work of art for all
sorts of reasons. It dates to the 10th
century BC, and shows the typical
geometric patterning of the time. But
it also depicts the growing interest in
depicting figures rather than simply
designs, and shows an interest in
mythology, which will provide the
subject matter for much later Greek
art. The centaur appears to be
wounded in his left knee, indicating a
mythological encounter with
from the Dipylon
Athens. c. 750
height 42 5/8 "
(108 cm). The
Museum of Art,
Man and Centaur,
Olympia. c. 750
height 4 5/16" (11.1
Museum of Art,
Pitcher (olpe), from
Corinth. c. 600 BC.
Ceramic with black-figure
height 11 1/2"
Plan of a Typical Greek Temple
The numbers below correspond to the circled numbers above.
1. Stereobate (or substructure).
3. Colonnade (or peristyle).
4. Porch (or pronaos).
5. Cella (or naos).
6. Rear porch (or opisthodomus).
Kallikrates and Iktinos. Parthenon, Acropolis, Athens. 447-438 BC.
The Greeks developed three architectural systems, called orders,
each with their own distinctive proportions and detailing. The
Greek orders are: Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian.
The Doric style is rather
sturdy and its top (the
capital), is plain. This
style was used in
mainland Greece and
the colonies in
southern Italy and
The Ionic style is
thinner and more
elegant. Its capital is
decorated with a scroll-like
design (a volute).
This style was found in
eastern Greece and the
The Corinthian style is
seldom used in the
Greek world, but often
seen on Roman
temples. Its capital is
very elaborate and
Gorgon Medusa, detail of sculpture from the west pediment of the
Temple of Artemis, Korkyra. c. 580 BC. Limestone, height of pediment at
the center 9'2 " (2.79 m). Archaeological Museum, Korkyra (Corfu).
• As a female monster with snakes Medusa was one of
the most typical examples of the Other in Greek
culture. She epitomized the monstrous as being
female and wild. The demonization of snakes here is
particularly interesting. Comparison can be made
between these images of Medusa and
representations of the so-called Snake Goddess that
come from Minoan art of the middle of the second
Reconstruction of the
using fragments found
in the Sanctuary of
c. 530–525 BC.
This frieze shows the Gigantomachy, a legendary battle in
Greek mythology between the Giants and the Olympian
gods. The gods won by killing the Giants with the help of
Dying Warrior, sculpture from the left corner of the east
pediment of the Temple of Aphaia, Aegina. c. 480 BCE.
Marble, length 6' (1.83 m).
• KOUROS (plural: KOUROI) =male youth
• KORE (plural: KORAI): female figure / related
to the Egyptian idea of the queen as the
goddess Hathor; also to Middle East
representations of female deities
Attica. c. 580
height 6'4" (1.93
Museum of Art,
Chios, c. 520
This kouros served as a
grave marker and was
accompanied by the
"Stand and pity beside the
grave monument of dead
Kroisos, whom, at one
time, while fighting in the
front ranks of battle,
raging Ares destroyed".
Oval body with a vertical handle on either side. It was used for
storage of wine or sometimes oil. The name "Amphora" is from
the word "amphi" means on both sides and "phero" means to
Amphora is classified into "neck amphora", which has a offset
neck or "belly amphora", which has a continuous profile from the
lip to the foot. Former has some sub-categories: "nolan
amphora" with flaring mouth, "panathenaic amphora" a prize for
the winner of the game at the Panathenaic festival, "nikosthenic
amphora" derived from the Bucchero pottery, "pointed amphora"
with a knob at the bottom.
Amphora was produced from the beginning of the black-figure to
the end of the red-figure and became slender in later period.
Oval body, an offset neck with a thick mouth,
two vertical handles and a heavy stand.
Some geometric amphora have a decoration
"SOS" on either side of the neck. Black-figured
neck amphora usually has a lotus-palmette
pattern instead of "SOS" and figured scene on
Tyrrhenian amphora, made in the middle of
sixth century, has a tall body and the amphora
made by Exekias or other potter has a round
body, and later amphora has intermediate
Broad body tapering sharply downward, an offset
neck with a heavy mouth, handles cylindrical in
section and a small stand.
It was used as a prize for the Panathenaic game
held every four years and olive oil harvested from
the trees in Academia was contained.
Figured scene is arranged on either side of the
body, Athena between the columns is on one side,
the game he won on the other.
The oldest example is about 560 B.C. and painted
by the black-figure in the age of the red-figure and
hellenistic period. Since the fourth century, the
name of Archon for the year was appeared by the
right hand column.
Two horizontal handles at the sides,
used for lifting. The name "Hydria" is
from the word "hydor" means water.
It was produced from the beginning of
the black-figure, though early example
has a round body. Hydria with
continuous curve is called "Kalpis",
which was maybe introduced by the
Figured scene is arranged on the body
and often on the shoulder.
S shape profile from the flat lip to the foot
and a vertical handle. This shape is the
oldest oinochoe in the Attic black-figure
and produced from the beginning of it to
the end of the sixth century though there is
no example painted by the red-figure. It
was maybe developed into the "Oinochoe
type 5a" with thicker lip, since some late
olpe has a shape similar to the type 5.
The figured scene is arranged on the body
as a paneled picture.
Volute Krater Round body, an offset neck, a heavy stand
and two handles which is in the form of a
spiral with flanged sides rising from loops on
the shoulder to above to the rim. This shape
was introduced in the second quarter of the
sixth century, though the examples with the
black-figure are rare and flourished after the
end of the century. Workshops of Apulia, a
Greek colony in South Italy, favoured this
The form became slenderer as time went by
and Gorgoneia, masks of the Medusa, are
applied on the volutes of the handles in
Apulia. Figured scene is arranged on either
side of the body and sometimes on the neck.
Usually flower ornaments flourish the vase.
Dimensions: height about 70cm, though there
are many vases over 1m high in apulian
Deep body with the lower convex, the
upper slightly concave. A heavy stand
and handles which are set at the top of
the lower part, curve upward.
The first example was maybe produced
by Exekias in about 530B.C. In the age
of the red-figure, this shape was
favoured and used till the end of this
A frieze picture is arranged on the upper
part without a interruption by the
handles. A palmette pattern is usually
arranged on the lower part.
Bell shaped body with loop handles
placed high on the body and curving
slightly upward and a heavy stand. Some
early example have not loop handles but
This shape was introduced after the
beginning of the red-figure and especially
favoured after the middle of the fifth
The figured scene is arranged on the
body and the ornament is very simple.
Tall cylindrical body with an offset
shoulder, a tall neck with heavy
mouth, a vertical handle and heavy
stand and the diameter is largest on
This shape was introduced about the
late sixth century and white ground
lekythos used as a offering was
produced since the second quarter of
the fifth century, though disappeared
in the early fourth.
Figured scene is arranged on the
body and rarely on the shoulder,
where usually a five-palmette pattern
Oval body with an offset neck, a trefoil
mouth and a high handle. This shape was
produced from the beginning of the black-figure
to slightly before the end of the red-figure.
Normally, the ornament is only done on the
body, though there are some examples in
black-figure with a decoration on the neck.
Some late oinochoe have a white ground
body. Since this shape has a origin in the
bronze vessel, a relief ornament of human
head is attached on the connection
between the handle and the mouth. Red-figured
oinochoe usually has a panel on
the body and sometimes a palmette
pattern on the connection.
A deep bowl with a high vertical
handle on either side and a tall
stand. The word "Kantharos"
means dung beetle and it is maybe
used for this shape.
Kantharos was produced from the
beginning of the black-figure to the
end of the fifth century. However,
there are not so many example and
this shape is famous as a attribute
of Dionysos in the Greek vase
painting. There are some varieties:
with short stand, short handles, or
one handle. Some kantharoi in the
shape of the head of a woman,
Herakles or Satyrs were produced.
"Kylix" is a drinking cup with a horizontal handle on either side and
used for wine. Its name seems to be applied to the cup in any shape.
The kylix has a frieze picture on the either side of the outside, and
another in inside, which is called "tondo".
There are many varieties in the cup and classified by the shape of the
lid, handle and stand. "Komast cup" has deep bowl and short stand.
"Siana cup" has taller stand. "Merrythought cup" has handles shaped
like a wishbone. "Little master cup" has a shallow bowl and a tall
stand. "Gordion cup" is a midway between the siana cup and the little
"Kylix type A" has a broad stand and "kylix type B" has a continuous
curve from the lip to the foot. "Chalcidizing cup" has a short stand and
"Stemless cup" has no stand.
A deep bowl with
concaved lip, short
horizontal handles and a
short stand. It was named
after komast, a drunk,
which preferred in this
It was made 590-570 B.C.
and developed into the
Siana cup. Figures are
depicted on the outside in
the frieze pictures. A flower
decoration is often depicted
on the lip.
ca. 540-530 BC
Exekias (c. 550–525 BC)
Athenian - Greek potter and painter who was the
leading vase painter of the Attic School in the
archaic black-figured style, with the Amasis
Painter, is considered the finest of black-figure
masters of the mid-6th century BC and is one of
the major figures in the history of the art. His
name is found on 11 vases. The most common
inscription on the vases is “Exekias epoiesen me”
(“Exekias made me”).
a game c. 540
ceramic 2’ in
of Sarpedon, c.
• Euphronios was a vase-painter and potter working in the red-figure
technique in Athens from about 520 to 470 B.C. He
signed his name on eighteen vases, six times as painter and
twelve times as potter. To judge by their drawing style, the
vases that he signed as potter seem to be later than those he
signed as painter.
In his early career Euphronios was one of a group of Athenian
vase-painters who have been named the Pioneers by scholars
today. Working about 520 to 500 B.C., they were the first to
exploit the possibilities of drawing in the new red-figure
Classical Period c. 480-323 BC.
• The art of the Classical Greek style is characterized by a joyous
freedom of movement, freedom of expression, and it
celebrates mankind as an independent entity (atomo). During
this period, artists begin to expand the formal aesthetic
boundaries while they worked in expressing the human figure
in a more naturalistic manner. They were able to replace the
strict asymmetry of the figure with a free flowing form more
true to life, while they approached an ideal aesthetic vision
through stone and bronze.
• 480 BC: Early Classical
• 430 - 370 BC: High Classical
• 430 - 323 BC: Late Classical
Terms and Vocabulary
• Acropolis: A large group of buildings situated above the normal city (as if on top a
large hill) - literally translated into, "city above." The Parthenon is part of an
• Amphora: A type of jar used by the Greeks to store various provisions such as
corn, wine, oil, honey, etc… The opening is usually large enough to admit a ladle,
and typically was covered with a lid. Amphora literally means, “to carry on both
sides”, referring to the large handles placed to both sides of the neck.
• Barbarian: The etymology or origin of the word "barbarian" is derived from the
sound of the language that the so-called barbarians' of ancient Europe spoke. The
Persians were typically referred to as barbarians, given this name because their
speech was interpreted by the Greeks as: "bar"-"bar."
• Canon: Used in Canon of Proportions: an idealized mathematical system for
depictions of the human body.
• Centaur: A Greek mythical creature with the head and torso of a human, and the
body of a horse.
• Contrapposto: The appearance of weight shift in sculpture by the depiction of
counter-positioning, in which the body relaxes on one side as the other side takes
on the weight of the body and tenses up.
• Cornice: This is part of the Parthenon, and for that matter all Temple architecture,
is essentially the roof like structure that holds tops the temple. It consists of two
angled pieces (roughly 10 degrees from the horizontal) and a flat or base
piece. Typically on the west and east ends of temple Pedimental sculpture would
be onto the base cornice piece such that the two angled pieces shelter the
• Doric: The earliest order in Greek architecture, generally massive in appearance,
with undecorated columns.
• Frieze: Band of horizontal space located between the capital above the columns of
a building, and the cornice, usually used for some form of decoration. It is also
common for any structures immediately within a temple (like the inner-cella in the
Parthenon) to contain a frieze lining part or all of the same type of space above the
• In Situ: A term referring to artifacts being uncovered in the precise location where
they originally were used.
• Metope: This is part of a temple, like the Parthenon, that is located above
the frieze bordered of its right and left sides by two triglyphs, and typically
continue in such an alternating series around the entire temple
exterior. This just about square space is usually filled with relief sculpture
that, in most cases, follows a specific theme on each of the separate sides
of the temple (ie north, east, south, west).
• Pediment: In Classical architecture, the triangular space formed by the
ends of the roof and the cornice, usually used for decoration.
• Relief: Sculpture consisting of figures that are attached to the background,
generally a flat surface.
• Temple: Building used for religious purposes; in Greek civilization,
generally used to house a cult statue depicting certain gods or
• Triglyph: This is part of a temple that is located directly above the outer
frieze, and on the sides of a each metope. A triglyph has three vertical bar
like dividers that originate from more primitive forms of wooden and reed
A first century A.D. larger-than-life-size
(74 in. [ 2 m.]) marble statue copied from
a bronze statue originally done by
Polykleitos of Argos ca. 450 B.C.
The statue originally carried a spear in
his left hand. Note how the weight of the
person is placed on the right leg while the
left leg is balancing on the ball of the foot
conveying the moment of cessation of
Polykleitos developed rules of proportion
(a canon) for the human body that
subsequent sculptures followed and built
upon. He and other classical sculptors
stressed the ideal of physical perfection
emphasizing ideal proportions, smooth
skin, regular facial features, etc.
View from behind of marble
statue copied from a bronze
statue originally done by
Polykleitos of Argos ca. 450
The Development of Sculpture During
the Classic Time Period
• The style of the Classical period in Greek Sculpture
developed from the conventions of the earlier
Archaic Period. Through the Classical period (which
is usually divided into Early, Middle, and Late
Classical periods), the human figure evolved from the
one-dimensional rigidity of Archaic kouros and kore
figures, to a more realistic figure which interacted
with its three-dimensional environment.
• The important concept of weight shift was
first applied to sculpture in the Early Classical
period. With this application, the sculpted
figure came to be seen as moving in a
direction through space, rather than merely
standing in it, as in an Archaic statue. The
Middle (High) Classical period saw the
application of a Platonic canon of proportions
to sculpture; the sculpted figure could
represent the sculptor’s ideal of a ‘perfect’
• Finally, in the Late Classical period, sculpture
began to be realized as a three-dimensional
form, which took up and enclosed space. The
figure could be viewed, like a ‘real’ object,
from any three-dimensional angle. With the
figure spatially defined, the Classical style gave
way to the later Hellenistic period, during
which development of the emotional and
dramatic aspects of sculpture was to continue.
West Pediment: Battle of Lapiths and Centaurs.
• West pediment of the Temple of Zeus with the
Greek god Apollo in the middle. Apollo
represented reason, order and male beauty
and was associated with the arts and
West Pediment – Apollo with Battling Lapiths and Centaurs c.
• Most statues were originally created to revere a particular god
or goddess; most were of superhuman size and clothed in
grandiose garments that have deteriorated over
time. Eventually, as the Greek temple began to incorporate
elaborate carvings into its structure, sculptors were also called
upon to create large reliefs on the pediments, the triangular
space between the columns and the roof. These reliefs often
depicted ceremonies to honor the gods. Because religion was
so important during the beginning of the Classical period,
gods were portrayed in a standard form, and the study of
naturalism to show individuality was put to rest for a short
• In Greek mythology, centaurs are a mythical
race with the lower body and legs of a horse
and the shoulders and head of a man, and the
Lapiths are a mythical race from northern
Greece. When the Lapith king invited the
centaurs to a wedding feast, the centaurs got
drunk and tried to kidnap the Lapith
women. The Lapiths fought and defeated the
centaurs, and the Lapith women were
• According to legend, Athena sprang fully-grown and fully-armed
from the head of her father, Zeus, ruler of the gods on
Mount Olympus. It is told that he swallowed his pregnant first
wife, Metis, meaning wisdom, so that she would not bear a
child stronger than he. In some versions of the story, Athena's
birth was assisted by the blacksmith, Hephaestus, who
opened Zeus's head with a stroke of his axe. This metaphor
may suggest two possible interpretations and pose two
questions. Was Zeus demonstrating his power by giving birth
without a woman's help, or was he sharing his power with his
daughter? Certainly, Hephaestus, a son of Zeus by his second
wife, Hera, would appear to be an unlikely "midwife."
The Kritios boy belongs to the
Late Archaic period and is
considered the precursor to the
later classical sculptures of
athletes. The Kritios or Kritian boy
was thus named because it is
attributed to Kritios who worked
together with Nesiotes (Harmodius
and Aristogeiton) or their
scholarship, from around 480 BC.
The statue is made of marble and
is considerably smaller than life-size
at 1.17 m (3 ft 10 ins).
The Charioteer. It was sculpted in
about 470 BC and commemorated
the victory of a Syracusan prince in a
chariot race of the Pythian games and
was probably paid for by Gelon, the
tyrant of Syracuse. It is one of the few
ancient bronzes to come down to us
as most would have been melted
down to reuse their valuable raw
material. It was part of a group which
would have stood on a terrace wall up
slope from the Temple of Apollo. It fell
from this terrace and was preserved
by a landslide to be excavated by the
French in 1896. It is famous for the
contrast between its severe Classical
formality and its intensity and life-like
aspects. Note especially the veins on
the hands and the feet. This piece
drives home to us the enormity of
what we have lost from antiquity.
Attic Red Figure
Kylix ca. 480 b.c.
By the Foundry
Painter and the
The interior shows music and revelry. When the cup is rotated so that the
shoulder drapery folds are vertical, the youth tilts drunkenly backwards. On
the exterior, six party-goers sing and dance.
H. 9.3; L. 30.8; Dia. 23.6 cm.
Warrior, from the sea
off Riace, Italy, c.460
BC. H. 6'6" bronze.
The figure is bronze,
with bone and glass
eyes, silver teeth,
copper lips and
Many original bronze pieces were lost. Greek artists
melted down older statues to create new, more
naturalistic ones. The Romans and other invaders
melted the bronze to create weapons, shields and
armor. Fortunately, the Romans also admired the
Greek statues and often made marble copies before
destroying the original. The bronze statues that
survived were often found in shipwrecks in the sea,
like the "Young Warrior" figure below found off the
coast of Riace, Italy.
Pan Painter. Artemis Slaying Actaeon. c. 470 BC.
Red-figure decoration on a bell krater. Ceramic,
height of krater 14 5/8" (37 cm).
The High Classical Period
• The High Classical period, lasting from about 450 to
430 BCE, was dominated by a few prominent and
renowned sculptors, most notably was Phidias, who
supervised the large group of sculptors and
architects which built the Parthenon in Athens. The
sculptures on the pediments and other outside parts
of the building (a temple to the goddess Athena) deal
extensively with figures of gods and goddesses of the
Greek Pantheon and with heroic and mythological
• An important aspect of High Classical sculpture demonstrated
by sculptures of the gods is the fact that the nature of the
gods as personifications of concepts – war, love, death, etc. –
is recognized. Sculptors aimed to depict the concepts
represented by a deity as well as the personality itself. The
sculpture of the Parthenon, for example, being a temple of
Athena, depicts the different gods and goddesses in relation
to her. In fact, the entire pediment on the East end is a
depiction of the goddess' birth; with Athena located in the
center, being flanked on each side by fellow gods who each
react differently to her birth.
Parthenon, the Temple of Athena
• At the top of Mount Olympus in Athens, Greece, is the
Acropolis. an assembly of temples and associated structures
dedicated to the Greek gods and goddesses. At its peak is the
Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Parthenos, patroness of
Athens. Most of the temples were built during the 400's bce,
although admittedly built atop more ancient
structures. Today they lie in various stages of ruin from
causes as varied as Roman and Celtic invasion, earthquake
and fire, Christian Crusades and Muslim jihads. The image
below shows the Acropolis, with the white marble ruins of the
Parthenon at the top.
Iktinos and Kallikrates, Parthenon, the Temple of Athena
Parthenos (view from the northwest). Acropolis, Athens,
Greece, 447-438 BC.
The aerial view of the Acropolis below, shows the Parthenon in the upper
left corner. The Parthenon was designed by the Greek architects, Iktinos
and Kallikrates. An inscription on the Temple of Athena, to the right below,
states that "Alexander the Great gave the temple to Athena," meaning that
he paid for its construction.
Reconstruction of the
Athena Parthenos made
by Alan LeQuire and
housed at the Parthenon
replica in Nashville,
• In the 6th Century the Parthenon was converted to a
Christian church and the east pediment torn down
and many of its sculptures defaced. When the
crusaders who destroyed Constantinople occupied
Athens they began a period of western rule and the
Parthenon became the Roman Catholic Church of
Notre Dame. Finally during the Turkish occupation it
was converted into a mosque and a minaret was
built on the top. Except for the statue of Athena, the
statues of the east pediment and the treasures and
statues in the interior, the building was still
The Elgin Marbles
• The Elgin Marbles is the popular term for the
Parthenon Marbles, a large collection of marble
sculptures brought to Britain between 1801 and
1805 by Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin, the official
British resident in Ottoman Athens, who had ordered
them removed from the Parthenon. Since 1939 they
have been housed in the purpose-built Duveen
Gallery of the British Museum, London.
The Elgin Marbles include some of the statuary from the pediments, the Metope
panels depicting battles between the Lapiths and the Centaurs, as well as the
Parthenon Frieze which decorated the horizontal course set above the interior
architrave of the temple. As such, they represent more than half of what now
remains of the surviving sculptural decoration of the Parthenon: 247 feet from the
original 524 feet of frieze; 15 out of 92 metopes; 17 partial figures from the
pediments, as well as other pieces of architecture.
Parthenon, Akropolis, Athens, ca. 447-432 B.C.E. East Frieze, Slab 7
(marshals and women) It features figures that converge from either end
towards the enigmatic "peplos scene" at the center. These figures include
women, elderly men, and seated Olympian gods. Slab 7 shows two young
marshals and six standing women. The marshal on the left holds a basket.
Some of the women hold phialai (shallow offering dishes).
In 421 B.C. work finally
began on the temple that
was to replace the Archaic
Athena temple the Persians
The Temple of Athena Nike
• The Temple of Athena Nike. Last 1/4 of the 5th century BC.
Frieze is mutilated, but perhaps represents Greeks fighting
Persians -- perhaps at Plataia (479 BC.). Parapet around this
temple was composed of marble slabs decorated on the
outside with fine reliefs depicting winged Victories with
folded or extended wings setting up trophies or leading
sacrificial animals to honors Athena. Amphiprostyle Ionic
temple on the edge of the Acropolis, where Athenians
worshipped the goddess of victory, expressing their hopes for
a new triumph in the Peloponnesian War.
The Temple of Athena Nike. Last 1/4 of the 5th century BC.
of relief decoration
from the parapet
Temple of Athena
quarter of the 5th
Marble, height 42"
• The ancient Agora is located in the flat area to the
north of the Acropolis. A good view can be obtained
from the Areopagos hill, just west of the entrance to
• The Agora, which has been systematically excavated
by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens
since 1931, has a rich history and contains public
buildings from many different periods.
• The use of the area of the Agora can be traced
back to at least the Late Bronze Age or
Mycenaean period, when the area was used
as a burial ground. Close to 50 tombs have
been excavated, many of them belonging to
the wealthy families that formed the upper
echelons of Athenian society in the 14th and
13th centuries BC.
• The Archaic buildings in the Agora were almost
completely destroyed during the Persian invasion of
480/479 BC. When the Athenians returned to their
shattered city the Agora was one of the first areas to
be rebuilt. Significant work was done in the years
from 480 to 470 BC under the leadership of Kimon,
son of Miltiades and himself an important general. In
his time, a number of new buildings were erected in
the Agora, such as the Tholos and the Painted Stoa.
Kimon himself was responsible for the setting up of
three Herms and for the beautification of the central
part of the Agora by the planting of plane trees.
• Major destruction of the Agora took place in
86 BC by the Roman general Sulla. He had
been sent to punish Athens for her support of
the rebellion against Roman rule by king
Mithridates of Pontus. Later in the 1st century
BC relations with the Romans improved again
and the Emperors resumed the tradition of
Hellenistic benefactions to the city. In the
Agora the Temple of Ares and the Odeion of
Agrippa were built.
Attic black figure
hydria, Women at a
house, 520 - 510 BC.
• Classical art seemed to be more concerned with the
masculine figure as a subject for freestanding sculpture. We
see women more often in grave stele.
• The Greek rituals of death and bereavement included
making offerings to the deceased at the grave site and the
grave marker was central to the offering ritual. It was where
the living gathered and the spirits of the dead hovered.
• By the Classical era, people were no longer placing
monumental vases or kourai as monuments to the deceased,
they sometimes used smaller vases or they had a stone
markers carved with relief portraits. They portrayed the
dead as they had been in life: men with their occupations
and military affiliations, and women with their families and
Grave stele of Hegeso.
The relief stele (h. 1.58 m.,
w. 1 m.) represents the
daughter of Proxenos,
seated on a chair and, in
front of her, a maiden
servant. It was found in the
cemetery of Kerameikos, in
Athens. Dated to the end of
the 5th century B.C.
The Grave Stele of Hegeso
• Hegeso appears against an architectural background
representing her home, which was a common motif.
The deceased is seated, looking at a jewel her
(some say) slave has brought to her. Though this
type of marker is common, Hegeso seems more
idealized than other portrait stelai. She also has a
contemplative expression (something like
resignation to, or acceptance of, her fate) that is
expressive, She evokes pathos, the sadness and pity
the Greeks felt (and we do too) when another
white ground painting
• In white ground painting a white coating was applied to the
vase before black or red figures (depending upon the period)
were painted on. White ground pottery was restricted to
lekythoi (see introduction to this section) by the fifth century
B.C., and were made popular by the Achilles painter, a
workshop whose most famous pieces bore images of the
myth of the hero Achilles.
• The white-ground glaze was too temperamental to be used
for utilitarian pottery like cups and bowls, since the delicately
painted surface could be easily damaged.
• These vases had therefore an ornamental function,
usually associated with death. Lekythoi filled with
perfumes were placed around the corpse; others
were set along the approach to the grave or beside
• The illustrations often predicted scenes from the
afterlife of the deceased. Our lekythos features a
muse, perhaps Erato, playing the kithara on Mount
Helicon, while another muse stands by. Found in a
young girl's grave, the deceased may have been
noted for her musical ability and thought to have
taken her place among the muses during her
afterlife. Between the muses the love inscription,
inscribed by the potter, reads "Axiopeithes, the son
of Alkimachos, is beautiful".
White-ground lekythos. In front
of the funerary stele, the tall
base of which consists of six
steps, stands a young spearman
wearing a chlamys. Lekythoi and
garlands are placed on the
steps. The mound itself is visible
behind the stele. The young man
is dead. Time and space have
no reality in the white-ground
lekythoi; all is confused in a kind
of other-worldly unity. The work
is by the so-called 'Bosanquet
painter', c. 440 BC. National
The late Classical Period
c. 400 - 323 BC.
• With growth now concentrated in outlying
areas, there was understandably less temple
building in mainland Greece in this period
than there had been in the 5th century, but
the Doric temples at Tegea and Nemea in the
Peloponnese were important, the former for
admitting Corinthian capitals to columns
engaged on its interior walls.
• Late Classical: the period ca. 400-323 B.C.
Politically this age saw the decline of the
individual poleis, and the rise of the northern
kingdom of Macedon, which took over all of
Greece in 338 BC. Intellectually, saw the rise of
developed systems of philosophy in Athens,
particularly those of Plato and Aristotle, but
also the rise of Rhetoric, or persuasive
• The last is particularly associated with the practical
philosopher Isokrates, but its greatest political practitioner
was the Athenian politician Demosthenes. The Rich Style
continued until ca. 375 BC in art, but the period ca. 375-323
was characterized in sculpture and painting by heavier
drapery, a new interaction of cloth and anatomy, new pose-types
(especially leaning and more three-dimensional ones),
and by the development of new secular and purely artistic
types of art. Emotion also re-emerges. Religious architecture
shows greater variation than previous temples
Hermes and the Infant
ca 300-250 B.C.
attributed by Pausanias
2.15 m high
restored left leg below knee
from Heraion at Olympia
Praxiteles c.390-330 BC.
Son of the sculptor Cephisodotos, Praxiteles was to
be the most popular artists in the ancient world.
Many of his sculptures were copied: and his work is
mainly known through ancient descriptions and
Roman marble copies.
One of his original statues, the Hermes statue in
Olympia, with the god carrying a young Dionysos as
a baby on his arm, has survived. Praxiteles bronze
statue of Eirine, godess of Peace, was put on the
square of Athens in 370 BC and he founded a new
Apollon, who used to be pictured as a serious
and harsh avenger, was portrayed as a
youngster. For example, his statue Apollon
Sauroktonos, the Lizardkiller, has a young
mans body, soft and beautiful. He also made
a satyr, and Praxiteles' statues were made to
be watched from all angles.
He was also celebrated for his satyrs. His sculptures
of the female body as completely different from the
male was also an invention much praised. The most
famous example is the Aphrodite, just about to take
a bath, for the first time depicted as a nude. He also
made other statues of the godess, and of her son
The sculptors' model was also his mistress, the
hetar Phrynes. She also modeled for other artists,
and according to Cicero she was once brought to
court, charged with impiety. When her defender
pulled her clothes off and showed the jury her
magnificent breasts, after a brilliant speech, she
Praxiteles. Aphrodite of
composite of two
similar Roman copies
after the original
marble of c. 350 BC.
Marble, height 6'8"
(2.03 m). The
Aphrodite of Cnidus
(Knidos) is the first
nude in classical
Aphrodite of Cnidus
• The statue of the goddess established a canon for
the female nude, and inspired many derivatives and
• Here she stands in a contrapposto pose, her weight
on her right leg, her left knee slightly bent. A Roman
copy, it is not thought to match the polished beauty
of the original, which was destroyed in a disastrous
fire at Constantinople in AD 475.
The legend is told that the sculpture was so
realistic that Aphrodite decided that she
needed to see it herself and is said to have
remarked, "Where did Praxiteles see me
Taken from a frieze on the Mausoleum at Halikarnassos. The tomb was
built for Maussollos, who governed Karia in SW Asia Minor. The scene
depicts the mythical battles between Greeks and the Amazons. They
were reputed to have cut off one breast and were skilled in the use of
weapons and combat.
Busts and Portraiture
• In the 5th century BC, portraiture became the
trend. Statesmen and generals would have their
faces carved on what is called a bust, and sculptors
could now create statues that could be recognized as
individuals, rather than a standard face. For the next
three centuries, sculptors were trained to map a face
in complete detail. It is this perfectionism that
attracted Roman interest, and when the Greeks fell
to the Romans, Roman sculpture became a
continuation of Greek sculpture.
Alexander III (“the Great”) of Macedon
Greek silver four drachma coin
of King Lysimachus of Thrace
from around 300 B.C., showing
what is thought to be the first
realistic portrait of a mortal
human being ever; that of
Alexander the Great (whose
successor the issuer was). The
ram's horn seen on his head is
a symbol of divinity, as the
great conqueror was declared a
god soon after his death. On
the reverse is the seated figure
of Athena, a type copied
through the ages even to the
"Seated Liberty" silver dollars in
Alexander the Great Confronts Darius III at the Battle of
Issos from Pompeii. Roman mosaic copy after a Greek
painting of c. 310 BCE, perhaps by Philoxenos or Helen of
Egypt. Museo Archeològico Nazionale, Naples.
Gnosis. Stag Hunt, mosaic floor decoration from Pella,
Macedonia. 300 BCE. Pebbles, height 10'2" (3.1 m).
Archaeological Museum, Pella.
The Hellenistic Period:
• Hellenistic quick history,
• 323. Alexander dies in Babylon.
• Greek revolt. The Lamian War, and the end of Athenian
• Alexander’s generals fight it out (through 276).
– Three kingdoms (plus one)
– Antigonid (Macedonia)
– Seleucid (Mesopotamia)
– Ptolemaic (Egypt)
Temple of Olympian
Zeus in Athens
showing detail of the
• During the Classical period, the Corinthian order, the
most elaborate of the three Greek architectural
orders, was used mainly for interior columns.
However, late in the Hellenistic period the Greeks
began to build temples with Corinthian columns on
the exterior, as here in the Temple of Olympian Zeus,
in Athens (174 BC-AD 132). Atop tall, slender
columns are capitals carved with stylized, curling
Theater at Epidauros
• "Theatre Epidaurus”, built during the last quarter of the fourth
• The harmony of its cavea, the way it 'sits' in the landscape
with the semicircle hollowed out of the side of the hill, and
the quality of its acoustics make the Epidaurus theatre one of
the great architectural achievements of the fourth century.
• The circular orchestra provides the link with the stage
• The theater has a capacity of 13000 – 14000 people and was
initially used for solo singing, chanting, musical contests
(mainly for solo instruments) and theatrical performances of
ancient drama. Similar types of activities are still entertained
in the site during the summer months.
• The ancient theater of Epidauros is located at
the eastern Peloponesse in southern Greece.
• One of the most well-known and better
preserved ancient theaters.
• The theater was constructed late in the 4th
and early in the 3rd century BC, with a second
construction phase during the middle of the
2nd century BC
• Possibly the design of architect Polyklitos.
Gallic Chieftain Killing his Wife and Himself Roman copy in
marble after original Greek bronze from a monument in
Pergamon ca. 220 B.C.
Sculpture in the Hellenistic Period
• Hellenization came after the reign of
Alexander the Great, and lasted just a couple
of centuries. Alexander the Great had basically
conquered all of the world--as the Greeks
knew it. His reign brought about the
realization of the individual in the Greek
culture. Thus art, architecture and cultural
identification experienced an alteration.
• Hellenistic sculptures were more realistic and
natural. The Hellenistic realism expressed temporary
emotional conditions, pain and suffering. The
sculptors did emphasize religious and moral values,
but took it further in a sense that the secular
viewpoint became more important. Moreover, they
were also concerned with scenes witnessed in daily
life. The sculptures portrayed inner character,
feelings and experiences. The underlying trend of
this period was an attraction towards eroticism,
violence, but above all to provide a truthfulness.
Roman copy in
from a monument
Dying Gallic Trumpeter
ca. 220 B.C.
The kingdom of Pergamon
• Pergamon: kingdom ruled from its capital on the
northwestern coast of Asia Minor after 270. In the
later third and the second centuries B.C. it became
wealthy and powerful, and preserves notable
architectural and sculptural embelishment. Was
willed to Rome in the 130s by its last ruler.
• The kingdom of Pergamon was at the height of its
power, and the city was a flourishing metropolis.
Great Altar Pergamon, modern Turkey ca. 175-150 B.C.
Athena Attacking the
Giants, Detail of the frieze
from the East front of the
altar from Pergamon,
also known as
ca. 190 B.C.
Statuette of a veiled
and masked dancer,
Bronze; H. 8 1/16 in.