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Styles & Periods

Styles & Periods

Greek Art

The power of the Greek civilization gave rise to one of the most inspiring flourishes of art the world has witnessed. The earliest Greek art is characterized by its geometry and schematic design. The Greek sculpture icons, Kouros and Kore, represent the beginnings of large sculpture, and are among the first free-standing sculptures. These idealized portraits of youth carved in marble seem to have served multiple purposes. Kouros was sometimes used to represent the god Apollo, and also served funerary purposes, appearing at gravesites as memorial tombstones. In later Greek sculpture, the development of contraposition, the torsion of the upper and lower-halves of the body, catapulted the depiction of human movement into a realm of mastery. Greek sculptures show extreme technical skill, resulting in images of draped goddesses and exaggerated energy. The creative aptitude of the ancient Greeks is also clearly evident in their architectural innovations. Greek architecture formulated a system of categorizing buildings based upon the capitals of their columns, called orders. The Doric, Ionic and Corinthian orders were also associated with generalized temple plans, upon which much of today’s architecture is based. Many masters of the modern world, beginning with the artists of the Renaissance, have turned to the art of Greece for examples of proportion, beauty, and style, a template of aesthetics which has shaped the trajectory of western art for centuries.


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