Greek and Hellenistic Art Fact Sheet

Facts about Greek and Hellenistic Art to memorize for the assessment.

1. Definition: Greek art refers to the artistic production of the Greek-speaking world from about 900 BC to the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC. Hellenistic art followed Greek art, and extends until the Romans absorbed Greece into their empire in 31 BC.

2. Greek Art Periods: Greek art is divided into several periods, including the Geometric (900-700 BC), Archaic (700-480 BC), Classical (480-323 BC), and the Hellenistic (323-31 BC) periods.

3. Characteristics of Greek Art: Greek art is renowned for its celebration of beauty, proportion, and the human form. It exhibits a clear interest in expressing human personality and emotion.

4. Sculpture: Greek sculpture evolved from small figurines to monumental size, and from stiff, simple forms to more complex, dynamic compositions. Greek sculptors were particularly concerned with proportion, poise, and the idealized beauty of the human body.

5. Pottery: Greek pottery is known for its decoration, particularly in the red- and black-figure techniques. The pots were also functional, serving various purposes in daily life.

6. Architecture: Greek architecture is characterized by its highly formalized characteristics, both of structure and decoration. The Greeks developed three architectural systems, called orders, each with their own distinctive proportions and detailing: the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian.

7. Famous Works of Greek Art:

  • Parthenon: This is a temple on the Athenian Acropolis, dedicated to the goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron.
  • Discobolus by Myron: This is a famous sculpture that represents a discus thrower in action.
  • Doryphoros by Polykleitos: A canon of ideal proportions in the sculpting of the male nude.

8. Hellenistic Art: Hellenistic art was created during an age of experimentation and increased cultural exchange. It emphasized theatricality, drama, and the detailed representation of subjects from across society, including women, children, and the poor.

9. Famous Works of Hellenistic Art:

  • The Great Altar of Pergamon: This is a monumental construction built during the 2nd century BC in the ancient city of Pergamon (modern-day Turkey).
  • Laocoön and His Sons: A large marble sculpture that represents the Trojan priest Laocoön and his sons being attacked by sea serpents.
  • The Venus de Milo: This sculpture is believed to represent Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty.

10. Legacy: Greek and Hellenistic art had a profound impact on the Roman Empire and later periods, such as the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. Today, the influence of Greek and Hellenistic art continues to be seen in the global art community.

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