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Transcript of Greek Exhibition
Statuette of a veiled and masked dancer, made during the Hellenistic period, 3rd–2nd century B.C.. This image was cast in Greece in bronze. Bronze casting was fairly popular with Ancient Greeks and Romans. Manipulation of bronze was fairly simple, as it stayed in its liquid form longer while filling a mold. This statuette is 8 1/16 inches tall. It was likely made using the lost wax method of carving the image in wax, hardening clay over it and using the inverted image to create the statue. This image depicts a woman veiled lightly in mid-step. The veil covers her body but is conforming to it being pulled taut by the the dancers hand. This image represents the spirit of the Hellenistic age: Cosmopolitan outlook. The definition of Cosmopolitanism is to show the influence of several cultures and customs. This image is reminiscent of Islamic women veiling themselves. The theatrics of dance is another part of the spirit of Hellenistic age. We see the woman's leg outstretched in fluid movement.
The Hellenistic Art Age
Lets sit in on a conversation about Hellenistic art with guest lecturers Dr. Beth Harris, and Dr. Steven Zucker
There is a lot of information about the Hellenistic age, but a major influence was Alexander the Great. Traditionally his death is where we mark the beginning of the Hellenistic period.
The Diversity of Hellenistic Art
Hellenistic art often displays the diversity of the period. For the first time we see depictions that we have not seen in previous history. To the right we see an image of a woman giving birth. This is considered a grotesque image as it does not show the woman in a state of idealized perfection. It was made in 310-30 BC and is carved out of limestone.
Why Alexander is important?
Unlike previous art that was made in
Ancient Greece for Ancient Greeks, the art made during this period reflects the influences of the cultures of Alexanders conquest.
Statue of Pan
The hellenistic period was an interesting one in terms of Dionysiac figures. In fact sculptors of the Hellenistic period seemed to have a penchant for it. Take for example this sculpture of Pan. Carved in marble and standing at about 26 5/8th inches high. It is carved in the round which means it is carved on all sides. The leg of Pan is elevated and in his hand there was originally a vessel. Pan is often associated with Dionysos as Dionysos was the god of wine, merriment and debauchery, which Pan was known for all
The Dying Gaul
This is a Roman reproduction of an earlier Greek statue. Originally cast in bronze dates from the 3rd century BC. In images of death from earlier periods we would see very solemn figures. He is not as idealized as we would see in the high classical periods although he is very muscular. The Gaul is shown with disheveled hair, very much unlike the ancient classical periods. We see the dramatic sense of pain. His brow is furrowed as he takes his last breaths.
Room of Statues
Room Of Jewels
Welcome to the High Classical Period
With guest appearances by:
and various other speakers
The High Classical Period is considered to have lasted from 450 BC- 400 BC. Various art forms in this period consisted of architecture, painting, and sculpture. Buildings built under Pericles for the Athenian Acropolis are considered the most impressive examples of Greek architecture from the high Classical period (Britannica).
Ancient Greece the 5th and 4th Century
Welcome to the tour
Greetings! I am Phidias. I was born in Athens, Greece in the year 490 BC. I will not dwell on my past as I believe my past is insignificant to the life I lead in my later years. I learned my trade through the great sculpture Ageladas of Argos and soon became great friends with Pericles whom rose to power in 449 placing me in charge of all artistic undertakings for his building program in Athens including three monuments to Athena. I am the creator of some of the most important religious icons of my time. I hear that before this exhibition was created a good deal of my work was lost to time. Before we begin our tour I would like to say . . . .
Architects: Iktinos and Kallikrates
This structure is one of the most famous buildings still standing from the High Classical Period. Built in dedication to Athena Parthenon (virgin Athena), the structure is purely Doric on the exterior and has more optical refinements than any other Greek temple. The temple itself measures 101x228 ft. and contains two inner chambers or cellae as they were called. The west end was used by the priests and housed the treasury of the Delian League and the east end contained a large statue of the goddess Athena. The pediments alone included at least fifty sculptures and to friezes. The inner frieze was designed by Pheidias and depicted the festival that was held in Athena’s honor known as the Panathenaea (Parthenon). Initial construction began in 447 BC and was completed in 438 BC, but work on the decorations continued until around 433 BC. Stone used to build the Parthenon was transported from Mount Pentelicus located 16km from Athens. When viewing the pure white marble it is important to remember that in its prime scholars believe that the upper parts of the Parthenon were painted in bright reds and blues so that the sculptures would stand out when viewed from below (Hayes).
The three goddesses
Believed to have been created between 438-432 BC it is believed that this piece represents, from left to right, Hestia, goddess of the hearth and home, Dione, and her daughter Aphrodite. However, other scholars believe that the figures to the right are that of the Thalassa (the Sea) and Gaia (the Earth). One can clearly see how the posture of these figures varies as to fit into the slope of the east pediment that once framed them originally located on the The Parthenon (Cook). This piece was carved from two separate pieces of marble. This is a fine example of the female figure and the great attention to detail. Notice the folds of the clothing as the marble appears to realistically drape around the figures (Bedward). In this depiction the three goddesses are watching the birth of Athena.
This low relief sculpture is also from the Parthenon created between 447-432 BC with its original placement as the exterior of the cella. Standing 1.0 m high and 160.0 m in length the frieze depicts a Panathenaic procession (unknown). The Panathenaic Procession was a festival in honor of Athena called the Panathenaea that was held every year on Athena’s birthday. These processions began at the Dipylon Gate, through Agora to the Acropolis (Fowler). On the west end the frieze consists of a large cavalry while the east end depicts elders, musicians and people escorting sacrificial animals. Over the doors is the “peplos scene” with the gods, heroes, and women flanking both sides (The Parthenon Frieze), this is significant as the women of Athens were charged with weaving and delivering the new peplos on the wooden Athena within the Erechtheum (Fowler).
Material: wood, ivory, gold, ebony, and precious stones
Constructed in 435 BC this piece was made of a wooden frame and covered with carved ivory and gold accents standing 43ft tall. Erected in the Temple of Zeus this statue was considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World until its destruction. The likeness seen today is based off of the detailed description Pausanias which stated the following “The statue was crowned with a sculpted wreath of olive sprays. It had gold sandals, and a golden robe carved with animals and lilies. In its right hand was a small chryselephantine statue of crowned Nike, goddess of victory. Its left hand held a scepter inlaid with many metals, supporting an eagle. The throne was decorated in gold, precious stones, ebony, and ivory”. The original is said to have been moved to Constantinople, where it was destroyed in the great fire of Lauseion in 475 AD (Statue of Zeus at Olympia).
Sculptor: Phidias and assistants
Material: gold and ivory
Created in 447 BC this renowned image was originally housed in the Parthenon. The gold sheets that once enveloped this beautiful figure were removed in 296 BC so that Lachares could pay his troops. As stated by the ancient historian Pausanias “The statue itself is made of ivory, silver and gold. On the middle of her helmet is placed a likeness of the Sphinx ... and on either side of the helmet are griffins in relief. ... The statue of Athena is upright, with a tunic reaching to the feet, and on her breast the head of Medusa is worked in ivory. She holds a statue of Victory about four cubits high, and in the other hand a spear; at her feet lies a shield and near the spear is a serpent. This serpent would be Erichthonius. On the pedestal is the birth of Pandora in relief”. The sculpture was assembled upon a wooden central base and covered with shaped bronze plates, and then removable gold plates. The ivory part consisted of the face and arms (Athna Parthenos)
Material: Pentelic marble
Found in the cemetery of Kerameikos, in Athens this piece is dated at the end of the 5th century BC (Athens National Arcaeological Museum of Athens). More specifically dated to 410-400 BC. The stone is designed to depict a small temple with the deceased name inscribed above the relief. Hegeso seated on the right studies a piece of jewelry held in her right hand which was probably at one time painted. It has been identified that the headdress worn by Hegeso is a symbol of priestly office as the servant girl is of barbarian origin as indicated by her garb. The servant holds open a jewelry box for Hegeso perhaps in preparation for the afterlife (Randall)
Grave stele of Hegeso
Grave stele of a little girl
Material: Parian marble
Possibly carved between 450 and 440 BC grave stelai such as this were erected in Greek cemeteries in memory of the deceased. In this relief a little girl is shown standing side profile with an unusual seriousness for one so young (Grave stele of a little girl). It seems as if she is saying good-bye to her pet doves as she prepares to cross over into the afterlife. Found on the Cycladic Islands where many of the most skillful stone carvers hailed this stele could possibly be the work of one of the artists whom worked on the Parthenon (Marble grave stele of a little girl).
Hesperides & the golden-apple tree
Material: Red-figured water jar
Created in 420-410 BC the images on this section of the water jar depict the Hesperides or the goddesses of the evening and the light of sunset. They were the three nymph daughters of Nyx (night), or it is debated the daughters of Leukippos, and guardians of the tree with the golden apples owned by Hera as a gift from Gaia on her wedding day. To aid them in their task was a hundred-headed guardian. As mythology goes one of the twelve labors of Herakles was to fetch the apples and thus slayed the serpent (Hesperides). The upper scenes depict the abduction of the daughters by Dioskouroi while Aphrodite and Zeus, father of the Dioskouroi, seemed unmoved as Peitho, goddess of Persuasion flees the scene (Explore/Highligts).
One of the 92 sculptures known as metopes (a rectangular element that fills the space between two triglyphs or the vertically channeled tablets of the Doric frieze) created in 446-440 BC (Parthenon sculpture: Centaur). The metopes surrounded the Parthenon with 14 on the east and west ends and 32 on the others. On each of the four sides a different mythical battle is depicted. This particular sculpture is from the south side of the Parthenon representing the battle of the Lapiths and the centaurs. Unlike most Greek metopes that were carved from a single block of stone these were separate blocks that were slide into place. They are high relief, meaning that the figures are carved out of the background and have the appearance of being placed statues. They are naturalistic and idealized in form. In 1687 most of the metopes were destroyed or greatly damaged as the Parthenon was used to store gun powder during the war between the Venetian and the Ottoman Turks (Ancient Greece).
Centaur and Lapith
Material: originally Bronze
Discovered in Pompeii this piece stands 83” tall (Kleiner and Mamiya). Created in 450-440 BC the artist’s ideal was to capture the proportions of the human body using a technique known as the Canon or “Rule”. This was a simple mathematical formula stating that the human body was measured into parts that related to on another. Standing in a contrapposto pose, which means the weight is resting on the right leg freeing the left leg to bend causing the right hip to shift up and the left shoulder to raise down as the right drops placing the body in a state of equilibrium through counterbalancing. Although the figure is a warrior he is depicted nude since at this time many of the most influential Greeks were obsessed that one should strive for perfection while realizing such perfection was unattainable. The face is absent of individual characteristics and is therefore meant to represent the ideal of the perfect Greek male (Stewart)
Ancient Greek: Early Classical
Temple of Zeus, Olympia
The Doric structure today is in ruins. The Temple of Zeus was the site of the Olympic games and was the 1st great monument of Classical art and architecture. This temple had, as stated by Fred Kleiner (2010) “Statues filled both pediments, and narrative reliefs adorned the six metopes over the doorway in the pronaos and the matching six of the opisthodomos” (126).
(471-456 BC). Olympia. Greece.
Architect: Libon of Elis
Photo Credit: Album/ Art Resource, NY
The Temple of Hera II or Apollo
This Doric structure resembled the design of the Temple of Zeus, but did not have the pedimental sculpture. As noted by Fred Kleiner (2010) “The architectural plan for this structure has six columns on the short ends, two columns in antis, two rows of columns in two stories inside the cells” (126).
(looking north-east), Paestum, Italy, ca. 460 BCE.
Chariot race of Pelops and Oinomaos
The pedimental statues faced the starting point of Olympic chariot races. Zeus is located in the center. King Oinomaos and his wife and chariot on one side. On the other side of Zeus are Pelops and Hippodameia and his chariot.
east pediment, Temple of Zeus, Olympia, Greece, ca. 470-456 BCE.
Marble, 87’ wide
Archaeological Museum, Olympia.
Statuette of a veiled and masked dancer
Known as the Greek “Golden Age”
The Change from Archaic art occurred with the Greek victory over the Persians. Early Classical art can really be appreciated through the Architectures and sculptures of this time.
Classical Greek Tragedian
Hello, My name is Euripides. I was born 480BC in Salamis Island, Greece. I chose not to be an athlete and instead for a short period of time I was a dancer and torchbearer for Apollo Zosterius. I represented the new moral, social, and political changes occurring during the Classical Period.
I have provided a short video that gives a little in-site of the reasoning behind some of Early Classical Greek Architecture and Sculpture. Enjoy and I will visit again with you shortly!
The Olympic Games
What a great clip! Now go and enjoy the rest of the tour and please visit with me before you leave.
The Seer is located to the right of King Oinomaos, his wife and chariot. The seer shows expression on his face because he sees the future and knows what comes at the end of the Chariot race of Pelops and King Oinomaos. As noted by Fred Kleiner (2010) “…the seer is a rare depiction of old age. He is balding, wrinkled head and sagging musculature-and shocked expression on his face” (126). The depiction of old age was not common in Greek art during this time.
from the east pediment of the Temple of Zeus, Olympia, Greece, ca. 470-456 BCE.
Full ﬁgure 4' 6" high; detail 3' 2 1/2" high.
Archaeological Museum, Olympia.
Within this scene Apollo displays, as stated by Fred Kleiner (2010) “ the epitome of calm rationality, with a commanding gesture of his right hand, attempts to bring order out of the chaotic struggle all around him between the Lapiths and the beastly centaurs” (127). This type of display of calmness in some and chaos in others is typical of all reliefs on the Temple of Zeus. Also noted by Fred Kleiner (2010) “They are thematically connected with Olympia, for they depict the 12 labors of Herakles” (128).
from the West pediment of the Temple of Zeus, Olympia, Greece, ca.
Restored height 10’8”. Archaeological Museum, Olympia.
Athena, Herakles, and Atlas with the apples of the Hesperides
Within this piece Herakles is holding up the sky with the help of Athena for Atlas. This relief also demonstrates the calmness of the characters when there is chaos around them. As stated by Fred Kleiner (2010), “ Atlas had just undertaken the dangerous journey to fetch the golden apples of the Hesperides for the Hero” (128).
metope from the temple of Zeus, Olympia, Greece, ca.
Marble, 5’3” high. Archaeological Museum, Olympia.
This is one of the most important statues of history because it was the start of depicting people in natural movement. As noted by Fred Kleiner (2010), “This is the first statue to show how a person naturally stands. The sculptor depicted the weight shift from one leg to the other (contrapposto)” (129).
from the Acropolis, Athens, Greece, ca.
Marble, 2’10” high.
Acropolis Museum, Athens.
Bronze hollow-casting statue is contrapposto in style, even more so than the Kritios Boy. The eyes are inlaid, with silver teeth and eyelashes, and also has copper lips and nipples. As stated Fred Kleiner (2010), “The warrior’s head turns more forcefully to the right, his shoulders tilt, his hips swing more markedly, and his arms have been freed from the body” (130).
from the sea off Riace, Italy, ca. 460-450 BCE.
Bronze, 6’6 high.
Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Reggio Calabria.
Myron, Diskobolos (Discus Thrower)
This is a Roman copy of a Greek bronze statue. As noted Fred Kleiner (2010), “ With out them it would be impossible to reconstruct the history of Greek sculpture after the Archaic period” (131). This piece also displays a sense of calm with chaos around him. His face is expressionless but the movement of his body suggests otherwise.
Roman copy of a bronze statue ca.
Marble, 5’1” high.
Museo Nazionale Romano-Palazzo Massimo alle Terme.
Zeus (or Poseidon?)
A bronze hollow casting, As noted Fred Kleiner (2010), “the god-probably Zeus hurling a thunderbolt-boldly extends both arms and raises his right heel off the ground, underscoring the lightness and stability of hollow-cast bronze statue” (131). This statue could also be one of Poseidon hurling a trident.
Hello again, I hope you enjoyed The Greek Classical Period. Before you go I have provided you a video to share my words of Wisdom. Thank you and enjoy.
The time period 480-450 B.C.
from the sea off Cape Artemision, Greece, ca.
Bronze, 6’10” high.
National Archeological Museum, Athens.