Greek Art

“Western civilization has carefully constructed itself in the image of the Greek and Roman Worlds” (Hall, 2007, p. 103). Greek art has incorporated itself even in this generation. We see examples of Greek art in the design of libraries, government buildings, banks and college campuses. (Hall, 2007). Greek art is more than just classical statues and buildings; it used art to talk about issues such as the difference in men and women, culture and religion. Throughout the years, it has evolved to fit the period. "Mirrored in light and darkness, in man and woman.  In their art as their literature, the ancient Greeks addressed the tension between these polar opposites" (Hall, 2007, p. 103).  Greek art is the backbone of the modern day era. For obvious reasons group two chose to focus on Greek art. We concentrated on the 800 to 100 BCE era and focused mainly on the depictions of the human body sculpted in marble or bronze. As a group, we explored themes based on movement, realism, and baroque elements. To do this efficiently, we used our book as well as google art to select different pieces that supported our theme. The depictions of the human body are incorporated into all the elements described above. First, the movement which is described by Lucy Lamp means, "Art exists in time as well as space. Time implies change and movement; movement implies the passage of time. Movement and time, whether actual or an illusion, are crucial elements in art although we may not be aware of it.” Her depiction of art movement is engaging and true. Many Greek sculptures that we focused on are the involvement movement such as, Zeus sculpted in 460 BCE. Through all the art our group has chosen you can clearly define the movement in the piece. “Realism, in the arts, the accurate, detailed, unembellished depiction of nature or contemporary life" (Realism, 2016). Greek art is excellent at portraying realism in its work. In many, if not of all of our pieces realism can be depicted. Although realism is not always easy to describe out of the work, if the viewer studies it long enough and hard enough they can find it. Realism is an important aspect of art; it brings the sculpture, painting, or drawing to life right before the viewer. Lastly, baroque which is defined by Hall as, “To describe extreme emotions, extravagant gestures, and theatrical locations. . .” (2007, p. 159).  Baroque is the most interesting aspect of viewing art. One of the best examples of baroque is Nike of Samothrace, which is a marble sculpture from 190 BCE. This represents baroque by the dramatic pose of the Nike landing on the ship despite the great winds rushing against her which can be noticed by the swirling drapery. "Its swirling motion suggest the head-wind she struggles against, which, in turn, balances the rushing forward thrust of her arrival. The drapery creates the environment around the figure” (Hall, 2007, p. 159). Baroque is an interesting element that is even greatly more expanded upon in this era. Overall our group chose Greek art for its extraordinary work as well as its history. By choosing to focus on the mediums bronze and marble, we witnessed the amount of thinking and logic it took to make such a classical sculpture without it falling apart. Furthermore, we focused on the 800 to 100 BCE era allowing us to dive deeper into the history of that time, which gave us a better understanding of the art. Lastly, the use of movement, realism and baroque described to the view the purpose of the human anatomy related to one, if not all of the elements above.  

Aphrodite is perhaps one of the most favorite deities to transform into art. She is the goddess of beauty and love. She is still considered to be perhaps one of the greatest examples of female beauty today. This statue however, is not exalting her to the godlike status one would think. Rather it is aligned with the Hellenistic period style of art. The art in this era was more about making the statues and works of art that are of gods to be more human-like.  Venus, also known as Aphrodite, is a mother as shown in the statue. She and Eros, her son, are posing to represent the tender relationship between a mother and her child. The Hellenistic period did a fantastic job of displaying relationships and emotions of every day people and translating them into their artwork. Some of the ways that display the human-like emotion in this statue include several of the following things. Aphrodite is looking down on Eros in a loving and gentle way. Eros' wings and tiny stature make him look playful and childlike. One would not think that he is a roman deity(except for the wings part). His relationship with his mother appears to be a loving one as he strives to be with her as she gently reaches down to him.  The statue is little in size but not known for what it was used for. But it is known that the Romans would put their beliefs into nearly everything that they do, especially their artwork. Venus and Eros are just a few of the many gods displayed in art. 
The identity of the head is not exactly known. There are two possible identities to it, one being the deity Poseidon, while the other is Antigonos Doson. Poseidon is the god of the ocean, and brother of Zeus. The reason for the suspicion of him being the identity of the mask is that the appearance is similar to other statues of Poseidon. The curly beard and hairstyle is similar to the general look of Poseidon. All major deities had a certain look that artists tried to mimic to some degree.  However there is another possible identity is Antigonos Doson. He was a king of Macedon back around the time of Alexander the Great. During this time people of power considered themselves to have a godlike status. They would create art of themselves so that people would recognize their greatness and remember them even after they are out of power.  The big reason why the identity is not known is because of the poor way they would label statues back in those days. They would either label them and the label would fall off, or they would not label them at all as the statue was supposed to be obvious depending on where it is located. For example, if it was in a temple for Poseidon, it would be obvious that it was the statue head is Poseidon. The same would go for Antigonos Doson. However, the location for where the artifact was found was unfortunately not enough to determine the identity of the head statue. 
The statue of Athena Parthenos is a part of the Roman beliefs as it was a statue of the goddess Athena. She is one of the highest deities as she is the daughter of Zeus and goddess of wisdom, law and justice, war strategy, sciences, the arts, etc. She is also the namesake for the city of Athens. This statue of hers was located in a temple dedicated to her.  The statue was mounted on the wall of the temple, as evident by the backing. The back is not fully sculpted out like the front is. There are also mounts on the backside to attach it to a wall. It is not in the best condition though. It is missing its arms and therefor the full significance of the statue is unknown. She could have had them positioned in a certain way or she could have been holding something. Some believe she could have been holding a Nike as well. Unfortunately, we shall never know the significance of her statue in full as it will never be complete. 
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