Greek Art History

Iktinos and Kallikrates, 447-432 BC. The
Parthenon, Classical Period, Marble,
228 ft. X 104 ft., Columns 34 ft. H.,
The Parthenon is one of the most famous pieces
of architecture in the world. It is located on the
Acropolis overlooking Athens.
In order to achieve the illusion of perfect proportion,
some elements of this temple were slightly exaggerated
to compensate for the effects of perspective and
The Parthenon housed a statue of the
goddess Athena and was also the treasury
for the city.
Nashville Parthenon
Created exactly as the original
Parthenon in Greece.
Greek Architectural Features
• Pediment: a triangular gable at the top of a facade often filled with sculpture.
• Entablature: the upper section of a classical building resting on the columns
consisting of the architrave, frieze, and cornice.
• Cornice: a horizontal molded projection.
• Frieze: the middle band of the entablature, usually decorated with sculpture in
low relief.
• Architrave: the lowest part of an entablature that rests directly on top of a
• Cella: the inner room of the temple that housed a Greek god.
• Column: a supporting pillar consisting of a base, a shaft, and a capital.
• Capital: the head or top part of a column.
• Stylobate: the base or top step upon which a row of columns is set.
The Doric column has a plain capital.
The Ionic column has a scroll capital.
The Corinthian column has a decorate or leaf-like capital.
Exekias, "Dionysus in a Sailboat" c. 550-521 B.C., Munich.
• Greek vase painting
involved the creation of
images in black on the red
clay background.
• Details were scratched into
the black revealing the red
• Dionysus is the King of
Wine, sitting on a pirate
ship with a mast sprouting
a grape vine. The pirates,
who jumped overboard,
are the dolphins who
balance the bunches of
grapes in the design.
"Youth Singing and Playing the Kithara" c. 490 B.C. MMA, NY.
Following the time of Exekias, artisans invented the red figure style,
where the figures remained red while the background was painted
Polykleitos , Spear Bearer, c. 450 B.C.,
Roman Copy, Marble, 6 ft. 6 in. H,
Vatican, Rome.
The Greeks invented the nude in
art. The ideal proportions of
their statues represented the
perfection of both body (through
athletic endeavour) and mind
(through intellectual debate).
Polykleitos developed the
formula for this Classical ideal of
human beauty ( 7 ½ heads high).
• The Spear Bearer is one of the
first examples of contrapposto, a
pose with one leg bent and the
shoulders and hips inclined in
opposite directions.
Alexandros of Antioch, VENUS DE MILO,
C 130-100 BC, MARBLE, 6FT 8IN,
• Venus de Milo, is one of the most
famous works of ancient Greek
• Depict Aphrodite (Venus to the
Romans) the Greek goddess of
love and beauty.
• Its arms and original base have
been lost.
The Winged Victory of Samothrace,
c. 220-190 BC, marble, 328 cm h,
Louvre, Paris
• She is also called Nike, the
victory goddess because before
she lost her arms, which have
never been recovered, her arm
was raised, cupped round her
mouth to deliver the shout of
Victory to her successful sea
• The work is notable for its
naturalistic pose and for the
rendering of the figure's draped
garments, depicted as if rippling
in a strong sea breeze
• The Nike athletic wear
company takes its name
from the Greek goddess
of victory.
Agesander, Athenodorus, and Polydorus, The Laocoon
Group, c. 125 B..C., Hellenistic Style, Marble, 8 ft. H,
Vatican, Rome.
• The sculpture depicts
the fate of Laocoon,
priest of Troy and his
• The Hellenistic style
links Greek ideal art
and Roman realistic
style through a
mixture of proportion,
drama and superrealism.