Just like ancient Greek vase-painting, ancient Greek sculptures were created to tell stories. The sculptures of ancient Greek artists were amazing.
Today, many of these sculptures still exist in hundreds of cities across Greece. The sculptures also reside in numerous museums around the world.
Museums include places like the Louvre in Paris, the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York City and the British Museum in London.
Materials used to make ancient Greek sculptures
There were basically two types of materials used by ancient Greek sculptors. The materials were marble and bronze.
Early sculptures were carved from wood but few if any still exist. Some sculptures were carved from limestone such as Lady of Auxerre.
Three periods of ancient Greek sculptures
There were three distinct periods of ancient Greek sculptures. The periods were called the Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic. Each period featured new ideas of creativity and art form.
The Archaic period of ancient Greek sculptures took place as Greece during and after emerging from the Dark Ages.
The sculptures were quite simple in detail. The sculptures were usually of human figures with a stiff body posture.
The sculptures were influenced by Egyptian sculptures. After 575 B.C.E. sculptures were crafted with smiles on the faces of both men and women.
The Archaic period ran from 1000 B.C.E. until around 500 B.C.E.
The Classical period ushering in a new era with more details carved into the sculptures. During the Classical period the human form became more realistic and relaxed.
The proportions of body features such as head, arms and legs were equal in size to a real body. Famous sculptures of this period include Athena within the Parthenon and Zeus at Olympia.
The Classical period for ancient Greek sculptures ran from 500 B.C.E. until around 300 B.C.E.
The Hellenistic period began after the death of Alexander the Great. The sculptors of this period were influenced not only by Greece but far off lands.
Ancient Greek sculptures took on an Asian flare and included more everyday people. The skills of the sculptor during this period showed the importance of detail and craftsmanship.
Ancient Greeks immortalized the perfect human body with the sculptures created in this period.
Some of the more famous sculptures of this period are the Dying Gaul, the Winged Victory of Samothrace and Venus de Milo.
A sculpture for everyone
Ancient Greek sculptures not only perfected the perfect human body but animals too. Sculptures show detailed muscles, faces, movement and above all the exact sizing of each body part.
There were sculptures depicting battle scenes and Olympic gods. Ancient Greek sculptures were crafted to show human perfection and not human imperfections.
Ancient Greek sculptors also played a role in architecture. The architecture of ancient Greece was dominated by three styles of columns which are the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian columns.
As time passed, expert carvers would incorporate intricate details into the columns. The columns themselves were considered to be works of art and many were seen as sculptures.
Ancient Greek sculptors like actors, dancers and musicians were viewed as celebrities. There were several famous sculptors such as Phidias, Myron, Polyclitus and Lysippus.
Phidias worked on the Parthenon, Myron worked with bronze, Polyclitus created the statue of Hera at Argos and Lysippus was Alexander the Great’s official sculptor.
Important facts about ancient Greek sculptures
- Ancient Greek sculptures were created in three distinct periods.
- Sculptures were mainly crafted from marble and bronze.
- Sculptures during the archaic period were stiff.
- Sculptures crafted in the Hellenistic period were lifelike replicas.
- Ancient Greek sculptors wanted to show the perfections of a human body.
- Sculptures were created of rulers, gods, battle scenes, everyday life and animals.
- Lysippus was the official sculptor of Alexander the Great.
- Often times sculptors worked hand in hand constructing buildings like the Parthenon.
1. What types of materials were used to craft sculptures?
Marble and bronze
2. Ancient Greek sculptures of humans are considered to be?
Lifelike in size and proportions
3. Which famous sculptor worked on the Parthenon?
4. What type of body posture did ancient Greek sculptures from the archaic period feature?
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