Art movements. Greece art: our deep roots

Art movements. Greece art: our deep roots
Isabel del Rio

Art Movements. Greece art: our deep roots…. Sea, salt, sea. A world surrounded by sea and salt. Island after island. Full of sailors, philosophers and artists: this is, was, Greece.

Art movements. Greece our roots. Sphinx

Art movements. Greece our roots. Sphinx

 We need to travel to become an artist, and the biggest travel is the interior one, beyond the eternal Mediterranean Sea.

Greece is blue as its waters, and yellow as its strong Sun, and brown as its sharp lands. Greece has never been white. However, the remains of classical Greek art have arrived at us without colors: pure white marble, pure white stone.

Sea, salt, sea. They destroy everything, they clean the past… A star is seeing!

Art Movements. Greece art: our roots.

Nor paintings nor frescoes have been left, only monochrome figures in clay pots. We must imagine the *Parthenon or the *Erechtheion full of colors, vanished colors a cause of the sea and salt, a cause of centuries of wars and dreams.

Painted Athena

Painted Athena

How were ancient Greek sculptures? Once they overcame the Archaic period (from 8th to 6th c. BP), once they established the democracy in Athens, a big group of great sculptors left us the principles of our art. In the 5th century BP: movement by Miron; proportion by Polykleitos; and textures by Phidias. In the 4th century BP, Praxiteles made sculptures to be seeing from different points of view and Lysippus created new compositions (“Apollo and Dionysius”, “Apoxyomenos”, “Apollo Sauroktonos”…) while Scopas (“Furious Menade”) joint all these previous achievements in his materpieces.

In fact, we know all that world thanks to the Roman reproductions. Again, never white reproductions but full color painted (skin and clothes) as Oriental cultures like. We must not forget that in those times, the Turkish coast was part of the Greek culture and Alexander’s main idea was to join Occident and Orient (he died in Babylon as an Oriental king).

Never before and never after, a society has been able to develop so much the arts. Starting from hieratic models, very similar to the Egyptian sculptures (“Lady of Auxerre”), Greece has left a legacy of idealized realism and in Hellenistic times sculptors could reflect whatever topic: religious (“Venus of Milo”), mythological (“Victory of Samothrace”), day-to-day (“The child of the spine”), peculiar (“Hermaphrodite” of the Prado Museum), historical (“Laocoon and his Sons”)…

Laocoon and his sons

Laocoon and his sons

Rome will take this legacy and will add its own achievements (portrait and bronze work). Then, after the unsteady Middle Ages, the Renaissance will study again the art of the classical Greece, forgetting that a sea of salt had vanished parts of those masterpieces to incorporate their tired roots to the soul of everybody who one day wanted to be a sailor (= artist) on a blue boat.

*The Parthenon is a temple on the Athenian Acropolis dedicated to the goddess Athena, virgin patron of Athens. Its construction began in 447 BP when the Athenian Empire was at the height of its power, although its decoration continued until 432 BC. It is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece, generally considered the culmination of the Doric order.

*The most characteristic of the Erechtheion is the large porch with columns on the south side: “Porch of the Maidens”, with six draped female figures (caryatids) as supporting columns.

See YM gallery about “Art movements: Greece art, our roots”

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Here, an interesting page to teach kids about Greek art and art movements.

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