In ancient Greece, art went through a significant amount of development from the archaic era to the Hellenistic eras. In each era, there were various forms of art that were influenced by the people’s cultures and which reversely influenced the cultures of the people (Richter, 1970). This is because, art is a part of culture and plays a significant role in the lives of all people in the society.
One of the artwork during this period was, The Three Grace, which was a sculpture that showed three handmaidens, Alglia, Euphrosyne and Thalia. They were young girls, posed naked with their hands on each other’s shoulder and the centre figure of one of them facing the other two. A frame made of water jars wrapped in loose clothing, framed the group (Boardman, 1985).
This sculpture influenced the cultures of the people as it soon became a formula for representing the Graces, appearing in every material and every object from mirrors to sarcophagi, and it continued into the Renaissance period. The Hellenistic art was less political and more of sociological as it depicted the change in male’s attitudes towards women. This showed a change in the gender issue in the society.
The artwork that i chose during this period was the Fresco wall painting. Due to its uniqueness, it was used to decorate bedrooms. It was a wall painting that represented a statute of Diana Lucina with torches, in a large shrine. The statute had a yellow colour and its composition suggested the use of bronze of perhaps a bronze coating. It is usually difficult to determine the medium used on the sculptures depicted on the Roman paintings accurately (Richter, 1970).
The wall painting during this period was basically influenced by the luxurious Roman life and cultures. For example, those wall paintings found in the living area depicted either great philosophers or Kings (Boardman, 1985). Those found in the bedrooms borrowed a little from the Hellenistic era. Towards the end of Roman Republic, classicism also faded away showing some change in taste and style in the culture of the people.
This was a very strong culture in ancient Greece and its effects can still be felt up to the present date especially in western countries. One of the pieces of art in this period is the Amphora. The red-figure was accredited to the Berlin painter. It beautifully showed the symbiotic relationship between the shape of a vase and the decorations on it.
This vase painting depicted a musician in long, slim clothing. With him in an instrument called Kithara that was mainly used in festivals. While doing so, there is an adjudicator who listens to the song. This shows the level of influence that their love for music has on the work of art they produce. The cultural practices such as the festivals and contests greatly influenced the paintings and the paintings helped them express and identify themselves with their cultures.
One of the works of art during this period was the Terracotta Figure of Isis-Aphrodite. It was a tall, sensuously modelled and carefully painted figure representing Aphrodite-Isis, which was a combination of the features of Hathor and Isis, the goddesses of Egypt and Aphrodite, goddess of Greek. She was nude and was wearing accessories, including a calathos, which was the crown of Greco-roman supernatural immortal beings.
The goddess also had the horns and sun disk of Isis. Her curly hair (corkscrew curls) were arranged to resemble a traditional Egyptian hairstyle (Richter, 1970). This figure represented the people’s beliefs and traditions. The combination of the goddesses revealed the fusion of both the Egyptian and the Greek art and culture. The cultures of the people greatly influenced the works of art during the Roman Empire and this was is evident in their sculptures.
An example of art during this period is the Ring which testified to the complex nature of the artistic works at the end of the archaic era. The rim which encompassed and fastened the Ring was in the form of a cartouche, which was a shape that originated from Egypt and passed on to the western Mediterranean by the Phoenicians.
There are three mythological creatures including the siren, a scarab beetle and a winged lion that have been used to decorate the Ring. This was adopted from the east. The ring basically represented the way the art during that period had changed and become complex and this greatly influenced their cultures (Boardman, 1985). The Etruscan culture developed after the Iron Age Villanovan culture that paved way to a culture that was resulted due to the influence of the Greek traders and their neighbours from south Italy.
In all the eras that have been discussed in this essay, there were various forms of art that were adopted and used to express the cultures of the people during those periods. Their cultures equally influenced the way the works of art were designed.
Boardman, J. (1985). Greek Sculpture: The Classical Period: A Handbook. London: Thames & Hudson.
Richter, G.A. (1970). The Department of Greek and Roman art: Triumphs and Tribulations. Metropolitan Museum Journal, 1 (3), p. 55-61