What were the different phases of ancient Greek Art? There were many phases from the 16th century until the Greeks defeated at the hand of the Romans in 31 BC. Mycenaean Art occurred from roughly 1550 to 1200 BC on the Greek mainland. Although the Mycenaean and Greek cultures were two separate entities, they occupied the same lands, successively. The Mycenaean learned a few things from the Greeks, including how to build gates and tombs.
Besides architectural explorations including Cyclopean masonry and tombs, the Mycenaean’s were awesome goldsmiths and potters. They raised pottery from merely functional to beautifully decorative, and segued right out of the Bronze Age into their own insatiable appetite for gold. Around 1200 and the Homeric fall of Troy, the Mycenaean culture dwindled and died, followed by an artistic phase known both as Sub-Mycenaean and/or the “ Dark Ages”. This phase, lasting from c. 100 – 1025 BC, saw a bit of continuity with the previous artistic doings, but no innovation. From c. 1025 – 900 BC, the Proto-Geometric phase saw pottery beginning to be decorated with simple shapes, black bands and wavy lines. Additionally, both technique in creating, and shapes of pots were being refined. Geometric Art has been assigned the years of 900 – 700 BC. Its name is utterly descriptive of the art created during this phase. Pottery decoration moved beyond simple shapes to also include animals and humans.
Everything, however, was rendered with the use of simple geometric shapes. Archaic Art, from c. 700 – 480 BC, began with an Orientalizing Phase (735 – 650 BC). In this, elements from other civilizations began to creep into Greek art. The elements were those of the Near East The Archaic phase is best known for the beginnings of realistic depictions of humans and monumental stone sculptures. It was during the Archaic that the limestone male and female statues were created always showing young, nude, smiling persons.
Classical Art (480 – 323 BC) was created during a golden age, from the time Athens rose to prominence, to Greek expansion and right up until the death of Alexander the Great. It was during this period that human statues became so heroically proportioned. Of course, they were reflective of Greek Humanistic belief in the nobility of man and, perhaps, a desire to look a bit like gods as well as the invention of metal chisels capable of working marble.
Finally, Hellenistic Art (323 – 31 BC) quite like Mannerism went a wee bit over the top. By the time Alexander had died, and things got chaotic in Greece as his empire broke apart, Greek sculptors had mastered carving marble. They were so technically perfect, that they began sculpt impossibly heroic humans. People simply do not look as flawlessly symmetrical or beautiful in real life, as those sculptures, which may explain why the sculptures remain so popular after all these year.
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