Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ancient Greece (pt. 6)

The Classical Period also saw the addition of other materials to the sculpture, such as this Athena Parthenos, made by the Greek sculptor Phidias.  This is a 42-foot tall statue made of ivory and gold (over one ton of gold, I might add).  The ivory was used for the skin, and the gold for her garments.  Precious stones were put in as eyes, and intricate decorations were drawn out on her helmet.
Another element of Ancient Greek art was the frieze, which was a decorative band running across the upper part of a wall.  The most famous Greek frieze is probably that of the Parthenon.  This brilliant frieze shows 350 people and 125 horses in a religious parade that was for a celebration held in Athens every four years.  In the frieze, horsemen are bunched up in some places, and strong light and shadow patterns weave themselves throughout the long line of figures.  It is an extremely lively work of art, showing incredible amounts of motion among all its figures.
Reliefs were also made during the Classical Period.  Here is a very intriguing relief sculpture from the Temple of Athena Nike (the goddess of victory).  Once again, this is a figure in action, but this is far from a graceful movement.  It is called Nike Adjusting Her Sandal, for that is what she is doing.  In Ancient Greek art, you will notice the deification of humans and the humanization of gods.  Myron's Discuss Thrower is making an extremely graceful, godlike movement showing his agility and strength; this goddess is bending over awkwardly to fix her sandal, hinting at her clumsiness.

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