Ancient Greek Art and Sculpture Essay

Ancient Greek art had a profound impact on development of the western civilization. Admittedly, it was also subjected to change. It is possible to trace this change through examining two sculptures pertaining to different periods of Ancient Greek art. These two examples of different periods can be Mantiklos Apollo (7th century BCE) and Riace Warrior (5th century BCE). These two sculptures show the way Ancient Greek art changed throughout centuries.

Of course, to understand art, it is necessary to understand the epoch. Thus, Mantiklos Apollo was created during the Orientalizing Period by an artist, Mantiklos, who dedicated a little bronze statuette to a deity for “some pleasing favor in return” (qtd. in Kleiner 109). Greek artists were influences by oriental art to a great extent. They were fascinated by the forms of Egyptian, Syrian and Mesopotamian art.

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Thus, this statuette is inspired by such forms as portable ivory objects typical of Syrian art. The statuette depicts a young man with prolonged body and neck as well as short legs. Notably, human forms are quite schematic. Nonetheless, here Greek attention to detail and beauty of a human body is already present. Long curly hair and abdominal muscles can be seen. Admittedly, these were only first steps of Greek sculptors.

The other sculpture to be discussed pertains to the Early Classical Period. Actually, this was the beginning of the gold age for Ancient Greek art. This was also a period of Ancient Greeks’ victory over Persians. This was the start of democracy and the end of tyranny (Kleiner 129). People wanted to perpetuate warriors and heroes who gave them freedom. Thus, naturalistic sculptures appeared. Sculptors tried to be as realistic as possible. Every detail of a human body was revealed.

Hence, Riace Warrior is one of these naturalistic sculptures created circa 460-450 BCE. A strong man standing and holding a spear (more likely) is depicted. Notably, the warrior is not in motion, which makes it similar to the earlier work mentioned above. The two works are similar in terms of material used as well. Both artworks are made of bronze. However, they are quite different in terms of attention to detail. It is noteworthy that the classical period was the period of remarkable technical skills of Greek sculptors.

Of course, the two artworks show a particular way Ancient Greek art developed during that period. Ancient Greeks paid a lot of attention to details. Orientalizing period is associated with the influence of Egyptian and Mesopotamian forms. For instance, humans and deities were major topics for sculptures. Notably, this can be explained by the fact that Greek deities had human forms (Kleiner 108). However, following generations were more concerned with achieving perfect resemblance with real people. This can be a result of the victory of Greeks and development of the idea that people were almighty and deserved being perpetuated.

On balance, it is possible to note that Orientalizing and Early Classical periods in Ancient Greek art are quite different and have divergent influences. However, it is still possible to trace one of major traits of Ancient Greek art. Attention to detail and fascination with the human form are characteristic features of the art tradition which shaped further development of the western world and its art. Of course, it is still possible to trace Greek influence on contemporary works.

Works Cited

Kleiner, Fred. Gardner’s Art through the Ages: A Global History. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.

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