Topics: Ancient Greece, 1st millennium, Greek art Pages: 8 (2027 words) Published: December 11, 2013

Art Timeline
Gizel Rixner
June 30, 2013
Norberto Gomez Jr., PhD

Art Timeline
Greek Art in the Archaic Period
As the museum’s new curator I have been informed that my goal is to improve the content of the museum’s website. After reviewing the guidelines and instructions set forth, I have decided to proceed with my commitment by focusing on the chosen art medium of sculptures and figurines. In addition, I intend to include ten chosen examples of thematically linked artwork in the area of Greek figural sculptures. So, before I precede any further I would like to give you a brief introduction into Greek Art in the seventh century. The abstract geometric patterning that was dominant between about 1050 and 700 supplanted in the seventh century by a more naturalistic style. Greek artists use techniques as diverse as gem cutting, ivory carving, jewelry making, and metalworking. Greek artists rapidly assimilated foreign styles and motifs into new portrayals of their own myths and customs, thereby forging the foundations of Archaic and Classical Greek art.

Fig. 1
525-500 B.C. Lion feeling a bull
Marble Pendant (2009.529)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Rogers Fund, 1942

This marble relief, which originally included two facing lions attacking a bull, once decorated the pediment of a small temple or civic building in ancient Greece. A joining fragment, with the forepart of one lion and the middle of the bull, was found near the Olympeion in Athens in 1862, and is now in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens. The subject, one of the most popular in Archaic art in all media, allowed the artists to infuse a symmetrical composition with violent movement. The scene may also represent the conflict between civilized life and nature, a theme symbolized later by struggles between the Greeks and the Centaurs.

Fig 2
590-580 B.C. Statue of a Kouros (youth)
Archaic, Greek, Naxian marble (32.11.1)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Fletcher Fund, 1932

This noble figure of a youth is one of the earliest freestanding marble statues from Attica, the region around Athens. It is a type of sculpture known as a kouros (male youth), characteristically depicted nude with the left leg striding forward and hands clenched at the side. Most kouroi were made in the Archaic period, between the late seventh and early fifth centuries B.C., and are believed to have served as grave markers or as dedications in the sanctuary of a god. The pose of the kouros, a clear and simple formula, derives from Egyptian art and was used by Greek sculptors for more than a hundred years.

Fig. 3
6th Century B. C. Architectural tile fragment
Lydian; Excavation at Sardis
Terracotta with red and black painted decoration (26.164.1)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

This brightly painted, mold-made tile is one of many that have been excavated at Sardis, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Lydia, in southern Turkey. In places like Lydia and southern Italy, where native stone was scarce or of poor quality, terracotta served as a substitute for stone in architecture. Tiles such as this one would have originally decorated the rooflines and outer walls of houses and civic buildings. Being both decorative and functional, some are equipped with a protruding spout that helped drain water from the eaves. The motifs on this tile are part of the repertoire in eastern Greek art that eventually became popular throughout the Greek world.

Architectural tile fragment, 6th century B.C., Lydian; Excavated at Sardis, Terracotta with red and black painted decoration (26.164.1) Fig. 4
6th Century B.C. Antefix with the head of Medusa
Terracotta (26.60.73)
Metropolitan Museum of art, New York
Fletcher Fund, 1926

This lively architectural antefix depicts one of the most popular subjects of early Greek art, the Head of Medusa. This...

References: Department of Greek and Roman Art. "Greek Art in the Archaic Period". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. Retrieved June 26, 2013, from, (October 2003)
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