Greek art progressed through four main periods of art, Archaic, Early Classical, Late Classical, and Hellenistic. Each period was distinct from the rest and typically was influenced by the events unfolding during the time. Sculptures were represented in all four major period but differ from each other in their stances, faces, and in the emotion that they represented.
The Greek Archaic period art started around 700 BC and ended around 480 BC. Common elements is Archaic art consist of animated faces, motion, long hair, and arms down with hands in a fist. There was great attention to the human anatomy during this time. A good example of this is the statue Kroisos, a grave marker for a fallen warrior. The statue is dated from about 540 to 515 BC and is now in the Archaeological Museum of Athens. This freestanding statue has many Archaic elements from his striding stance to his expressive face. Notably, the sculpture has what is called an “Archaic smile,” which is used to described the over animated face that was common in the Archaic period. It is also seen that he is standing in a striding position indicating the he is walking. This along with his clenched fists, long hair, and detailed anatomy makes it clear that he originates from the Archaic period. However, this sculpture in not overtly realistic but rather more idealistic of what a warrior should look like.
The transition to the Greek Classical period coincides with the defeat of the Persian invaders around. The Classical period is date from 480 BC to 323 BC. The disappearance of the “Archaic smile” most notably marks the transition into the Classical period. The Classical period also focuses on more realistic art rather than idealistic. One of the best-known sculptures from the Classical period is The Doryphoros of Polykleitos, depicting a nude muscular male athlete originally bearing a spear resting on his left shoulder. This sculpture is dated about 450 BC and was created by...
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