The Classical Art Period consisted of ancient Greek and Roman art and fell between the years 900 BC and 31 BC. During the Classical Period, Athens and Sparta were dominant cities in the Greek region. These cities were suspicious of one another, but managed to live peacefully together until the 5th century, BC. Cultural and political differences between the two cities caused a rivalry to form. The rivalry was eventually quelled after a brutal war which ultimately ended in the demise of both cities and the rise of Macedonia as the dominant power in the region. Eventually, the social structure in the Classical Period became somewhat of a democracy and an open society which we have emulated in the United States (“History of Greece: Classical Greece”, 2014).
Many other wars occurred over the course of the Classical Period, and this culture of war contributed to the realism of the art of the time. The brutality of war and the effects it had on Greek society inspired artists to focus on man, rational thinking, and logic (“History of Greece: Classical Greece”, 2014). Greek artists in the 5th century, BC began to realistically imitate humans and animals through art (Boardman, 2012). These Greek artists gained a better understanding of anatomy and the human body’s mechanics, giving them the ability to realistically render the human form in multiple positions without appearing awkward. Logic was valued over emotion in sculptures. This means that facial expressions were typically emotionless, unless the person/deity being portrayed was considered barbaric, in which case, emotional characteristics took over the face of the sculpture (“History of Greece: Classical Greece”, 2014).
The Middle Ages
The time period of the Midd...
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...ist unknown. (ca. 1260-1280). Enthroned Virgin and Child. [Elephant ivory sculpture]. New York, NY: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Boardman, J. (2012). The Classical Period (5th-4th Century B.C.). http://www.beazley.ox.ac.uk. Retrieved from: http://www.beazley.ox.ac.uk/sculpture/styles/classical.htm
General Introduction to the Medieval Period. (2014). http://dlibrary.acu.edu.au. Retrieved from: http://dlibrary.acu.edu.au/staffhome/siryan/academy/theory_history/Medieval_Period.htm
History of Greece: Classical Greece. (2014). http://www.ancient-greece.org. Retrieved from: http://www.ancient-greece.org/history/classical.html
Medieval Art. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved July 25, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_art#Subsequent_reputation
Middle Ages Art. (2014). www.lordsandladies.org. Retrieved from: http://www.lordsandladies.org/middle-ages-art.htm
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