Artistof the geometric time period created decative funerary art to be placed at thetombs of there dead. These pieces were made of ceramic and created in the formof geometric shapes, hence the time period. One such piece is a vase from theDipylon Cemetery, (750 BCE) its over-all shape is like that of a hemispheresupported by a cylinder. We also notice that the vase is divided into registersand here the humans are depicted as part of a narrative. The body of thedeceased is placed on its side and set on what would appear to be a pedestal inthe center of the top register. The form used to represent the human figures aresomewhat abstract.
For example triangles are used for the torsos, the head is atriangle in profile, round dots would stand in for the eyes and long thinrectangles would serve as arms. The figures have tiny waists, and long legs withbulging thigh and calf muscles. The abstract designs were painted with a clayslip and to still a page form the Egyptians, all the humans were shown asfull-frontal or full-profile views that emphasize flat patterns and outlineshapes. However unlike the Egyptian funerary art the Greeks focused on thesurvivors, not the fate of the dead. During this period it was customary tocreate vases that did not contain supernatural beings, nor made reference to theafterlife that might have provided solace for the bereaved.
Another early piecethat surfaced back in the late tenth century was the Centaur, half-human,half-horse. The Centaur was also created using geometric shapes. The human headwas a round modeled out shape with no strong features or definition. The armsand torsos are rectangular shaped with no muscle tones or anything that wouldtell its viewer that this was a creature of strength. The legs and back animalhalf are cylinder shaped with small bulges that would seem to represent perhapsmuscles. The Centaur also displayed on the body painted on geometric shapes.
(cubes, pyramids, diamonds, etc. ) As time progressed so did the Greek art, thetime is 470 BCE and we find ourselves in the Classical Era. Here were able tonotice a considerable difference in the Greek art. As artist the Greeks havemoved away from geometric shapes and found themselves using such words asbalance, harmony proportion and cemetery. Artist of the Classical Period tookthe geometric shapes and reworked them to there own liking Pan Painter createdthe vase Artemis Slaying Actaeon, and in this piece he shows us that there stillusing ceramics as artist did in the geometric period only now the figures arered. The vase of Dipylon used decorative registers with repeating motifs tonarrate; here the registers are still used with a beautiful maze motif but theremade smaller in efforts to place more attrition on the image being displayed.
The human images on the Dipylon were flat geometric shaped people that had verylittle features. Painters vase offered movement, realism, and detail in thecloth the people wore. Taking a closer look we can now define some of thetechniques used here that were not used early on. Not only are the figures muchlarger but now we have balance in our composition. ( Artemis has all her weightdisturbed on her right leg and Actaeon although on the ground uses his left armto support himself. ) Harmony ( Artemis has her right arm bent as well as herright leg.
The left leg is stiff to go along with the stiff left arm. ) Paintershows us cemetery in his composition ( By dividing the two images in half we seethe composition has the same weight on the left thats on the right. ) Andproportion ( both figures evenly scaled. ) Unlike artist of the geometric periodPainters art was inspired by the myths of the gods as opposed to early artistwho created funerary art and focused on the survivors.
A good artist can take animage from the past and transform it into a beloved piece of the future. Noticethe triangle shape in Paintings piece that ties both images together. TheClassical period made a big impact on the sculptures of that era. When we lookback at the Centaur of the Geometric Period and compare its human features tosomething like the bronze sculpture of Zeus it just doesnt seem fair.
No morefull-frontal or full-profile views of images, we now have freestandingsculptures. No more geometric shapes to represent body parts, we now have muscletone and definition. The bronze statue of Zeus was the Classical era at itsbest. It displays balance, harmony, cemetery, and proposition as well as itgives us a sense of realism and naturalism. The artist brings out smooth facialfeatures and defines the body as having strength and power.
Hes anatomicallycorrect. The use of bronze also allowed artist to twist and turn their models tocreate a pose that seemed to capture a nature feeling. Just when it seemed thatthings couldn’t get any better artist found themselves making a change from theClassical Period to the Hellenistic Period. It was at this time that artistcould standup and say that they had truly arrived. The Hellenistic periodproduced a Varity styles, techniques, and material. The period was marked by twobroad and conflicting trends.
One call anti-classical and the other classicalwhere the artist would choose a piece and rework it into a new style. Suchstyles were like that of the Gallic Chieftain Killing his Wife and Himself. Thispiece offers everything that a classical piece would offer only now the artistis looking for a specific emotional response from the viewer, this know asexpressionism. Hellenistic artist sought the individual and the specific, theyturned away from heroic to the everyday, from gods to mortals. In the ClassicalPeriod we watch Zeus come alive right before our very eyes, this freestandingstatue tough us words like balance, harmony, and proportion, we learned realism,and naturalism as well as smooth skin and the Canon of proportion.
But theHellenistic era. has taken all those things and reworked them for the viewer. The artist takes pieces like the Gallic Chieftain and shows his wife limit bodybeing supported by her husband as he plunges the sword into his own breast. As aviewer you fill an emotional bound with the statue and offer your pity and Ithink thats the response that the artist was looking for. In conclusion wehave seen art pieces from the Geometric Period and its simples form reworkedinto master pieces of the Classical Period. And in the Hellenistic Period wefound out what its like to take a master piece and make it better by touchingthe harts of the viewers.
But most importantly we’ve learned that we live in aforever-changing world and to truly know great art is to know good art.