Robin Urton: dimensional paintings on glass


Ancient Greece

Cycladic Figure

Greece Map, 440 BCE

Greece is located on a peninsula in and around the Aegean Sea, a section of the Mediterranean which is dotted with numerous islands. The history of the foundation of the Greek civilization is a complex story. The first people to populate the Agean shores were sailors who travelled from Asia Minor beginning around 3000 BCE (corresponding with the beginnings of Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and Oriental civilizations). They kept coming for over 1000 years, as Greece welcomed them with many months of sunshine. They called themselves the Shore People, and the most famous of these tribes are now known to us as the Cycladics (populating the island of Cyclades), whose abstract figurines are associated with the foundations of later Greek art. North of Greece was the continent of Europe, which was at this time sparsely populated by Germanic tribes. Living in a less hospitable and cold environment, they continued the practices of earlier hunting cultures, banding together like packs of wolves to survive. When they made their way through the mountain passes of Greece, it was their first site of a civilized city. The Germanic tribes were savage fighters and had horses which the Asians had never seen before. When the tribesmen conquered, they kept the Asian sailors to be their farmers and craftsmen, taught them their language, and eventually took them into their family of tribes. It was several centuries later that the civilization which we call Ancient Greece had its beginnings. Eventually, the glory of Greece would spread across the Mediterranean to the coast of north Africa (including Egypt), as well as southern Italy. The civilization of ancient Greece spans from about 1200 B.C.E (when Mycenaean civilization perished) to 323 B.C (which marks the death of Alexander the Great).


The Acropolis and Parthenon

Reconstruction Model of The Acropolis, Athens

The Parthenon


Elgin Marbles
(Removed from Parthenon)

Statue ofAthena
(Roman Reconstruction)


Porch of Maidens
Erechtheum, Acropolis


(Note: Essays on the artwork will be added at a later date)


Evolution of Architectural Styles

Doric Columns from the Parthenon

Ionic Style

Corinthian Capital




Evolution of Sculptural Styles


Geometric Period

Kouros (Youth)
Early Archaic

Late Archaic

Spear Carrier


The evolution of Greek sculpture begins with the Archaic period, progressing to the Classical and Hellenistic periods. Though each of these have early, middle and late subperiods, the most important aspects of each is that the Archaic is more rigid in stance due to equal weight on both feet. The anatomy is abstracted (or simplified), and there is no emotion apparent (eyes generally stare forward). During the Classical period, there is an increased interest in accurate human anatomy, the pose becomes more natural and relaxed as the weight is shifted from one leg to the other, and there is a sense of idealism (figures of this period are of their ideal physical types). Emotion is also restrained in the classical style.


Peplos Kore
Archaic (530 BCE)

Aphrodite of Melos

Wounded Amazon
Late Classical

Nike of Samothrace


Hellenistic Sculpture


Lacaoon Group

Old Market Woman

During the Hellenistic period, anatomy continues to be well observed, and there is an increased interest in movement or action of the figures. In addition, there is less idealism and more stress on expression of emotions. The images of Prometheus and Lacaoon, for example, are both expressive of pain and anxious tension. Also, the figure of an old woman, at right, would not have been expressed during the Classical period, for she lacks all idealism. An exception to the lack of idealism expressed in the Hellenistic period is the famous Nike of Samothrace (also known as the Winged Victory, above).



Greek Ceramic Painting

Geometric Period

Early Archaic


Dionysus and Revelors

Offering Ceremony





Next: Ancient Rome