Article

Greek Art

Ioannis Mylonopoulos

in Classics

ISBN: 9780195389661
Published online December 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195389661-0088
Greek Art

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  • Classical Studies
  • Classical Art and Architecture
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Greek art is all about images: images of gods, images of heroes, and images of humans. The self-awareness of the Greeks is reflected in the ways they decided to visualize themselves and the world, both real and imaginary, surrounding them. For a long period of time, the study of Greek art followed the interpretive path of Johann Joachim Winckelmann, who understood Greek artistic expression in an almost biological way: just like a living organism, Greek art had its early formative period, a time of vigor, and a final moment of decay. Strongly influenced by the Renaissance concept of artistic genius, generations of scholars devoted themselves to the recognition and analysis of the styles of artists known mainly through literary sources, following the methods founded by Adolf Furtwängler and John D. Beazley. Nowadays, although stylistic analysis remains a conditio sine qua non for the understanding of Greek art, scholars have moved toward a more contextual appreciation of art as a historical and cultural phenomenon firmly rooted in its own social, political, and intellectual frame. Statues, reliefs, and vases are no longer considered mere objects of art, an aesthetic delight in a museum showcase, but evidence for the ways a culture visualized and artistically reinvented abstract philosophical ideas, political concepts, religious beliefs, or social constructs. One should always take into consideration, however, that there is nothing like the all-encompassing Greek art, but rather many different artistic expressions in the many separate political and geographical entities of the Greek Mediterranean world.

Article.  18205 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Classical Art and Architecture ; Classical History ; Classical Literature ; Classical Philosophy

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