Hum100 - Artistic Themes from Ancient Cultures: Greece and Rome

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Artistic Themes from Ancient Cultures: Greece and Rome

It is hard to think of the ancient world without looking at the Greek and Roman empires. Although similar, the Greek and Roman empires are two different cultures. They existed from 500 B.C.E. to 500 C.E. (Fiero, 2006). One constant in both cultures was their pursuit of perfection in their art and architecture. This paper will examine this pursuit of perfection in both cultures and how their impact is felt in the modern age. One of the most stunning facets of ancient Greece was the art that was created. The Greek artisans made the jump from mere rough images during the Minoan time, to the startling life like sculpture and art of the Greek culture. This time is referred to as the classical age; this classical age occurred during the golden age of the Greek empire (Fiero, 2006). Perfection is a key component of the Greek art style or “classical”. The classical style integrated some ideas that were common among all art forms. The first major ideas are order and proportion. The Greek artists combined these ideas into a canon; the most notable canon that exists today is the Ten Books on Architecture by Vitruvius Pollio (Fiero, 2006). This series of books laid out the style guidelines in relation to order and proportion for Greek artists. In addition to these ideas, Greek artisans also incorporated the ideas of humanism, realism, and idealism. The text defines these concepts: “Greek art is said to be humanistic not only because it observes fundamental laws derived from the human physique, but because it focus so consistently on the actions of human beings. Greek art is fundamentally realistic, that is, faithful to nature; but it refines nature in a process of idealization, that is, the effort to achieve a perfection that surpasses nature. Humanism, realism, and idealism are hallmarks of Greek art” (Fiero, 2006).

These themes are constantly repeated in the Greek artwork. In sculpture, there is an improvement...
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