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Classical Style vs. the Renaissance

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Classical Style vs. the Renaissance
Classical Style vs. the Renaissance One of the most influential artistic styles in western culture is the Classical Style. This term describes the art and architecture produced in Ancient Greece between the late sixth and early fourth centuries B.C.E. The harmonious order that governs almost all the aspects of Ancient Greek Civilization, including politics and philosophy, was the basis of this rich artistic period which has always had a strong influence on Western culture. Nevertheless, there have been some periods in history where the Classical influences were more prevalent. This influence could not be more evident than in the Renaissance, which refers to the rebirth of the Classical Style. The Renaissance which spread through Europe started in Italy around 1300 C.E. and lasted though the seventeenth century. In this period, the artisans did not just copy the Greek’s but also revived their principles of harmony, order, proportion, and realism. In this paper, I’m going to exam one sculpture and one building from each of these two periods to identify the similarities and differences between them. Hermes with the young Dionysus by Praxiteles vs. David by Michelangelo Hermes with the young Dionysus was made by Praxiteles around 340 B.C.E. This marble statue represents Hermes, which was the messenger of the Greek Gods, holding the young Dionysus (Gombrich). This freestanding Greek statue was made during the Golden Age of the Classical Style, and it features the key characteristics of this period (realism, harmony, and proportion). Hermes appears nude leaning against a tree trunk draped with material which is wrapped around his arm. He is leaning in a relaxed pose with most of his body positioned on the left side of the artwork. Praxiteles balances the overall composition by putting the young Dionysus on Hermes’ arm which connects the figure to the supporting tree trunk on the right side. Like other sculptures from this period, Hermes with the young Dionysus


Cited: Fiero, Gloria. The Humanistic Tradition Volume I. 5th edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson-Prentice Hall, 2005. Print. Gombrich, E. H. The Story of Art. 15th edition. All Saints Street, London: Phaidon Press Limited, 1999. Print The World Book Encyclopedia. Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago: Field Enterprises Educational Corporation. 1962. Print.

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