Dr. Schiller: AP History of Art Greek Art: Gods, Heroes, and Athletes PART 2 OF 2
Classical Architecture (Mature Classical): • The 5th c. BCE (400s) is known as the “Golden Age of Athens” • The Persians destroyed the temples and statues on the Acropolis (literally “city on a hill”) in 480 BCE Athens. The rebuilding of the Acropolis under Pericles (leader of Athen), during the latter 5th c. BCE when Athens was at the height of its power, represents the Classical phase of Greek art in full maturity. • They are not the fruits of Athenian democracy, but the by- • products of Athens’ tyranny over the rest of the Delian League and the abuse of Athens’ power.
Text Stokstad plate 5-38 Model of the Acropolis, Athens, c.400 BCE
Stokstad plate 5-37 Below the Acropolis was the Agora (marketplace) of Athens Text
Classical Architecture: • The greatest Athenian architects and sculptors of the Classical period focused their attention on the construction and decoration of the 4 main buildings of the Acropolis: • 1. Parthenon • 2. Propylaia • 3. Erechtheum • 4. Temple of Athena Nike • More human creative genius is concentrated on the Periclean Acropolis than in any other time or place in the • history of Western Civilization!
Classical Architecture: 1) The Parthenon • The Parthenon was the centerpiece of the Acropolis • It was dedicated to Athena, was the greatest temple and the only one to be completed before the Peloponnesian War (between Sparta and Athens, 431-404 BCE). • It had 4 religious uses: • as Temple of Athena • as Byzantine Church • as a Catholic Cathedral • as a mosque. • It was ruined in 1687 when the Turks had stored gunpowder in the cella and it exploded during a siege of Istanbul by Venice. Stokstad plate 5-39 Iktinos and Kallikrates, Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Parthenos (view from the northwest), Acropolis, Athens, Greece, 447-438 BCE.
Classical Architecture: • The Parthenon may be viewed as the culmination of 200 years of searching for perfect proportions in Doric temple design (like Doryphoros, which we’ll see later, is for human anatomy) • The Parthenon architects and the Doryphoros sculptor all believed that beautiful proportions resulted from strict adherence to harmonious numerical ratios • Didn’t matter whether they were designed in a huge temple or a life-size statue. • You can actually express the controlling ratio of the parts of the Parthenon by an algebraic formula: x = 2y + 1 [Unfortunately, The corrosive emissions of factories and autos are decomposing the ancient marbles!]
Phi is the golden ratio = 1.61803399 A golden rectangle is a rectangle with dimensions which are of the golden ratio. A rectangle whose sides are related by phi is said to be a golden rectangle, or one of the sides has length 1(x) and the other has length phi(x). It has been claimed to be the most aesthetically pleasing shape of rectangle
Yet the Parthenon as actually constructed is quite irregular! • stylobate and entablature curve upward in a particular place • peristyle columns lean inward slightly
Classical Architecture: • Because of all these deviations from the norm, virtually every Parthenon block and drum had to be carved according to the special set of specifications its unique place in the structure dictated. • Why? Although some modern architects talk about how the tilts and curves create a dynamic balance in the building (a kind of architectural contrapossto), the Roman architect Vitruvius wrote that these adjustments were necessary to compensate for optical illusions. • Parthenon, though Doric order, contains some Ionic elements: Ionic columns in the goddess treasury room of the Parthenon; inner frieze on top of the cella was Ionic. • This mix of Doric and Ionic features characterize the 5th-century buildings of the Acropolis as a whole.
Classical Architecture: • Parthenon is Doric order, but less massive than the Archaic “basilica”, even though larger. . Parthenon “Basilica” at Paestum
Classical Architecture: • In Classical architecture, a general lightening and readjustment of the proportions: • Lower entablature in relation to width and height of columns. • Columns more slender, tapering and entasis less pronounced, smaller and less flaring capitals, spacing of columns wider. • Load carried by the columns has decreased and so the supports can fulfill their task with a new sense of ease.
2)The Propylaia • The Propylaia is the monumental entry gate at the west end of the acropolis, begun in 437 BCE under Mnesicles. Abandoned because of Peloponnesian War. Mnesikles, Propylaia, Acropolis, Athens, Greece, 437-432 BCE
In designing the Propylaia, Mnesicles had to deal with difficult terrain, had to transform a rough passage among rocks into an overture to the sacred precinct on which it opens. • the western porch (façade) of the Propylaia was flanked by two wings. The wing to the north is a first: first known instance of a room especially designed for the display of paintings: “pinakotheke”
3)The Erechtheum: • the Erechtheum was a sanctuary with several religious functions. It may have covered a spot where a contest between Athena and Poseidon was believed to have taken place. there were 4 rooms: the eastern one dedicated to Athena Polias (Athena the city goddess). The name comes from Erechtheus, a legendary king of Athens. Stokstad plate 5-47 Erechtheion (view from The east), Acropolis, Athens, Greece, ca. 421-405 BCE
Porch of the Maidens [Gardner plate 5-51] Plan of the Erechtheion
Greek Architecture: • the Porch of the Maidens is a porch attached to the western side of the Erechtheum, facing toward the Parthenon. Its roof is supported by 6 caryatids. on a high parapet, instead of regular columns. Stokstad plate 5-48 Caryatid from the south porch of the Erechtheum, Acropolis, Athens, Greece, c. 421-405 BCE. Marble, 7’ 7” high.
Greek Architecture: • Vitruvius might have distinguished the ionic style of the porch of the maidens from the Doric style of the Parthenon by describing the former as feminine and the latter as masculine.
4) Temple of Athena Nike • the first Ionic building on the Acropolis was the temple of Athena Nike on the southern flank of the Propylaia--built between 427 and 424 BCE. Stokstad plate 5-49 Kallikrates, Temple of Athena Nike, Acropolis, Athens, Greece, c. 427-424 BCE
Classical Greek Sculpture • more mature classical style of the Periclean Era. • Look at Doryphoros (Roman • copy) by Polyclitus. Stokstad page 145 Polykleitos, Doryphoros (Spear Bearer), also known as Achilles. Roman marble copy from Pompeii, Italy, after a bronze original of ca. 450-440 BCE, 6’ 11” high.
Classical Style (Mature Classical Style): • contrapossto more emphatic., differences in every muscle., turn of the head, detailed anatomy, harmonious proportions. • Renowned as the standard embodiment of the Classical idea of beauty. • Known as the “Canon” (rule, measure, law), so great was its authority: • Polyclitus believed that beauty resided in perfect proportions, in harmonious numerical ratios, and he set down his own prescription for the ideal statue of a nude male athlete or warrior in a treatise called “The Canon”. • He called Doryphoros “the Canon”
Doryphoros represents two fundamentals of Greek aesthetics: Rythmos and Symmetria, derived from music and philosophy. Classical Greek sculpture appeals equally to the mind and the eye, so that human and divine beauty become one.
Discobolis was sculpted by Myron, • c. 450 BCE. He condensed a • sequence of movements into a single • pose without freezing it. Involves • violent twist of torso in order to bring • arms into same place as action of the • legs. Fully coiled figure in perfect • balance (copy harsher and less poised • than original) Stokstad plate 5-1 Myron, Diskobolus (Discus Thrower). Roman marble copy after a bronze original of ca. 450 BCE, 5’ 1” high
Dying Niobid, c. 440 BCE.Marble, 59” tall • During the Classical period, sculpture is endowed with a new spaciousness, fluidity and balance • See Dying Niobid, c. 440 BCE • United motion and emotion that • makes the beholder experience • the suffering of a victim of a • cruel fate. • She had humiliated the mother • of Apollo and Artemis by • boasting of her 7 sons and • daughter; the two gods kill her • children and then her • She is the earliest known large • female nude in Greek art. In her • face for the first time, human • feeling is expressed as • eloquently as in the rest of the • figure
Very different agony of death from Dying Warrior. “Pathos”—suffering, covered with nobility and restraint so that it touches rather than horrifies us.
Compare Niobid with earliest Gorgon at Corfu. But Niobid shows the same pinwheel stance, though the meaning has been radically reinterpreted
Classical Sculpture: The Elgin Marbles • The largest and greatest group of Classical sculptures that remain to us are the marble decorations of the Parthenon. • Much removed in 1801-1803 by Lord Elgin—called the Elgin Marbles—greatest treasure of the British Museum. • They represent various deities. No violence or pathos, but a deeply felt poetry of being • The drapery is thin, as in the three goddesses, seems almost a liquid substance as it flows and eddies around the forms underneath. Stokstad plate 5-42 Three goddesses (Hestia, Dione, and Aphrodite?), from The east pediment of the Parthenon, Acropolis, Athens, Greece, ca. 438- 432 BCE. Marble, greatest Height approx. 4’ 5”
Classical Sculpture: • The turning of the bodies under the elaborate folds of their costumes make them seem anything but static. The “wet” drapery unites them in one continuous action, so that they seem in the process of arising. • Anticipates future rejection altogether of pediment as focal point of architectural sculpture, because it boxed in the figures too much
Classical Sculpture: • Anticipates future rejection altogether of pediment as focal point of architectural sculpture, because it boxed in the figures too much • The figures are so freely conceived in depth they create their own aura of space—not shelved in a pediment. • Treats the triangular fields as no more than a purely physical limit—like a frame cutting off the picture
Classical Sculpture: Panathenaic Procession” • The Parthenon was more lavishly decorated than any Greek temple before it. • The frieze of the Parthenon, a continuous band 525 feet long, shows the “Panathenaic Procession” honoring Athena in the presence of the other Olympic gods. Stokstad plate 5-46 Elders and maidens of east frieze, Details of the Panathenaic procession frieze, from the Parthenon, Acropolis, Athens, Greece, ca. 447-438 BCE Marble, approx. 3’ 6” high.
Classical Sculpture: Panathenaic Procession” Seated gods and goddesses (Poseidon, Apollo, Artemis, Aphrodite, And Eros), Details of the Panathenaic procession frieze, from the Parthenon, Acropolis, Athens, Greece, ca. 447-438 BCE Marble, approx. 3’ 6” high.
Classical Sculpture: Panathenaic Procession” • most remarkable quality is the rhythmic grace of the design, particularly striking in the spirited movement of the groups of horsemen. Stokstad plate 5-45 (sort of) Horsemen of north frieze, Details of the Panathenaic procession frieze, from the Parthenon, Acropolis, Athens, Greece, ca. 447-438 BCE Marble, approx. 3’ 6” high.
Classical Sculpture: • 92 Doric metopes show violent action such as Lapiths and centaurs, combat of gods and giants. Sack of Troy by the Greeks, Greeks fighting Amazons who according to legend had desecrated the acropolis). • Very high relief; some parts fully in the round--Because these figures were so high above the ground where they could barely be seen, the figures fill as much of the limited field as possible and are • carved so deeply as to appear • nearly in the round. • Sculptor knew how to distinguish • vibrant, powerful living beast forms • from dying corpses on ground Lapith vs. centaur, ca. 447-438 BCE. metope from frieze on the South side of the Parthenon Marble, approx. 4’ 8” high.
Other themes: birth of Athena, contest between Athena and Poseidon over who would become patron deity, other gods • Whole thing forms allegory of the Athenian victory over the Persians, who also destroyed the Acropolis.
Classical Sculpture: • Most of the Parthenon’s reliefs and statues are today exhibited in a special gallery in the British Museum in London, where they are known popularly as the “Elgin Marbles”. • In early 1800s, Lord Elgin, British ambassador to the Ottoman court at Istanbul, was allowed to dismantle them and ship them to England.
Phidias • Chief overseer of all artistic enterprises was Phidias, sponsored by Pericles. • Term “Phidian style” is sometimes used to describe the Parthenon sculptures but only a generic and questionably accurate label. Phidias did the designs, but probably lots of sculptors because all done between 440 and 432 BCE. • Phidian style: statues exhibited men and women as creatures of optimum perfection and began to look alike: perfect straight noses, blank glances, shapely mouths, and beautiful muscular bodies give the work a feeling of superficiality and unattainable excellence of appearance. Lacking was the sense of naturalism and emotion provided earlier by the Severe style.Old age and undesirable features were absent. • This style dominated Athenian sculpture until the end of the 5th c. BCE, and later, though large-scale sculpture came to a halt because of the Peloponnesian War
Classical Sculpture: Phidias’ Gold and Ivory Athena [reproduction] [Gardner plate 5-44] Phidias, Athena Parthenos, in the cella Of the Parthenon, Acropolis, Athens, Greece, ca. 438 BCE. Model of the Lost statue, which was approx. 38’ tall.
Classical Sculpture: Plan of Parthenon • Phidias’ Gold and Ivory Athena • it was destroyed centuries ago • we know about it from Greek and Latin descriptions and from Roman copies • 38 feet tall • Parthenon designed to fit around it! • Cella had to be wider than usual, which required 8 rather than the usual 6-column façade
Classical Sculpture: • Phidias’ Gold and Ivory Athena • Athena was fully armed with shield, spear and helmet and held Nike in her extended right hand has many allusions to the Persian defeat by the Greeks—metaphors forthe triumph: --of order over chaos, --of civilization over barbarism, --of Athens over Persia
Classical Sculpture: • “Nike”—personification of victory, for example found on the balustrade erected around the Temple of Athena Nike. This Nike is taking off sandals—old tradition about to step on holy gourd. One wing is open, one • closed—to help keep balance. • “Wet” drapery like 3 goddesses. • A row of vase-like supports surmounted by • a railing Stokstad plate 5-50 Nike adjusting her sandal, from the south side of the parapet of the Temple of Athena Nike, Acropolis, Athens, Greece, ca. 410 BCE. Marble, approx. 3’ 6” high
Classical Sculpture: • Grave Stele of Hegeso—grave steles produced in large numbers by Athenian sculptors, export probably helped spread Phidian style. Stokstad plate 5-51 Grave stele of Hegeso, From the Dipylon cemetery, Athens, Greece, ca. 400 BCE 5’2” high. Marble
Grave Stele of Hegeso • Gentle melancholy-woman has picked necklace from box held by a girl servant and seems to be contemplating it as if it were a keepsake. • Here relief merges almost imperceptibly with the background, so ground no longer appears as a solid surface but assumes transparency of empty space. • Novel effect-probably inspired by painting
Classical Painting: • Polychromy in Vase Painting • Writers during Classical period tells us that the most renowned artists were painters of monumental wooden panels displayed in public buildings, both religion and secular • Great breakthrough in mastering illusionistic space, but we have no murals or panels to verify claim, only vase painting • Look at white-ground technique on vases to get some idea
Classical Painting: • White-ground technique Vase Painting • Lechythos: oil jugs used as funerary offerings. • white coating on which painter could draw as • freely and with same spatial effect as pen and • paper now • white ground is treated as empty space • from which sketched forms seem to emerge • —if draftsman knows how to achieve it • same Phidian reverie (day-dream) as • previous stele [Gardner plate 5-56] Achilles Painter, Warrior taking leave of his wife, Attic white-ground lekythos), from Eretria, Greece, ca. 440 BCE. Approx. 1’ 5” high.
Classical Painting: • White-ground technique Vase Painting • shows command of foreshortening • also internal dynamics of the lines—swelling and fading, makes some contours (like chair) stand out boldly while other merge or disappear • and color: vermilion (red/brown) and • ochre (yellow)
Classical Painting: • but after this, vase painting becomes satellite art-shorthand-spotty and overcrowded like the ”Peleus and Thetis pelike”. • This is effective end of Greek vase painting, which disappeared by the end of the 4th c. BCE
Late Classical (4th c. BCE) Architecture: • Architecture • in the 4th c. BCE, Greek open-air theaters achieved a regular, defined shape. • This one at Epidauros was designed by Polykleitos the Younger, ca.350 BCE Stokstad plate 5-70 Polykleitos the Younger, Theater, Epidauros, Greece, ca. 350 BCE
in the 4th c. BCE, Greek open-air theaters achieved a regular, • defined shape. • concentric rows of seats with staircases at regular aisles • in center is orchestra • like Dodger stadium except center is baseball field Stokstad plate 5-71