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CLASSICISM. Ancient Greece & Rome 800 B.C – 450 A.D. Philosophy of Art. The arts present the universal idea of beauty through logic, order, reason and moderation. The purpose of the arts is to show perfection in human form and structure. Characteristics of the Arts.

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Ancient Greece & Rome

800 B.C – 450 A.D.

philosophy of art
Philosophy of Art
  • The arts present the universal idea of beauty through logic, order, reason and moderation.
  • The purpose of the arts is to show perfection in human form and structure.
characteristics of the arts
Characteristics of the Arts
  • Art forms focus on the humanistic element
  • “Super human” images and structures prevail
  • Stories and dance expand on emotion
  • Music is intellectual and scientific
greek art
Greek Art
  • Ancient Greece gave us the basis for most of our formal structures and images
  • Their ideals have been the measuring stick by which other styles were evaluated
the devine ratio phi
The Devine Ratio: Phi
  • The concept was first promoted by the Greek geometer Euclid
  • It is based on the Fibonacci Sequence {1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,etc.}
  • Like Pi, it is an irrational number {1.618033988…}
  • We just call it 1.618
more on phi
More on Phi
  • It is said to exist in nature and dictates the best proportions that are pleasing to the eye
the golden section
The Golden Section
  • This is the geometric equivalent of Phi
  • It can be applied to most works of art to determine their use of the Elements of Art through the Principles of Design
  • The Greeks were masters in its’ use
the parthenon
The Parthenon
  • The signature structure of Greek architecture
  • Innovations include: post & lintel construction, sloping roof, colonnade
  • A perfect example of the ideal of Phi
  • Basis for design of Washington D.C.
more parthenon
More Parthenon
  • Built as a temple to the goddess Athena
  • Designed to be the feature building of the Acropolis
  • Uses all Elements of Art in its’ design
the discus thrower
The Discus Thrower
  • Completed by Myron in 450 B.C.
  • The best example of classic Greek sculpture
  • Shows the ideal of the perfect human form
  • Well developed body in motion
pythagoras music theory
Pythagoras – Music Theory
  • Pythagoras was the first to experiment with and discuss the science of sound
  • He discovered that two strings of equal tension produce the same sound.
  • When divided in ½ the shorter string produces the same pitch 1 octave higher
ancient greek music
Ancient Greek Music
  • Music was inseparable from poetry and dance
  • It was made up of mostly a simple melody with instrumental accompaniment
  • Used in story telling and celebration
major instruments
Major Instruments




purposes of music
Purposes of Music
  • To tell stories – Many of Homer’s tales were sung to the audience
  • To dance – either to tell stories or histories or convey emotion
  • To celebrate – The festivals of the God Dionysus required music for merry making
greek drama
Greek Drama
  • Drama was a major source of entertainment in ancient Greece
  • Performances would last for days usually organized around seasonal festivals
  • Audiences could be as large as 30,000 people
more greek drama
More Greek Drama
  • Stories included tragedies and comedies
  • Tragedies: Stories in which the protagonist loses
  • Comedies: Stories in which the protagonist wins
oedipus rex
Oedipus Rex
  • Tragedies were quite popular
  • One of the most famous is Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
  • It is the story of a man who kills his father and marries his mother to the ruin of all
  • Medea by Euripides is considered the greatest tragedy and is still performed today
  • It tells the story of a woman scorned by her husband
  • She kills him and later their children in order to protect them
drama basics
Drama Basics
  • Presentation is similar to that of the Japanese Noh
  • All actors are men
  • Masks are worn to portray emotion and character elements
  • Plots have many twists and turns
three great playwrights
Three Great Playwrights




literature homer
Literature - Homer
  • Poet writer of great epic tales
  • The Iliad: The story of the siege of Troy
  • The Odyssey: The story of Ulysses’ wanderings
  • These document many of the Greek myths and histories
  • Considered the father of modern thought
  • Developed the concept of the modern Democracy
  • His writing “The Republic” is written in dialogue form to make his ideas understandable
  • A contemporary of Plato’s
  • Believed in thought and teaching – ideas and knowledge are living things
  • One should do what is right even when universally opposed
  • Thought to be a slave in the 6th Century B.C.
  • Wrote fables that told stories giving a moral message
  • Used animals as human characters
  • “The Tortoise & the Hare” is an example
ancient rome
Ancient Rome
  • Rome was the largest geographic and strongest political empire of Europe for almost 1000 years
  • While great innovators, they were not the creators that the Greeks were
roman art
Roman Art
  • Because of their Etruscan heritage, the Romans were influenced by the Greeks
  • Very interested in portraits
  • Focused on reality more than Greeks
more roman art
More Roman Art
  • Later in the history of the Empire, they used art as propaganda for the greatness of Rome
  • Throughout their history, they only gave religion a passing glace in their art
  • The Romans shared a love of large decorated structures with the Greeks
  • This lead to advancements in building like:
  • Concrete
  • Arches
  • Domes
  • Built to supply the city of Rome with water
  • When Rome’s population was 1 million, the aqueducts supplied 1 cubic meter per person per day
  • Arch construction was used to bridge valleys
the coliseum
The Coliseum
  • Built as a source of entertainment for all
  • Could seat 50,000 spectators
  • Trap doors in the floor allowed for different entrances to the field
  • A whole city existed below stage level
  • Could be flooded for water battles
coliseum ii
Coliseum II
  • A canopy could be extended to give the spectators shade
  • Home of the famous gladiator battles
  • Also battle recreations, animal fights and other gruesome games were seen
the pantheon
The Pantheon
  • Built as a temple to the seven deities of the seven planets
  • The dome is concrete and meant to point to he heavens
  • The opening is 27 feet wide and the source of light
pantheon ii
Pantheon II
  • It’s reflection of the Parthenon is evident from the front view
  • The temple is a perfect circle capped by the dome
  • It is another example of Phi
  • Said to be the model of the US Capitol