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Ancient Greek Art. Freaky Fun Facts.

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freaky fun facts

Freaky Fun Facts

The English word gymnasium comes from the Greek word gumnazein which means “to exercise naked.” Men in ancient Greece went to a public gumnazein to be physically fit for war. If Olympic games were held, (every 4 years) and there was a war going on, the fighting would stop, so that people could travel safely to the games.

Athletes, (always men) competed in the nude. Winners were awarded a wreath, and free meals for life from their home village.

early greek art

Early Greek Art

  • Title: Idol from Amorgos
  • Yep, it looked like this; very simple.This is from the Aegean period.It’s age is dated to around 2,000 BCE.
early greek art1

Early Greek Art

  • Title: Palace of Minos
  • Located on the Greek island of Crete. It was nearly destroyed in an earthquake. It’s age is determined to be around 1,700 BCE.
early greek art2

Early Greek Art

  • Title: The Vaphio Cups
  • Made from flat sheets of gold.This is from the Mycenae period.It’s age is dated to around1,500 BCE.

Greek Vases

There are no paintings left from Ancient Greek society. However, the Greek vases contain lots of images which help us today know how the people lived, played, and worshipped. Ancient Greek vases are categorized into two areas: Black Figure and Red Figure.

The shape of the vase determined it’s function.

  • Pottery from ancient Greece has been found in many different shapes and sizes, from small drinking cups to huge urns as tall as a man.
  • Greek potters used a clay that was rich in iron. When the vases were baked in a kiln (fired), the clay turned red-orange. Artists painted designs on the clay with black, white and violet colored glazes.

AMPHORA Today we give cash bonuses to athletes. We film them endorsing their favorite products. But in early Greece, victors in the Pan-Athenic games were awarded oil...and the oil was stored in large ceramic vessels called Amphoras.

HYDRIA If your chore was to bring home the water, you'd carry it in a hydria. A hydria has three handles: the two on the shoulder of the vessel are for lifting. The handle at the top makes pouring easier.

KRATER It was considered uncivilized to drink wine straight... so mixing it with water was a social ritual. The early Greeks used a Kraterfor this process. It's a large bowl with a wide mouth.


Title: Heracles Strangling the Nemean Lion

  • Vase Style: Black Figure
  • Silhouettes of people, designs and objects are painted in black against a red clay background.
  • Details are finely carved into the black paint.
  • White paint was often added to the details to make certain areas stand out.

Vase style: Black Figure

  • What shape of vase is this?

Title: Lapith and


Vase Style: Red Figure

A black glaze is painted around the figures, letting the red-clay color show.


Vase style: Red Figure

What shape of vase is this?

remember the walt disney movie
Remember the Walt Disney movie ?
  • The muse’s came to life from Greek pottery.

Greek architecture is highly copied. It’s features have come to symbolize safe shelter, democracy and independent thought; and has become a model for national monuments, government buildings and even homes.

People associate the Greek style with humane values, honesty, heroism, civic virtue; the highest ideals in art, and politics.

capital orders
Capital Orders
  • Pediment
  • Cornice
  • Frieze
  • Architrave
  • Capital
  • column

Doric Ionic Corinthian

Title:Temple of Apollo at Corinth

This is dated to around 540 BCE.

Ancient Greeks strongly believed in fortune telling and omens… their lives, they believed, were at the will of the gods. Temples were built to honor these gods.

Artists - Iktinos and Kallikrates
  • Title – Parthenon (means place of the young maiden)
  • This temple was built to honor Athena, goddess of wisdom, war, victory, the city of Athens and Greek civilization. She was the “protector” of the Athenian army.
The Parthenon had a 40 foot statue of Athena, covered in ivory and gold.
  • This building is situated to be seen from all points of land or sea.
  • It took 15 years to build (447-432 BC) and only priests were allowed inside.

Title:East pediment of the Parthenon

  • Referred to as the Elgin Marbles due to it’s purchase by the Earl of Elgin… he used it to decorate his mansion in England.
  • The earl got a divorce and had to sell it.
  • Currently housed at the British Museum, London. However, the Greek government wants it all returned.
nashville parthenon
Nashville Parthenon
  • Date- 1897-1931 AD
  • Built for theTennessee Centennial
  • Originally built of wood and brick in 1897
  • Rebuilt of more permanent materials and dedicated in 1931.

Title: Athena Parthenos

  • Artist: Alan LeQuire
  • Date: 1990 AD
  • This is a copy of the original statue which stood in the Parthenon in Athens around 438 BC.
  • The original was 40 feet tall, made of wood and inlaid with ivory and gold.
  • One story for the disappearance of the original Athena is this:When the Greeks converted to Christianity in 336 AD, she was supposedly shipped to Constantinople, but it never arrived.
  • This Athena of Nashville stands 41‘ 10" tall, making her the largest piece of indoor sculpture in the Western World.
  • The statue of Nike in Athena's right hand stands 6'4" tall and holds Athena’s crown. Nike is the goddess of victory.
  • Sphinx on helmet top with a Pegasus on either side, a griffin is over the ears.
  • The front of the base has 21 figures of Greek Mythology.


  • Movement: Greek
  • Kouros means young man.
  • The posture of this sculpture looks similar to Egyptian art, with the arms straight down on the sides, a forward gaze, and one foot in front of the other.
  • This is from the Greek Archaic period. Greek artists were just coming to develop their skills.

Title: PeplosKore

  • Movement: Greek
  • Medium: marble
  • Kore means young maiden, peplos refers to her dress. Her right hand is holding up her dress so as not to step on it, her left hand is outstretched to give an offering. Kore statues were always painted.
  • This is from the Archaic period.
  • Maybe, in her outstretched hand was an apple…In ancient Greece, throwing an apple to a girl was a way to propose for marriage… If the girl caught it, that would mean she accepts.

Title: Kritios Boy

  • Movement: Greek
  • Medium: marble
  • Again, from the Late Archaic period. This sculpture was made to have a relaxed posture, called contraposto.
  • It is believed to be the work of Krito, hence the title Kritios.

Title: Charioteer

  • Movement: Greek
  • Medium: bronze
  • This one is a BIG deal, because he was made during the Bronze Age of Greece. During this period, it was common practice to melt down old bronze statues stolen by metal scavengers. New sculptures would then be made.
  • In 373 BC, the Charioteer was buried after a major earthquake. It was unearthed centuries later therefore surviving the metal scavengers.
Artist- Myron
  • Title- Discobolus(The Discus Thrower)
  • Movement- Greek
  • Originally a bronze.

Title: Nike of Samothrace

  • Movement: Greek
  • This is part of a larger sculpture of a ship. The Nike would have been placed on the prow of the “ship”. It was carved to show how the winds were whipping the Nike’s garment against her body.

The Nike now stands in the Louvre.

  • This is how it would look if you were viewing it at the museum.

Title: Venus de Milo

  • Movement: Greek
  • Medium: Marble
  • Dug up from a field on the island of Melos in 1820. The broken pieces were found with the sculpture but were later lost, and now disputes question if the broken pieces were ever part of this statue at all. There are 2 theories to this very famous statue…1. She held out an apple in her right hand.2. She was admiring her reflection in the shield of the war god Ares.
  • Either way, she is standing in avery unnatural position.
  • a way of creating art so that we, the viewer, feels a certain emotion.

Title: Dying Gallic Trumpeter

  • Medium: marble replica, the original was bronze.
  • Movement: Greek
  • From the Classical period. More natural and life-like, with artists sculpting their statues based on mathematical equations to achieve perfect proportions. The word classic has come to mean the highest rank, a standard of excellence.
  • Gallics were considered barbarians by the Greeks. They battled them in wars.

Title: Gallic Chieftain Killing His Wife and Himself

  • Medium: marble replica
  • Movement: Greek
  • Originally made of bronze.
  • This is of a man who has killed his wife and is about to kill himself rather than become prisoners of war.

Title: Laocoonand His Sons

  • Movement: Greek
  • Laocoonwas a priest to the Trojan army. He warned the army not to allow a giant wooden horse (filled with Greek soldiers) into their walled fortress. The gods, supported the Greeks so they punished Laocoon and his sons by sending sea serpents to destroy them. The Trojans ignored the warning and the Greeks defeated them.