Classical Societies Essay There is a tremendous amount of artwork from classical societies that still inspires artists and art enthusiasts today. Art can reveal an extensive amount of information regarding the culture of the society from which it was created. To analyze artwork in relation to the culture of the society, the artwork must be studied in a variety of ways.
The artwork that will be examined will be the Parthenon from the Classical Greece period, the Nike of Samothrace from the Hellenistic Greece period, the Capitoline She-Wolf from the Etruscan Civilization, a Roman Patrician with Busts of His Ancestors from the Roman Republic, and Pantheon from the Roman Empire civilization. The Parthenon is a perfect example of the Doric style of architecture from the Classical Greek period. The Parthenon was built 448-432 BCE and it was made of marble.
It is a temple dedicated to the Goddess Athena. The Greeks believed she helped them to conquer the Persian Empire during the Persian Wars. The Parthenon symbolized wealth and power to the Athenians. Tax money was used to pay for the building and it was also used as a state treasury that held tax money the Dalian League collected. This society was proud of its cultural and political achievements and they formed the first Democracy. They saw themselves as rising to the levels of their Gods.
Perfection was important to the culture and is depicted through the unprecedented precision, the imposing dimensions, mathematical skills, and the visual illusions created in the design of this temple. The citizens of the Classical Greek period were proud of their cultural identity and were conscious of the historic magnitude of their ideas and thought all their achievements would alter history of all civilized men. A magnificent sculpture from the Hellenistic Greece civilization is the Nike of Samothrace also known as the Winged Victory ca. 00-190 BCE. This sculpture portrays the Goddess Nike and is carved out of marble and stands eight-feet tall. The Goddess Nike represented the personification of victory to the Hellenistic culture, which reveals the importance of religion and the Gods to this society. This sculpture also indicates the people believed they were safe. This sculpture expresses an image of victory captured for eternity. This piece of Art shows how skilled the Hellenistic sculptors were. The sculptors of this time began to express the emotions of the ociety in their artwork, even when the emotion was negative. Because the sculpture is realistic and naturalistic, it shows how cultural views had changed from the previous period and how the freedom to express and show human feelings was incorporated into the art. The way the artist bends and contorts different parts of the body and different types of stances the models depicting shows the inner thoughts and attitudes of the people. This sculpture shows movement in the way the dress is blown against her body by her rapid movement.
The Etruscan civilization’s most prominent and well known piece of art is the bronze sculpture Capitoline She-Wolf, ca. 500 BCE. This artwork represents the myth of the baby twins (Romulus and Remus), who were the legendary founders of the city of Rome. The bronze sculpture became the symbol for Rome, and reveals the civilization had a strong belief in myths. The twins were added to the sculpture during the Renaissance. The wolf is from Etruscan time. There is not very much known about the Etruscan culture because so little of their art work had survived.
Most of the artwork that did survive was largely based on religion and funerary customs. The art themes of the Etruscan period seemed to be based on gestures instead of events from history. Greek ark seems to have influenced the Etruscan artists. Which, would lead to the assumption, Etruscan people may have adopted some of the customs and traditions from the societies of Greece. A Roman Patrician with Busts of His Ancestors is a remarkable example of sculpture from the Roman Republic period. The sculpture was made out of marble in the last century BCE.
This art reveals the magnitude of importance this society attached to family and lineage. The wealth and expansion of the Roman Republic led to the creation of new social classes. Their art was meant to show power and influence. They created realistic art, and typically focused on certain places, specific times, and political people used for propaganda and included ideological messages. They placed great importance on the realistic image of the body and especially the face. The Pantheon 118-125 BCE is an outstanding example of many advances in architecture produced from the Roman Empire.
The Pantheon is a circular temple dedicated to the 12 major Gods. The dome was made of concrete and had an opening at the top called an oculus. The oculus lets sunlight in, and it would hit all 12 Gods as the sun set form east to west. This design is still popular today. The craftsmanship of the architects and their attention to every detail shows the society placed great value on knowledge and improving on the skills they had already acquired. Art was used to proclaim an important person’s power.
The origin of Christianity began in the Roman Empire out of Judaism and influences from Greek philosophy. Classical societies, particularly Classical Greece, Hellenistic Greece, Etruscan civilization, the Roman Republic, and the Roman Empire produced outstanding artwork that continues to marvel civilizations today. Such works as the Parthenon, the Nike of Samothrace, the Capitoline She-Wolf, a Roman Patrician with Busts of His Ancestors, and the Pantheon, are prominent reflections of that time and act as visible marks of the grandeur of past classical civilization.
Artwork from past civilizations not only teaches the present society about the cultures and traditions from history, it may inspire artists today to improve on the skills from past artists and create masterpieces that reflect the cultures of today. References Benton, J. and DiYanni, R. (2008). Arts and culture an introduction to the humanities. (pp. 65-121). New Jersey: Prentice Hall. History of art. Retrieved on July 30, 2010 from http://www. all-art. org/contents. html Ketner, L. (2003). Art histroy general characterisitics. Retrieved on July 30, 2010 from http://www. phs. poteau. 12. ok. us/williame/APAH/readings/Art%20History%20General%20Characteristics%20-%20Liz%20Ketner. pdf Mitts, K. (1999). Retrieved on July 31, 2010 from http://www. thenagain. info/WebChron/westciv/Parthenon. html Nike of Samothrace. (2008). Loggia. Retrieved on July 30, 2010 from Loggia. com website: http://www. loggia. com/art/ancient/hellenistic03. html Sakoulas, T. (2010). Retrieved on July 29, 2010 from http://www. ancient-greece. org/auxiliary/about. html Witcombe, C. (2010). Ancient Roman art. Retrieved on July 30, 2010 from http://witcombe. sbc. edu/ARTHrome. html#Etruscan