OUTLINE FOR LATE CLASSICAL GREEK ART

OUTLINE FOR LATE CLASSICAL GREEK ART - OUTLINE FOR LATE...

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OUTLINE FOR LATE CLASSICAL GREEK ART Historical Background: (400 - 323 B.C.) Bankrupted by the Peloponnesian War (431 - 404 B.C.) Athens and the other Greek city states could no longer afford the services of their artists who began to seek commissions from wealthy foreign dynasts ruling on the periphery of the Greek world, including the Greek-speaking kings of Macedonia in the northern part of the Balkan peninsula. The best known examples of this development are the Mausoleum (the kolossal tomb of King Mausolus and one of the seven wonders of the ancient world) at Halikarnassos, the capital of the kingdom of Caria (Karia) on the coast of Asia Minor, and the kolossal portrait statue of the king that stood inside the building . The results are a non- Greek kind of building and a statue of a non-Greek ruler expressed in Greek architectural and sculptural vocabulary, essentially the kind of combination of Greek and non-Greek elements that will characterize much of the art of the succeeding Hellenistic period. The Peloponnesian War had also shown the Greek city state to have become morally and politically bankrupt, no longer a viable form of government for meeting the challenges of the time. Consequently, traditional Greek belief in the Olympian gods and goddesses, the religion that had lent sacred significance to the central values of the city state, lost its appeal. This development manifests itself in the arts as images of these deities are brought down from their Olympian heights, and, though still idealized physically, are depicted as human, involved in the banal activities of mortals, e.g. the sculptures of Praxiteles - the Hermes and Dionysos and the Aphrodite of Knidos . Another result of this loss of belief in the group mentality of the city state is the increasing importance of the individual, and an increased humanism, a sense that one's primary responsibility is to one's fellow man rather than to any discredited conception of deity. Though the mortally wounded independent city state form of government struggled on for another 60 years, until ca. 340 B.C., political philosophers, disillusioned with the excesses of democracy and how easily the people were led astray, mainly into stupid wars, came to think that, of the systems available at the time, an enlightened and benign monarchy, with its autocratic efficiency, was the only viable replacement for the city state. This development finds its fulfillment in the conquest of Greece by Philip II of Macedon and his even more talented son, Alexander the Great . These men unite the city states of Greece in the form of the Corinthian League and together the Macedonians and Greeks wage a war of revenge against the Persian Empire. Having conquered the Persian Empire, Alexander, a military genius and a radical social visionary, on his return from India, dies at Babylon in 323 B.C. at the age of 31. ARCHITECTURE AND ARCHITECTURAL SCULPTURE
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OUTLINE FOR LATE CLASSICAL GREEK ART - OUTLINE FOR LATE...

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