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HUM 111 THE HELLENISTIC AGE II: ART AND ARCHITECTURE Hellenistic Era: 323 BC (death of Alexander) to late 1 st century BC The dominant influence of the Hellenistic era is realism, empiricism, Aristotle The cities that Alexander created grew during the Hellenistic era. These were all new cities, not old cities that had Persian roots. Alexander would lay out brand new cities that became the centers of the new trade and activity in the east. They were usually laying on the important trade routes. This is where the concept of urbanization came. He settled them into one place, it is easier to organize and tax the citizens this way as well. There were Macedonian concepts headed east, but eastern concepts headed west too (like divine kingship and mystery religions) During the Hellenistic era, Rome is rising over in the west at the same time, but we will talk separately first about the east, then about Italy, and bringing both up to the battle of Actium. This keeps them from getting confused with one another. Hellenistic Architecture: During the Hellenistic building the emphasis changes from religious buildings to secular buildings: museums, houses, motels, etc. Personal monuments were also created. The concepts of realism, empiricism, individualism spread everywhere at this time. Monument to Lysicrates, Athens The monument to Lysicrates is in Athens but is a Hellenistic work. It is a solid monument, not a building. It is not a rectangular, Hellenic style building, it is new and innovative. Individualism, personal monuments & display The emphasis during this time is on newness and novelty, we have moved away from the idea that everything should get better and better and be perfect (Plato’s views). Instead, Aristotle’s idea that everything should be real is more in place. Now the architects can think about the here and now. They can break away from the form that they have had for centuries. This is a monument celebrating the achievement of an individual. Lysicrates won a choral competition (he owned the chorus, so he got a prize), and in order to brag about the competition victory, he put up a monument of himself. This would never have been heard of in the Hellenic times, 5 th century. But in the Hellenistic times, the celebration of the individual was allowed, and so one could put up the monument for themselves. The columns on this building are no longer free standing, important, but are just simple half columns, and are Corinthian capitals (not Doric/Ionic). The Greeks developed the Corinthian, but the Hellenistic time used it. The Romans used flashy and showy things. Psycho historians ask, why do we go from the Hellenic (focus on gods, building temples) to Hellenistic (individual, great houses, decorations)? – most say because of the change in
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the government. In Hellenic times, with the democracy, he felt important and that he contributed to the democracy. In the Hellenistic times with the power to the king, individuals don’t feel important, so individuals feel the need to have a different outlet to feel important. The difference between democracy and monarchy is key here. In the US
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