Greek Statuary: Hellenism

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Information about Greek Statuary: Hellenism

Published on April 27, 2014

Author: LGluckygoldstar



An overview of Hellenistic Greek statuary with an audio activity. Students can use the "Laocoön: guided listening activity" if English is below Intermediate level.

BIG PICTURE Starting point - 8th century BCE: the poleis (city states) of Classical Greece began to take shape; the Greeks broke out of their isolation and once again began to trade with cities both in the east and the west (including Egypt); Homer’s epic poems were recorded in written form; the Olympic Games were established. 800-500 BC Archaic period Monumental statuary returns. Not naturalistic, influence of Egypt still noticeable. Rigid, simple, geometric. The Archaic smile indicates life, not humour. 480 BC Classical period begins Early, High (Late) Monumental statuary is more naturalistic. Idealised depiction of movement. Perfection. Proportion. Contrapposto. Greek statuary: Hellenism 330 BC Hellenistic period begins Alexander the Great conquers the Near East and Egypt. Emotion. Drama, theatrical. Not idealism, but hyper-realism. Pathos (touching our emotions). New subjects (older and poor people, animals.

Athanadoros, Hagesandros, and Polydoros of Rhodes, Laocoön and his sons, from Rome, Italy, early first century BC. Marble, Musei Vaticani, Rome. Hellenistic style. The expression of the face and body provokes an emotional response from the viewer. Drama Pathos (touches our emotions) Hyper-realism, naturalism (not idealism) or http://smarthistory.khanaca

Laocoön and His Sons captures the mythical life-and-death struggle between a father, his boys, and two vicious sea serpents. (Laocoön was punished by the goddess Athena for trying to expose the Trojan Horse as a fraud to the Trojans who viewed it as a gift and sign that the Greeks had quit their siege of Troy. Actually the horse concealed a bevy of Greek kings waiting to pounce on the Trojans when they dragged the giant wooden horse into their unsuspecting city.) This 1st-century B.C. statue was discovered in 1506 in the ruins of the Emperor Nero’s famed “Golden House” in Rome. Part of the intense expressiveness you see in Laocoön and His Sons was no doubt due to the assimilation of so many foreign cultures, and part of it to a new worldview. The self-confidence of classical Greece had proved to be self-delusion. Life was gritty and unpredictable, not serene, changeless, and other-worldly. (Source: Art History for Dummies) Did you know? The original was seized and taken to Paris by Napoleon Bonaparte after his conquest of Italy in 1799, and installed in a place of honour in the Musée Napoléon at the Louvre. Following the fall of Napoleon, it was returned by the Allies to the Vatican in 1816.

Nike alighting on a warship (Nike of Samothrace), from Samothrace, Greece, ca. 190 BC. marble, the Louvre, Paris. “Victory has just landed on a prow to crown a victor at sea. Her wings still beat, and the wind sweeps her drapery. The positioning of the statue in a fountain of splashing water increased the dramatic visual.” or samothrace.html

ARCHAIC CLASSICAL HELLENISTIC Activity: Describe the evolution of Greek statuary by comparing these works

Sources and extra information: Gardner’s ‘Art through the Ages’ SmartHistory: Smart History for Dummies

Sources and extra information: Gardner’s ‘Art through the Ages’ SmartHistory: Smart History for Dummies

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