?Greek art is a very important in the upper paleolithic period. Art objects and artifacts are
important sources of information about civilization prior to written history. The number of
artworks lost because of their impermanence can only be imagined, since many were created by
using organic materials subject to destruction by fire, flood, and decay.
By comparison, objects
made from metal or stone are more likely to survive The Aegean basin was a center of artistic
activity from early times see AEGEAN CIVILIZATIONS the ravages of time and nature. They
too, however, are susceptible to deterioration and may bring to our eyes a decidedly different
appearance than they possessed originally. Among the earliest objects that have survived are
stone figures archaeologists have given the title of Venus of willendorfa small stone figure
found in Austria, dating from 20,000 B.C.
. I think it is a symbolic sculpture most probably
designed to represent and call forth human fertility. In many early civilization, people associated
fecundity with the female rather than the male and chose to represent females in their ceremonial
images. The reduction of detail and the exaggeration of aspects of the human from in the
twentieth-century sculpture, in which a realistic representation of from is likewise not the artists
Because of their artistic quality, state of preservation, and antiquity, the paintings in the
Lascaux caves near Montiganac, France, are among the most important art discoveries of the
According to one widely accepted story, the paintings were discovered in
1941 by children playing in a field. Deep within those caves, early artists had painted humans
and animal figures and weapons, using mixtures of yellow and red ochre-natural found in iron
ore. In spite of fragile nature of material used in these paintings, the images have survived. In
places, the walls are nearly covered with stylized figures representing animals that inhabited
western Europe 15,00 years ago.
It is one thing to represent an animal with proportional
accuracy, but quite another to express its nature and movement. These unnamed artists captured
the essence of the animals, by using expressive lines and subtle colors. Because most of the record of the people of the Paleolithic period has been destroyed by
natural as well as human forces, we will never know with certainty the purposes of their art
objects. They may have been used in religious rituals related to some aspect of the hunt: they
may have express recognition of the common sprit among living things.
Nevertheless, we can
safely conjecture that both the Venus of Willendorf and the cave paintings of Lascaux were
objects associated with the early religion. One thing is known: in those early millennia, art played
The western world has always looked upon ancient Greece as the cradle of its cultural
development. The Greeks have always stride for perfection. In the Archaic age of Greek art,
extending from about100 B.
C.., is the age in which the indigenous Greek art was slowly
developing. The second period, often called the Lyric Age and extending from 800 B.
C., to the
sixth century B.C., is noted for its expressiveness and realism.
This is the great age of lyric
poetry, from which the period takes its name. The Golden Age flourished in the fifth century
B.C. and went on to the fourth century B.
C., is considered the high point of Greek culture.
During this era, there occurred such a development in drama, architecture, sculpture, and music
that the age is still looked upon as the source from which our own culture emerged. The
Hellenistic period of Greek culture dates from about 325 B.
C. to 100B.C. and is viewed as a
The importance of Greek art and architecture for the history of Western civilization can hardly
be overstated, for the Greeks established many of the most enduring themes, attitudes, and forms
of Western culture.
The stories told in Greek art and literature of gods and heroes have been
retold ever since and continue to form a common ground for the art, literature, and even popular
Greek artists were the first to establish mimesis (imitation of nature) as a guiding principle for art,
even as Greek philosophers debated the intellectual value of this approach. The repeated
depiction of the nude human figure in Greek art reflects Greek humanism a belief that “Man is
the measure of all things,” in the words of Greek philosopher Protagoras. Architecture is another
Greek legacy that the West has inherited, as Greece established many