Ancient Greek art gave us the foundation for some of the most basic and modern concepts that still resonate in even the most contemporary pieces of today’s art. Greek art gave birth to Western classical art and is mainly found in five forms: sculpture, painting, pottery, architecture, and jewelry. The ancient period of Greek art began in the prehistoric Cycladic and Minoan civilizations of nearly 5000 years ago, and over the course of thousands of years many cultures borrowed heavily from Greek artists in order to incorporate the high quality and form of their pieces.

Greek art has influenced modern western aesthetics more so than any other ancient culture. Starting in approximately the 7th century B.C.E., Greek sculpture began to take on dynamic forms, with the nude becoming the most important subject for artistic endeavor. The Ancient Greeks saw their gods as having human form, so the development of Greek sculpture arose from a confluence of the secular and the sacred.

Similarly, the pottery of Greece slowly grew into a lively art form that depicted scenes of history and contemporary life alike. Greek pottery took on numerous forms and styles throughout the centuries, with the best-known being the Black Figure and Red Figure styles throughout the 7th and 6th centuries, respectively. Pots of this era show intricate scenes that rival the exceptional forms of the pots themselves.

Historians and archaeologists throughout the ages have painstakingly recorded the myriad styles of Greek art, and its influences are seen in the ubiquitous sculpture of the Roman Empire to the Greco-Buddhist carvings of Asia, all the way to feudal Japan. The richly detailed pieces of Greek Art are of unmatched beauty in the archaeological record, and it is no wonder that Greek Art has had such a lasting effect on nearly every major western artist over the last 2000 years.

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