AP Art History: Ancient Greece

Terms in this set (84)

Man and Centaur, ca. 750-730 B.C.E., bronze, approximately 4 1/2 in. high, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC 5-3
Hercules and Centaur Chiron; Geometric Sculpture in the round, bronze, small only 4 ½ " high. Possible Herakles battling the centaur Nessos, who carried the hero's bride across a river then assaulted (wrapped) her. Centaur is any mythological creature ½ horse ½ man. Geometric artists was not limited to scenes inspired by daily life and death. Hence the vases. The centaur is a pure Greek invention. During this time frame the Greeks would have been exposed to the the monsters that were popular in Egyptian and Near Eastern.
It's not likely that the artist would have seen such a creature. The centaur has horse hind legs and human front legs and torso, much like the figure of the hero. The hero is portrayed much larger to (contradictory to nature) the horse to indicate that he will be the victor. Contrast to the Near Eastern sculptures the Greek figures are nude. Even here in the beginning of Greek Figural art we see the natural instinct that the Greeks felt for the beauty for the human body. Greek athletes practiced and competed in the nude in the Olympic games. The 2 figures confront each other after the man has stabbed the centaur. The sculptor has reduced the body parts to simple geometric shapes, arranging them in a composition of solid forms and open negative spaces that makes the piece pleasing to the eye. Most of these types of works have been found in sanctuaries, suggesting that they may have been votive offerings to the gods
Bronze, Geometric period, (750 BCE), approx. 4 5/16"
The Agora of Athens was the center of the ancient city: a large, open square where the citizens could assemble for a wide variety of purposes. On any given day the space might be used as a market, or for an election, a dramatic performance, a religious procession, military drill, or athletic competition. Here administrative, political, judicial, commercial, social, cultural, and religious activities all found a place together in the heart of Athens, and the square was surrounded by the public buildings necessary to run the Athenian government.
These buildings, along with monuments and small objects, illustrate the important role it played in all aspects of public life. The council chamber, magistrates' offices, mint, and archives have all been uncovered, while the lawcourts are represented by the recovery of bronze ballots and a water-clock used to time speeches. The use of the area as a marketplace is indicated by the numerous shops where potters, cobblers, bronzeworkers, and sculptors made and sold their wares.
Long stoas (colonnades) provided shaded walkways for those wishing to meet friends to discuss business, politics, or philosophy, while statues and commemorative inscriptions reminded citizens of former triumphs. A library and concert hall met cultural needs, and numerous small shrines and temples received regular worship. Given the prominence of Athens throughout much of antiquity, the Agora provides one of the richest sources for our understanding of the Greek world in antiquity.

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