Episode 1 The Legacy of Greece

It was so dull and rainy today I couldn’t settle to reading so this afternoon I started to watch the DVD’s of ‘Art of the Western World’ that came with my course material.

It is starting to show it’s age, it was made back in 1989 but it was still very interesting and relevant to what I am studying.  It condenses in to 30 minutes what I’ve read in the book ‘A World History of Art’.

I made some notes of things that are important and that I want to remember:-

  • Ancient Greece and Rome are the source that Western Art continually refers back to – an idealized view but it is around us all the time
  • harmony, order, freedom
  • the classical legacy of Ancient Greece is the the root of the Western tradition in Architecture, painting, sculpture
  • most Greek art has been broken up and scattered around the world’s museums or buried and forgotten
  • there are traces of colour on the bleached remains of Greek art that give us a tantalizing glimpse of what they would have looked like in antiquity
  • the figure of the Kouros is an idealized young man 18-20 years old and at the peak of his physical powers and would have stood on graves or offered to the God Apollo – he was the epitome of the youthful ideal, proud, independent, strong and intelligent
  • the female equivalent is the Korai and is severe instead of heroic, clothed and static unlike the Kouros who is boldly striding forward
  • in the 6-5c bc there was a dramatic transition – political and social which coincided with a dramatic transition in art which became more realistic than before
  • the reliefs from the Parthenon frieze are cold and restrained compared to how brightly coloured and lifelike they would have been originally
  • the realistically portrayed poses, postures and actions where a major breakthrough so marked Greek art out from other contemporary cultures
  • the skill and confidence wasn’t seen again until the 16th century
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