Category Archives: Ancient Greece

Visit a Classical Building part 2…

…  I’ve just finished writing my report on my visit to St George’s Hall but when I was doing some research I found this video on Youtube about the organ in the Hall.

It is the 3rd largest in the UK behind the largest which is in Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral and the 2nd in the Albert Hall in London but I am proud to say they where all built here in Liverpool where Henry Willis & Sons Ltd is still in business.


Visit a Classical Building

I’m lucky that here in Liverpool is a good example of a Classical Building.  Prince Charles is reported as saying St George’s Hall is one of his favourite buildings when he reopened it in 2007 after a £23 million refurbishment.

If you ever have the chance to visit it don’t miss the opportunity especially if you can visit when the Minton floor is uncovered.  It is so delicate that it is usually covered with a wooden floor and even when it is uncovered you can’t walk on it.  You can see here how it has worn away in parts that have been continually walked on over 150 years of use.

While doing some pre visit research online I found this great site with extracts from the Liverpool Mercury in 1854 I’ve printed the pages out to put in my learning log.

Write a report on what you observed about the architecture during your visit.

Classical Greek architecture

Doric order

I’ve done some work in my sketchbook about the different orders of architecture but I found these videos that are useful research.

Greek vase painting 2

My tutor suggested I find out more about the techniques used to add the figures on the Greek case that I had annotated from World Museum Liverpool.

This video from Art Institute of Chicago illustrates the technique perfectly

Greek Vase Painting

I’ve been doing some research in to the shapes and painting on Greek vases and found these videos.

and thse pdf’s   3259006.pdf.bannered  and  3258463.pdf.banneredfrom The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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

Ancient Greece – painted sculptures

We are so used to seeing classical Greek statues in white marble or stone in museums and gallery that it is surprising to learn that it was most probably brightly coloured.  Even though we are surrounded by so much colour to our modern eyes  they perhaps appear garish rather like cheap tourist souvenirs from seaside holidays.

painted replica of archer

replica of a c. 490 B.C. archer (at the Parthenon in Athens)


File:Alexander Sarcophagus.jpg

Alexander Sarcophagus original (Wikpedia)

a detail of Alexander the Great from the Alexander Sarcophagus

Re-coloured version (

replica of a stele commemorating Aristion

Replica of a stele erected c. 510 B.C. on the grave of the Greek warrior, Aristion, commemorates his exploits in battle. He is dressed in yellow bronze or leather armor, a blue helmet (part of which is missing), and matching blue shinguards trimmed in yellow. (

A German archaeologist Vinzenz Brinkmann has spent the last 25 years recreating life size plaster or marble copies and hand painting them in the same mineral and organic pigments that would have been used in Ancient Greece.  I’ve printed off some articles I’ve found online to put in my logbook.  I also found these videos.

and this pdf  Gods in Color Gallery Guide Arthur M Sackler Museum Harvard  for an exhibition at the Arthur M. Sackler Museum in America in 2008.

As a textile student  I sometimes work in white or cream without the distraction of colour when I want to emphasize texture so I find the uncoloured version of more interest.   For instance in the Alexander Sarcophagus you can clearly see the drape of fabric whereas in the coloured version it doesn’t seem as strongly defined.