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  • Roman Arquitecture.

    Roman Aqueduct in Segovia
    Roman Aqueduct in Segovia




    Roman architecture


    The development reached in the Roman architecture was so important that even the drawing and painting are made to service the architecture. The sculpture were also very important part in the buildings, supporting their political and religious propaganda.

    They all come together helping to support the functional and practical character of Roman culture. With the propaganda element implemented as main characteristic, they generalizes and unify their aesthetic and technical concepts, extending them to the entire region in which the Romans establish their culture.

    The sculptures and relieves applied to the buildings are important parts in the propagandistic roman aestheticists concept (as mentioned before), they provided examples and guides to be followed by the citizens in different aspects like: clothing, philosophical thinking as well as political tendencies.

    The emphasis in spread the messages to the spectators through the artistic elements located in the buildings as decoration, have contributed to a better knowledge today about this culture in relation to religion, politics and philosophical aspect, providing an insight in their everyday life aspects as well.



    The architecture in Rome is seen as a very centralized and unitary art; in which its constructive and aesthetic canons are extended to the entire empire and influences in the public and private lives of its citizens. Of course it is a monumental architecture which seeks to represent the majesty expressions of strength and power that represent the ideal of uniformity proper of the Empire.

    It alternates between two known systems:

    1 Of the column and copying lintel of the Greeks.

    2. The arch and Vault which took from the Etruscans.



    The employed vaults were mainly:

    -The domed.

    -That of barrel

    -In oven

    – Aristae



    Roman’s main monuments were:

    -The temple

    -The Basilica

    -The Thermae


    -the amphitheatres




     The materials used in Rome architecture were basically:

    -The stone masonry

    -The masonry

    -The brick often combined with concrete mortar.




    Awesome Roman engineering can be appreciate in this 3d virtual restoration comparing how looks today with how must have been looks like in ancient times.







    Although the Romans employed the classical Greek architectural orders, they used more freely combining them together in the same facade; one older was used for the first floor another for the second and so on. They utilize others orders too like the Tuscan for example and this have in many case to do with the region were the building was constructed besides the functional characteristic  of this one.


    The Roman temple


    a)      Take of the Etruscan Temple its location on a high podium with a unique front access.

    b)      From the Greek temple takes the long cellar (also known as naos is the space or room internal located in the sanctuary of the temple where stood the statue of the God).

    c)       Also from Greek takes the Colonnade perimeter (edge outside of two dimensional figures), but except for the portico of access; in with they are removed, are attached to the wall.

    d)      It is in the front of the building where its appearance is more similar to the Greek world.




     The Thermae


    They were large architectural complexes of recreation and public health, in which were settled baths of different temperatures. The Thermae or baths played a key role in Roman social life, not only as a spa; but also as places of meeting and recreation, they could sometimes acquire extraordinary proportions accommodating thousands of people. They were equipped with library, restaurants, and gyms areas among other commodities.

    Romans in ancient times use to take care of their bodies, as well as they did in relation to the intellectual aspect. And the concept of healthy mind in healthy body were also for them as it was for the Greek and important priority in their live.

    They have free access for all the population and because of the scandals that had developed in the commune’s rooms for both sexes they were separated after these issues assigning areas for the ladies and other for the man’s.

    Those for the man’s; have interesting painting over their assigned place to accommodate their clothes, with explicit sexual allusions themes, that could turn red some faces even today.


    Erotic painting in public bathrooms in Roman's thermae





    The Thermae count with:


    -A room to undress or “apodyterium”

    -Cold baths or “frigidarium”

    -Temperate baths or “tepidarium”

    -Hot baths or “caldarium”

    -Fitness Center

    -Massage zones

    -Libraries and open spaces for a walk.

    An example is the baths of Caracalla in Rome for up to a thousand people.



    This video show a virtual 3d restauration of a Roman thermae.



    Las termas de Caracalla. Impresionante reconstrucción 3D de Altair4.

    Posted by Traianvs. Ingeniería Romana on Friday, March 25, 2016


     The Basilica


    Building of three naves separated by columns and topped in apse or cupola, was the place dedicated to commercial transactions and also served as a court.

    In the Curia (Congregational space) were held political meetings and meetings of citizens and had a large rectangular room with one or two stances.

    The main and widest nave, was supported by columns with space between them and the outer wall, with the purpose to serve as a gallery or corridor, facilitating the translation between the entrance and the back; when the halls were full of people. Difference of heights were used to open holes for lighting in the upper part of the walls. The basilicas were located in the Forum.

    Following the fall of the Roman Empire and in Christian times these basilicas are used as a center of Congregation of the faithful, very similar in their use which are given to the churches.



    Some of the most emblematic buildings of the Roman world were devoted to the shows. They used to be close to the city, but outside the walls. Among them we have:


    The Roman Theatre


    Were inherited from the Greeks, dedicated to the representation of works of classical playwrights, they were semicircular and divided in:



    -Aditus (aisles from entrance to the orchestra).

    -Cavea. (Was the place where the spectators accommodated himself according to their social rank).



    Although The Roman Theatre derives directly from Greek,  there are some differences:


    •  The Roman Theatre is installed without take advantage of the decline of the ground, building on a completely domed structure of arches and vaults of brick or concrete.
    •  “The Cavea is installed with “scene”; stages of monumental proportions with sculptures and very decorated.
    •  The “orchestra” becomes semicircular rather than circular.
    •  Gardens and “Peristylus” were in the back.


    The theatres were built with stone and Roman mortar as building materials, the same materials as well were used in other types of buildings such as;

    • The amphitheatres.
    • Circuses.
    • Forums.
    • Temples. 

    The aesthetics of the outside also had importance, presenting a series of floors. In those play an important role the arch and column. In the intermediate vain mediate statues were placed. Many theatres had small temples in its structure. Viewers weren’t given harsh time really to wash the show,  because climate construction elements in this buildings were installed awning to protect them from the rain or the light of the Sun.




    Space oval fruit of the Union of two theatres for the scene (hence its name) was used as a site for the contemplation of struggles of animals, Gladiators, circus exercises, simulation of naval battles, etc.



    The aqueducts 


    Those was one the most spectacular exponents of Roman architecture  and their incredible clever engineering knowledge. Those bridges carried water to the cities from springs or rivers. Its construction was very complex and sometimes they had to save large uneven areas so in those, was done its structure of arches; (corridor or open spaces in arched galleries) these were overlapping.



    The circus


    It was destined to “Cuádriga” racing and was a very elongated space in the Center was placed the spine with large statues. The Roman circuses had a leading role in social life; many people conglomerate in those places and they were built large and confident, ready to host them during the representation.

    The Roman Coliseum is the largest of these buildings dedicated to games and entertainment for the masses.



    Unlike the first amphitheaters, whose location sought to be in hills to provide support to the walls, the Coliseums is an outstanding building constructed using stone and cement, 48 meters high and 188 long and 156 m wide with capacity for 50,000 spectators who could access or get out of there in less than three minutes thanks to a complex network of passages and exits.

    These buildings were done primarily with constructive elements oriented to make pleasant the experience of the conglomerates to watch the show, easy to scroll galleries and corridors, visibility from the stands etc.


    The constructive elements consisted basically in:

    •  “Porta “Pompeii (without stands, visitor’s entrance)
    •  “Carceres” (post output, slightly inclined to distance adjustment)
    •  “Pul vinar” (presidential Parco)
    •  “Triumphal Porta” (semicircular tiers where were the judges.)


    The arch of triumphs; for with the Roman soldiers pass in and out of the city are a maximum representation of the power and domination concept needed for them to be spread around not only to their citizens but to the entire region under Roman subordination.



    The cities were major center of coexistence and in general the Roman civilization needed to defend itself against aggression.

    Roman cities were created on indigenous settlements or newly created, demanded the construction of great works to save rivers, provide safe drinking water to the city or facilitate trips between those cities. Therefore, some of the most interesting works of Roman architecture were bridges, aqueducts and roads.

    The cities in with thousand of hundreds of people live in an urban, practical and very down to earth society; had a construction system with very clever fixtures to provide the citizens with civil, religious and official buildings as well. They also constructed buildings dedicated to business and recreational porpoises. Often these buildings were situated in the Forum, real neuralgic Center of the Roman city.

    The ruins of Pompeii provided and invaluable archeological and historical resources on how these cities must had been looks like.


    Actual recreation of the city of Pompeii


     There is a post about the Roman relief sculpture that is also very important to understand their architecture. Is at this link:

    Roman’s Reliefs sculpture




  • Greek Art. Arquitecture

    Greek Art Architecture

    The same concepts that apply to other artistic manifestations in Greek art such as the proportion and harmony, symmetry and technical perfection can be seen in relation to architecture. Those concepts stand up in the classical temples, whose characteristics are common to all the “Polis”. Greek temples were designed to be observed from the outside and not for the use of its interior space. So its external appearance becomes a main value closely related to the worship of the deities in the Greek culture.



    Its construction is based on a constructive module of mathematical measures that perfectly make interacts all the parts of the building together. Balance and symmetry set the ideal order to build and design the different parts of the building.



    Greek Temple showing their numerous columns.
    Greek Temple showing their numerous columns.


    Different materials used in Greek Architecture

    The structures stood up using different  materials:

    • Wood   in the beams of reinforcement.
    • Raw brick in the interior walls.
    • Rock   of calcite on walls of stone known as “Albarradas”.
    • Terracotta to make tiles. In times of   prosperity was used the one from Mount “Pentelico”.
    • The marble was used for   sculptures and also in the structure of the buildings in temples of great   importance.

    Technical elements used in Greek art

    The perfection of these buildings is seen in complex technical elements such as:

    – Optical adjustments.

    – The use of colas of Milano in replacement of mortar in the coupling of the ashlars.

    – The perfect framed and polishing of the masonry.


    Greek architecture technical Elements
    Greek architecture technical Elements

    Principal plants distribution in Greek architecture for the construction of temples:

    The Greek temple was establishes in a sacred space called Temenos. The plants of the temples are called as their columns are distributed; along its perimeter as well as the number of them.

    –        Antis

    –       Próstilo

    –       Anfipróstilo

    –       Períptero


    Greek temples plant's distribution
    Greek temples plant’s distribution


    Classical orders in Greek architecture.

    The classical orders in Greek architecture constitute a constructive design to ensure the repetition in all the temples of the same decorative and constructive system module.

    These are:





    Greek architecture Classic order of colunms
    Greek architecture Classic order of colunms


    The roof of the temple is constructed in a way in which the two parts of it leaves a space triangular which is called “Pediment”.



    A late period show an influence of the art of the East in the construction of these temples and other buildings and this influence takes a huge role of dominant expression.

    The Monumental sculpture (applied to architecture)

    The friezes: find sculptural decoration in relief in the metopes of the Doric frieze and in the jonick friezes; occasionally also in friezes decorating elsewhere in the temples or other buildings. However to be these sculptures a works that is made in two dimensions; is achieved the purpose of give the relief a three-dimensional effect, in which figures express movement in relation to the action which they are performing as well as the emotions, heroism and divinity representation.

    It is seen here as in the rest of the sculptural work a great attention to detail, the figurative representation, the proportions of the figures and the balance and proportion of them in relation to the rest of the figures of the whole group, exquisite care of the perspective that gives the feeling of been looking at a real scene.

    The eardrums of the pediments: is the preferred place, usually decorated with sculptures called “round piece”.

    The decoration of the top front of those temples presents the problem of adapting the scene to the triangular shape of the eardrum, so evolve in the search for solutions that respect the proportionality of the figures, various form are presented; the characters are placed them standing, bending, kneeling, sitting, lying or lay, in a way in which can locate them without breaking the logic of the perspective and the beauty of the whole arrange. Notwithstanding the challenge launched to resolve the location of the figures in the triangular space these present greater dynamism. This will be the line to follow from that point on.



    – In the Temple of Artemis in Corfu.

    – In the Treasury of the Sifnos at Delphi.

    – In the Temple of Afaia in Aegina.

    – In the Temple of Zeus at Olympia.


    The perfection of this proportioned buildings with total devotion to represent harmony, equilibrium of the parts and total mathematical accurateness in the construction, make use even of optical illusion tricks to fix what the human eyes could distort when the parts of the building are observed from determined points of view. All this efforts to get an exact representation of the ideal beauty paradigm; transcend in architecture along centuries been the classical Greek ideals  the model to follow for many architects even to this days.                        



  • Greek Art. Sculpture


    Greek Art. Sculpt

    ancient Greek Sculpture


    The ancient Greek Sculpture like the rest of this art is characterized by its aesthetic idealism, the use of proportionality and balance of the elements and for their interest in the artistic works who reflect the lines of the human figure to perfection both in drawing and sculpture. Greeks raise the human body to be the basis of all beauty and peg. This trend is called anthropocentrism.


    Although Greek art relies on nature, manifests itself however depicting a sweetened version of this one; tending to the creation of an idealized world where simplicity, the rhythm, the proportion and clarity; as well as the conceptual unit of work dominate all its art forms.

    Athleticism was one of the main inspiration to the Greeks; was very cultivated by these and the artists gave their best work basic on those models. Fascinated by the sinuosity of the forms of the human body (which inherits from the Minoan culture); they are already reaching in the classical stage phenomenal mastery of techniques that allow them to express a great realism in the works of sculpture.


    Greek Sculpture


    Greek sculpture is not subject to rules or conventions. The sculptor has freedom to express their vision in the play; however, they search achieving representation of perfection in the human figure as mentioned above; exalting the physical strength and the perfection of the traits.

    Materials used:

    Initially in wood; then replaced by stone (marble mainly); is also widely used the bronze (lost wax); exceptionally crisoelefantinas (of ivory, gold and silver).

    The sculptures were generally polychrome, except for works made in bronze.

    Greek sculpture through 3 periods times or evolutionary phases, with specific characteristics in each of them.

     These are:


    Go from the 8th century to the 6th B.C.

    More specific; Archaic period go since the end of the so-called dark ages until the Persian wars 490-480 B.C.

    Is characterized as times where sculptors seek their own style and technique. We can find archaic sculptures prior to this period which are very simple. At first they performed Small votive offerings and xoanas (sculptures carved on the own trunk of the tree).

    Subsequently the first large format sculptures made in stone:

    – The kouroi or ephebes (singular kourós), figures of naked athletes.

    – The korai or girls (koré singular), offering figures of women dressed.


    The main features of archaic sculpture are:

    –       Whole body; hieratic (motionless) attitude.

    –       Law of the frontality.

    –       Modeling simple and strong geometrización.

    –       Statist positions; later only moving a bit his left leg to suggest movement gait, but without getting the feeling    of displacement; the arms take off from the body.

    –       Large almond-shaped eyes.

    –       Archaic smile or eginética, (facial expression through a forced and conventional gesture which outlines   a  smile).

    –       Long hairy head formed based on geometric elements.

    –       The sculptures were made as an offering to athletes.


    The Korai


    –       They are dressed, the study of the position of the folds on this sculpture is more important that the anatomy per se for this artist.   

    –       They are statues of religious character, found in the temples.



    1.        Lady of Auxerre, for the xoanas.
    2.       Hera of Samos, still very archaic.
    3.       The Peplos koré and other evolved korai from the 6th century BC.



    Archaic Period. The Korai



    We can find two types mainly:

    – With the Doric peplo (thick robe without folds)

    – With Jonick chitón (fine texture and abundant folds) with both feet together; the free hand holds the dress or an offering; archaic smile.

    The Kouroi

    Characteristics of the seventh century BC:

    –       With the left leg ahead, but without sensation of movement, the soles of both feet are glued to the ground.

    –       With arms fallen, glued to the body and closed fists.

    –       Simple modeling (which will evolve into more successful forms).

    –       With strong geometrización (particularly in hair and torso).

    –       Disproportions between the different parts of the body.

    –       With almond and bulging eyes.

    –       The mouth always closed and “archaic smile” (“smile eginética”). Examples: Cleobis and Bitón.


    The kouroi of the 6th century BC: evolve into more rounded shapes, perfecting the anatomical modeling; the geometrización of forms is also lower; there are already soft movements; new elements appear.



    –       The Moscóforo (young man offering  a calf as bearer)

    –       The Rampín rider, with the head slightly rotated;

    –       The kourós of Anavyssos.

    –       the Apollo of Piombino, kouroi  with sweeter lines



    The Kouroi. Archaic Period



    To this period belong works such as:

    –       The Kourós of Anavyssos (athlete).

    –       The Lady of Auxerre or Xoana (young lady dressed).

    –       The head of the Rampín Knight.

    Classic Period


    Centuries V and IV B.C, from the Persian wars when they  fight against the invading Persian until the end of the Peloponnesian War (404 BC).

    This time it meant greater boom in all literary and artistic expressions. The sculptors achieve the perfection of their techniques, as well as the best sculptural pieces, where the magnificence of the human figure is observed.

    There are 2 periods with different styles and characteristics:

    –       Style Sublime, which highlights sculptors such as Myron, Phidias and Policleto,

    –       Style Bello, highlighting sculptors Scopas, Praxiteles and Lisipo.




    In the 5th and 4th centuries ( a.C) Greek sculpture reaches its culmination, creating works that have become models of plastic perfection and beauty at this time.

    In this century there is a feverish process of achievements to commemorate the victory over the Persians and to rebuild the destroyed.

    The aesthetic aims to translate the beauty ideal, although it is a naturalistic art tends to the idealization, based on the reality archetypes are created. The true protagonist is the naked male body, getting in their realization a total mastery of the anatomy.



    The most represented topics belong to the mythical world of the gods and heroes, who are treated with great seriousness. The hieratic positions are definitely lost, making the mobility of the figures a protagonist’s factor to capturing gestures and attitudes. Also leaves the frontality, the sculptures have different viewpoints now.

    During the first 50 years of the century V (B.C.) a transition phase towards these goals is found, even with remains of archaism, the “severe style”. We see steps towards anatomical perfection, greater dynamism, and solutions to adapt the sculpture to the space in the pediments; (triangular spaces in the top front of the buildings).


    Examples of this period are:

    –       The Pediments of the Temple of Aphaia in Aegina.

    –       The Pediments of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia (already mentioned above).

    –       The Reliefs of the Ludovisi throne (Aphrodite’s birth).

    –       The bronzes of Poseidon.

    –       The warriors of the Riace.

    –       The Auriga of Delfos.


    The sculptor Kritios:

     The highlights of this stage is this sculptor, author of the “Tiranicidas” and the “Efebo” athlete, which is supposed to be the start of the Preclassic period, thanks to the novelty of its position; that is a previous time of “contrapposto”: The figure show a bend  knee to support the entire weight of the body in one leg, her anatomy is more realistic, although the hair continues in the same line, short; and the head is not completely straight, but slightly rotated and tilted slightly downward.

    From the middle of the 5th century BC begins the “classical stage”.



    He works the bronze, although the works that have been preserved are Roman copies in marble, as in the majority of cases we are going to see.



    Discobolo from sculpture Miron
    Discobolo from sculpture Miron


    His most famous work is the “Discobolus”, in which Myron proves to be the master of the movement, we are not dealing with the traditional upright posture, instead we are confront with the one who makes it been very daring, captures a moment, the time prior to releasing the disk, the time of maximum effort, therefore the entire body is in tension. The head have the feeling that do not just correspond to the tense of the body since it is too quiet, focused, but serene.


    Yours is also the Group of Athena and Marsyas, where Athena is walking and her head looks at the ground at the same point where Marsyas is looking, forming a V, Athena is serene and wears the peplo, Marsyas is a naked figure in tension, which allows to show a powerful musculature.


    Myron and Policleitus



    Also works the bronze. Publishes the “Kanon”, work which is conducting a study of measures and proportions of the human body, the beauty would be in these proportions (the total height of the body is seven times the head) and symmetry. In the “Dorífero”, spear bearer, embodied all his theories: spherical head, proportions and symmetry, classic stance or “contraposto”, erect, with some curvature in the torso and hips to rest the weight on one leg. The” Diadúmeno” has characteristics very similar to the previous sculpture, appears to tie a Ribbon to the temples.

    His work is an “wounded Amazon”, awarded at a competition for the decoration of the sanctuary of Ephesus, which competed with “Phidias and Crésilas” towards the middle of the 5th century BC.


    Together with Pericles by reconstruction and monumental management of the Acropolis of Athens, it is the sculptor of the gods, which better captures the essence of the divine, author of two gigantic crisoelefantinas sculptures (nucleus of wood with gold and ivory plates):

    Best-known works of Phidias:


                         – The Athena Parthenos, which remains a small Roman marble copy.

    The Athena Farnese , 12 meters of height and it was inside the Parthenon, the armor on his chest, a tunic to the feet, the helmet on the head and a victory of life-size in the hand, its coat of arms showed the “amazonomachy” in relief on the front and the “gigantomachy” painted by the part back.

    Zeus of Olympia, now lost, which was sitting with a victory in the right hand and a scepter in the left hand have around 15 meters is seated, showing a majestic attitude that ensured his immortality.

    Athena Prómachos, bronze, only known from coins, is the Savior and guardian of the city, depicted as a warrior had over 15 meters in height, was located in the middle of the Acropolis.

    The “Lemnian Athena” his best work, whose head has been termed as “beauty” because it corresponds to the canon of beauty perfect of the 5th century BC

    The wounded Amazon contest of Ephesus.

    – Also attributed to Phidias all the sculptural decoration of the Parthenon; (that it will influence the sculptors of the “style Parthenon” “Style Bello”, at the end of the 5th century BC)

    The Frieze of the Doric  “metopas” (compositions of two or three figures in high and  clear relief)

    The Frieze of the “panathenaic” games (representation Bas-relief  of the procession of the “Panathenaea”, on the frieze around the cellar  of the Parthenon; is not a schematic representation, the figures looks like they are alive and have and  individuality, represented by an idealized naturalism).

     – The Pediments of the Parthenon sculptures(excellent compositions, in which the figures fit perfectly to the pediment; in the East pediment represents the Birth of Athena and in the West the fight Athena and Poseidon by Attica; studied Anatomy in the nude and the dresses in the female figures, although through the “technique of wet cloths” again hinted at the Anatomy).


     The achievements at the end of the 5th century BC can be classified within a new stage in the evolution of sculpture in the classical stage, the so-called “Parthenon style” or “Style Bello”. There are two important sculptors who correspond to this period:


    Among the sculptors ascribed to this period: Made a Bust of Pericles, located on the Acropolis of Athens, with very idealized and Corinthian helmet. Also preserve its Amazon wound of the contest of Ephesus.


    His works continue in the line of wet cloth technique inaugurated by Phidias in the Parthenon, Aphrodite Frejus and the relief of the “Win tying the sandal” of the Temple of Athena Nike.

    Other examples of the sculpture of this stage: the victory of Paionios, commemorating a victory over the Spartans who collects the time victory sits on the ground, the Tunica conforms fully body and spiraling in the back, being the history of the victory of Samothrace.

    Also highlight of anonymous authors, but along the same lines of the above: the wound Nióbide, practically naked feminine sculpture which represents the moment in which she received an arrow in the back and it is struggling to remove her, stands out for the face, reflecting the suffering; and the Hera Barberini.


    The Sculpture in Greece in the 4th century BC

    It is Times of crisis for the Cities State and disintegration and transformation in the social aspect, after the Peloponnesian War between Sparta and Athens and their respective allies. Athens, despite the political crisis, continued the artistic supremacy in Greece, thanks to a society that is elegant and refined, although in this context the artist works not to the State but for particulars individuals, because the war has sapped resources from the State coffers.

    There are changes from the previous century:

    –       Gods and athletes are still the protagonists, but now represent the gods nearest to man and not to the greats of Olympus.

    –       Athletes are represented in less heroic, everyday attitudes.

    –       The figures become freer, less majestic.

    –       The aesthetic canon is stylized.

    –       Is heightened naturalism in gestures and attitudes, the faces begun to reflect the “pathos” (its emotional expression and mood);

    –       The female nude began his appearance.


    It is the sculptor of the delicacy, elegance and the beauty of the smooth surfaces. It accentuates the traditional classical stance further tilting the hip, “praxiteliana curve”, though it continues the quietism of the composition. His works are the Hermes of Olympia (one of the few cases in which we retain the original, representing Hermes, the Messenger of the gods, being Dionysus child during a break in the road), the Apollo Sauróctono (further marks the praxiteliana curve and the body is younger), the Aphrodite of Cnidus (which initiates the female nude)(still “shyness” feels shame and is covered with the hands, will be very copied as a female beauty canon); the Arles Aphrodite (naked but with legs covered by a cloak, the nudity is not accepted immediately).





    Sculptor of the “pathos”, of the passion reflected in the figures the State of the soul (agitated anguish). Attracted by tragic or pathetic themes that can be seen in works like; his Bacchante or Maenad wound (with the body troubled by convulsive movements, with the torso twisted, rotating the neck backwards, messy hair and revolt). He also made the East of the mausoleum of Halicarnassus reliefs and the statue of Mausolus.


    Sculptor of the archaizing, admirer of Polycleitus, but in there naturalism is sharper. The New canon of beauty is more slender, now the body has eight heads, decreasing the size of it, so the body is high in proportion to the width. He cultivated the portrait, it was the sculptor preferred by Alexander the great.

    His main works are the Apoxiomeno (athlete cleaning himself with the “estrígilo” example of the new “Kanon” and the final domain of the third dimension and it is an open sculpture because it breaks the space through the great foreshortening of his right arm), the Ares Ludovisi (God of War II seated) and the Farnese Hercules (specially study the anatomical and physical strength).




    Among the works of other prominent sculptors of this century we can mention the following:

    Leda and the Swan Of Timothy.

    – The Versailles Artemisia.

    – The Apollo Belvedere of Leócares.

    – The Orante Beads.




    It Goes Since the end of the 4th century (B.C) and from the reign of Alexander the great (336-323 BC) until the conquest of Greece by Rome, in the middle of the second century B.C).

    Corresponding to the end of the Greek art , the works of this era taking models from the previous, refine them, showing a great capacity for realization, enters the figure of the child as a subject. The sculpture takes characters of monumentality, overlooking the picturesque, grotesque, the episodic, etc. The portrait takes first place. Different schools emerge in this period.




    Most important sculpture schools:

    –       Pérgamo.

    –       Rhodes

    –       Alexandria.


    This is the stage of the crisis of the polis, by bundling the constellation of (City-States) in a polity under the Macedonian domain.

    In this new political world, organized by the genius of Alexander the great statesman, they have no place the ideals of harmony and measure of the classical Greece and are replaced by new values, Greek culture universalizes, acknowledging the contributions of Eastern peoples with which melts. As a result is obtain a mixed of culture, which mixes the classical traditional Orientale (colosalismo and decorativismo) and a new conception of life, not already based on high ideals but in the search for the enjoyment of everything that life have to offer. Artistically those facts will depart the conquests of the 4th century BC.


    Hellenism Characteristics

    –       The sculpture is more naturalistic, even arriving at more crude realism occasionally.

    –       Accentuate the expressiveness of the faces and attitudes.

    –       The imbalance of the twisted bodies to the serene fidíacas positions is preferred.

    –       The drama of expressions to the calm faces.

    –        The ugliness of monsters; threatening the classical beauty.

    –        More rich points of view,

    –        It increases the monumentality and variety of the thematic utilizes.  

    –        It tends to the barroquización of the sculpture.

    –       Now the sculptors are more anonymous, they are working by schools.

    –       It tends to the barroquización of the sculpture.

    Triumph of realism, portrait

    They are going to play the individual features of the individual by what realism progresses in portraits, scrawny, sincere and deep psychological penetration.

    • The school of Alexandria, the allegories: Liked for allegories, as that of The Nile (represents the River as a human figure, surrounded by other elements who identify them).

    • The school of Pergamum, large compositions: Their great and heroic compositions of pathetic strength and great emotional intensity, as the one of the monument of Atalo (to commemorate the victory over the Gaul’s, some of them are preserved exempt highly realistic figures; (you can even clearly identify their racial traits).

    • The Reliefs of Pérgamo “Altar of Zeus” are famous; the masterpiece of this type of sculptures. The way that the effects of pain and effort are made to carve the anatomy show the masterly and skills of the artist, the theme is struggling between the gods and the Giants; “the Gigantomachy”.


    The school of Rhodes, colosalismo and movement: They like the colossal and gigantic, knotty and expressive movement, especially the gestures of the faces in pain.




    – The Colossus of Rhodes (giant sculpture at the entrance of the port of Rhodes, under which passed the ships, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world).

    – The Barberini Faun (from an extreme realism) the Winged victory of Samothrace (with folded wings and the body forward, defying the wind, showing a great masters in the study of the clothes, which are made transparent to stick to the body because of the wind).

    Set of Laocoonte (HagesandrosPolydoros and Athenodoros, famous for its expressiveness and the representation of pain through the anatomy in tension by physical exertion, summary of the Hellenistic Baroque, represents the punishment given to this Trojan priest by doubt of the Trojan horse, killing both him and his children with the sea snakes).

    – The sculptural set of the Toro Farnese (done by Apollonios and Taurisci, represents the moment in which the sons of Antiope decide to punish Dirce, who had cruelly treated his mother, dragging a bull to death).

    Athens: Highlights the sculptor Apollonius, with works of extreme realism, showing the Hellenistic departure from the classical ideals of the centuries V and IV B.C.

    The female nude: Now time of splendor of the item. The beauty of the female form is expressed with soft, sensual positions that accentuate feminine curves, has been observed detail in the hair and clothing and in the fall of the folds.


    1. Aphrodite Milo (mutilated, one of the most beautiful and famous          

    2. Vibrissa Aphrodite (success in Hellenism item).


    Gender issues

    • The child of the oca,
    • The wrestlers (athletic scene that captures the moment of maximum stress).
    • The old woman drunk.
    • Spinario (boy removing a thorn after a sports test.
    • The lying hermaphrodite.
    • The subject of children was very successful in this period.



    Funerary steles



    • They were frequently decorated with beautiful reliefs in a quiet tone.
    • Not exaggerated attitudes or convulses body pose.  
    • Males appear to walk in pensive attitude.
    • Women are always seated, with a dove or observing their personal objects.
    • The decoration of the relief intent to produce the sensation of 3 d images or exempt sculptures.
    • The figures show attitude of observation and pensive poses in accordance with the seriousness of the funerary thematic purpose.  
    Sculptures apply to the buildings







  • Mycenaean Art.

    Mycenaean Vase



    Mycenaean art

     The Mycenaean civilization art arose around the year 1600 BC, compared to the pacific and joyously Minoan Culture was of quite solemn nature and beligerant tendencies. These two cultures formed the basis of which was latter the Greek Civilization.  Is necessary to study this culture to better understand the archaic period of Greek art. The history and legends of the Mycenaean people has come to us by the writings left behind by the Greek poet Homer (c. 750 BC) among other chronics that made also references about them. In those cronics is told that they became the dominant culture of the island; been their influence evident in all artistic manifestations discovered in Mycenae in the Peloponnese region which ruins and ancient artifacts give us today a glance about the interesting life and culture of this civilization. 



    Mycenaean Cultures develop takes place in the age of bronze of the Greek peninsula and succeeded the ancient Minoan culture of Crete. Although the Mycenaean and Greek cultures were two separate entities, they occupied the same lands, successively. The archeological studies made in those territories confirm the differences between them as been to complete separate culture after for many years was considered only one.

    Mycenae was a society with hierarchies; the figure of the King was the Supreme exponent of the political and economical power control. The Mycenae or Achaeans, as they called themselves were a fundamentally warrior people whom were also highly specialized in the development of techniques to elaborate weapons, arrows, long sword and armor with sheets of metal and teeth of wild boar helmets (with strength and durable characteristic intended for personal protection in the fight).


     They created architectural elements including cyclopean masonry and “Beehive” tombs, were great engineers who designed and built remarkable bridges. Likewise stands the construction of enormous strengths of stones placed one on top of each other without mortar, which protected their palaces and buildings in general with those asthonished walls.



    The Mycenaean cities were built  on top of the hills surrounded by these walls mentioned. This factor contributed to succesfully give them advantages from the  strategic point of view. Their buildings were not complex in structure though since they were constructed ssentially destined for practical use. Were built around a central megaron (an architectural form consisting of a porch, vestibule, and large hall with a central hearth) functioned as the king’s audience chamber as well.

    The structural design they use was an earlier element of Helladic architecture.The Greek learned later from this previous culture, how to build gates and tombs amount other architectural construction techniques. From their architecture are remaining the Lion Gate, and the Treasury of Atreus as two example of a Tholos tomb.


    Pottery artisans and jewelry

    Mycenaean were impressive potters themselves and prodigious goldsmiths as well; they developed a simply functional ceramics; beautifully decorated with geometric motifs which applied also in the elaboration of objects for personal use. They widely used the gold (for which had special predilection), reached a high degree of mastery in the use of different other techniques and materials as well like bronce and other alloys.


    Mask Mycenae in polychromatic limestone


    They assimilated elements of the previous culture (Minoan) especially in the artisanal part with naturalistic elements like flowers or animal representation principally seen in the first stage. Are supposed that Etruria’s artisans worked for the Mycenaeans leaving their mark in the pottery and jewels.




    Some of their inventions to develop the various objects for everyday life use were extraordinary. They make as well luxury items, such as carved gems, jewelry, vases in precious metals, and glass ornaments showing remarkable skills and attention to details resulting in formidable pieces. Many of them marvel us today for their beauty making us wander how in such remote times they could reach that mastery with pretty much rudimentary utensils and tools. They were skilled traders also carrying wine, oils and spices all over the region along many other objects of their own creation been respected and even afraid since they were fierce warriors.




    The fragments of Mycenaean paintings found in Tiryns, Pylos and Greece, represent what is presumed were impressive murals both Mycenaean and Minoan. These paintings were not the frescos type as traditionally has been known by the Egyptians murals, in this case the Mycenaean elaborate theirs by applying paint to tempera on dry plaster as well.


    pintura micenica


    Topics of Mycenaean murals include everyday life event and depictions of war scenes as well of hunting, sacrifices representations, processions, mythology and legend and of course reference to nature since they inherited this inclination from the Minoan. Their scene representation do not care particularly for the spatial order been however pretty stereotyped. They represent the figures over an essentially plain background; like is they were cut off or outlined over that background.





    Not much is known about the religious practices of the Mycenaean and that include the name of their Gods. It things though that Poseidon was a popular deity. Other Gods included:


    –          The Lady of the Labyrinth.


    –          Diwia (Sea Goddess)


    –          Zeus.                                   


    –          Hera.


    Fresco from one of the rooms inside the Cult House at Mycenae
    Fresco from one of the rooms inside the Cult House at Mycenae.

    –          Ares.                                   


    –          Hermes


    –          Athena.


    –          Artemis.


    –          Dionisos.


    –          Erinya.


    The scarce temples or shrines remaining where religious practices might have been performed don’t say much about the insight of their religious believes. Has been assuming all rituals took place on open ground or in sanctuaries high in the mountains although for the lack of evidence these are only assumptions. Nevertheless it is know that the Minoans had a strong influence on most of the religious rituals practiced by the Mycenaean.

    The Mycenaean civilization collapsed around 1100 BC. Its final marked the end of the age of bronze in Greece. It was followed by a period of one hundred to one hundred fifty years called ‘dark age’, of which very little is known. When the prehistory ends; it begins the period of recorded history. This fact marks a very important milestone in the development of the evolution of human communities and their awareness as cultural entities.


    Woman and Child. Mycenaean statue
    Woman and Child. Mycenaean statue












  • Prehistoric Art. Paleolithic.


    Paleolithic  Art (old stone)

    30,000-10,000 B.C


    Human beings at this time were strictly hunter-gatherers, which mean that they were constantly on the move in search of food. They were also egalitarian, which meant that both women and men enjoyed similar freedoms. The art was portable or stationary, and both of these art forms were limited in scope. Paleolithic period observe a considerable period of times in the history of man, Artistic skills develop by those ancient people constitute the base of all the future techniques applied in the history of art later.

    Trying to characterize the art of a period covering most of human history is not an easy task since Paleolithic art intricately is subordinate to the archaeological and anthropological studies made by professionals in the attempt to compile and get to know the greater amount of information.



    Portable art in Paleolithic period

    This type of art could be move or transport. During the period of the upper Paleolithic art was necessarily small and portable objects, mainly consisted of figurines or small decorated objects. These objects were carved (in stone, bone or horn) or modeled with clay or elaborated from wood.

    We will refer to the majority of portable art from this time as figurative, whether what was depicted was an animal or a human figure.

    The figurines found are often mentioned by the name of “Venus”, which are unmistakably figures suggesting pregnant females with protuberance of sexual and reproductive organs.

    Perforate stick. Paleolithic Art.



    Stationery Art in paleolithic period

    Stationery art was precisely that: it does not move. The best examples that exist are found in the cave paintings in Western Europe created during the Paleolithic period. These paintings were made from combinations of minerals and mixing then using for the wed base the internal substance of bones and carbon, blood and fat of animals and  sap from the trees. The pigments obtained and mixed with the wed base were applied to the surface of the cave wall. 

    It has been statement (and is only an assumption) that these paintings served as some sort of ritual or magical propitiatory purpose, they are far from the entrance of the caves in which everyday life was carried out. The cave paintings not only contain figurative art, which means that many elements are more symbolic than realistic. The exception clearly, here, is the representation of animals, which are vividly realistic (human are represented, on the other hand with simple stroke of  lines like a stick or stake form) .

    There is a  curious element in these caves paint’s , you could figure that been done in the darks places of this natural rock formations should be there traces of smoke of torches, but there is no present of this type of stains, which gave rise to an investigation by specialists to know how they were able to create these paintings in the darkness and from where did they get the necessary light.

    Remains of kind of candles or primitive lanterns were found in those caves that used animals fat that do not produce toxic and burn slowly, that’s why smoke or grease traces of black soot on the surface of the walls or ceiling of the caves are not present.

    The Lascaux painting in France shows that they used almost exclusively black, yellow and red pigments in those caves, had not been found any blue or green pigments, as neither the use of white pigment despite being a natural substance of whitish color here in abundance.



    prehistoric paleotithic cave painting


    In cave painting; first  man mark the outline of the figures with a rudimentary carving tool made from stone fragments. they remarked later the contours in black. Pulverized pigments obtained from plants and mixed with animal fat and marrow with organic substances properties are later applied . The application of color was done directly on the figure, using fingers, rough brushes and spatulas. The moisture of the rock would provide the necessary adhesion. This can be considered as a foretaste of what would later be the technique of fresco. The lack of light in the caves and a constant humidity help  to its preservation for centuries. They are in a very good condition considering the time in which they were created.

    Important cave painting examples are located in:

    France: Chauvet, Cosquer, Cussac, Font-de-Gaume, Lascaux, Les Combarelles, Les Trois-Freres, Niaux, and Rouffignac.

    Spain: Altamira.

    Although there are some others 300 to 400 sites that have been documented. All of them provided rich information one way or another about this painting techniques, thematics and level of skills reach by this ancient artist. 


    Principal characteristic of Paleolithic art period 


    The Paleolithic Venus in stone carvings were made in small size and easy to carry.

    Predominant representation of animals in the painting.

    The only human figure were outlines with a simple stroke resembling stakes.

    The use of rituals and dances to promote favorable climatic conditions and other circumstances of welfare such as healing the sick.

    Paintings with limited color range using several methods predominantly the use of hands for the application of the paint as well as coarse brushes and rudimentary stakes.

    Use of the forms of protruding rocks to give a feeling of depth and relief.