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Artistic Themes from Ancient Cultures: Greece and Rome – Essay Sample

Artistic Themes from Ancient Cultures: Greece and Rome – Essay Sample

Greek and Roman art has inspired decades of artistic exploration and creativity. Essential themes of these ancient styles have saturated the art world since their inception, providing the backbone for some of the world’s most amazing artistic achievements. So, what were some of the main ideas behind the old world’s Greek and Roman masterpieces? What were some of the main subjects and concepts that littered Greek and Roman art?

First of all, Greek and Roman art only came in several forms. The most well-known style of art employed by the ancient greats was architecture. Many architectural achievements in ancient Greece and Rome still affect building structure and design today. Other avenues for artists include sculpture, ceramics, jewelry and painting.

Art in both of these ancient cultures was influenced heavily by three factors. The first was government and military conquest; many prized pieces in arts are dedicated to Roman emperors, generals and legendary battles that were considered monumental to ancient people. Other historical scenes or events also worked their way into the Greek and Roman arts. The second factor was eroticism. Both Roman and Greek cultures were primarily fascinated with naked figures, fertilization and sexual interaction – especially when it regarded their deities. This type of art often included a sub-group focusing on athletes, which were renowned in both cultures. The last factor affecting this kind of ancient art was religion, which involved multiple gods, dozens of legends and numerous other mythic figures and tales. Individual, major themes can be determined by examining each art form. The following concepts were most prominent in these Greek and Roman styles:

  • Architecture: curved arches, durability, use of terracotta.
  • Painting: figures, portraits, animals, mythology, eroticism.
  • Sculpture: figures (mythic, religious and governmental) and eroticism.
  • Jewelry: gold, silver, agate, emeralds, brooches.
  • Ceramics: vases, silhouettes, figures, geometric designs.

Other major themes prevalent in Roman and Greek art include: enactments or scenes from legends; animal hunts; everyday scenes; beautiful women; Olympic and athletic games and festivals. There are other avenues of art in ancient Greek and Roman culture that are not as prominent as others. Roman art, for example, focused seriously on mosaic work using pottery materials, gemstones and some glasswork to produce massive scenes in palaces and temples.

Greek and Roman art has influenced artistic movements and styles in cultures around the world. From Europe to Japan, evidence of these art themes can be seen in many different artistic disciplines. These ancient styles are, without doubt, some of the most important movements in art history.

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