Greek Sculptures
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Zeus Greek God video

The Ancient Greeks loved people and knew that they were a very important part of life and culture.

They wanted to use people in their artwork and doing sculptures was just one way of showing their love for the human.

Gods and Goddesses

The gods and goddesses of Ancient Greek were important to all aspects of life and the Ancient Greeks would make statues of these gods and goddesses.

The gods and goddesses were seen in human form and so artists of Ancient Greek times found it to be a very important job to sculpt these gods and goddesses so that they could worship them in the cities, temples and during festivals.

Zeus

Human Body

Since the Greeks saw art as important, they were always making sculptures, but what they saw as more important was the human body.

The Greeks knew that there was a difference between gods and people, but the human body was considered sacred.

Differences

The sculpture would make different sculptures of people and gods and the gods would always be different than the regular humans.

If a sculpture made a sculpture of a Greek god or goddess, the sculpture would be much bigger and more detailed than if the sculpture decided to make a statue of an Olympic champion or of a government worker.

Greek Sculpture

Hellenistic Period

It was during the Hellenistic Period that sculpting was the most important.  There would be sculptures and statues that would be all over the towns and they would normally be tall and free-standing.

Materials

Different materials would be used to make sculptures and some of them would be made from bronze or from marble.

Bronze was the favorite material to use for a long time because it was stronger and would stand easier.

When artists began making smaller statues and sculptures, they began to use different materials.  Some of the artists made terracotta figurines which were ceramic.

Marble

Marble was easy to get to and was found in different cities close to Ancient Greece.  Since marble and bronze were so easy to get, many of the statues were made of these materials.

Marble was easy to form and easy to use and so when making sculptures, the Ancient Greek artist would often use this material.

Most of the time when marble was used, wood would be used as well to make the clothing of the sculpture.

Marble statue of Aphrodite

Bronze

Bronze was also another material that was easy to use.  Not only was bronze easy to use, it was more expensive and would give the artist more money.

The bronze was very valuable and not many of the bronze statues from Ancient Greece have survived.

Other Materials

Other materials that were sometimes used in sculpting was plaster, stucco, limestone, wood, bronze and marble.

Wealthier people might ask for their sculptures to be made out of gold.  Some of the sculptures were given jewelry to wear and they had holes to attach the jewelry.

Most of the statues were painted with bright colors and they only look white because the colors faded over the years.

Sculptures and statues that were preserves can still show some of their coloring.

Time Periods

There were three major time periods where sculpturing was the most important form of art.  There were different statues that were popular during these times such as the terracotta figurines and small sculptures.

Archaic Period

Sculptures during the Archaic Period were mostly made of stone.  Most of them were free standing and would look like humans.  Male and females were sculpted, and they had distinctive looks.

Classical Period

The Classical Period had a change of sculptures and during this time, the sculptures became more natural.  Even though the statues had always shown real people, during this period, they looked more normal and had better qualities.

Statues and sculptures were made more than in other periods and it was a time when the statues and sculptures were put into buildings and temples and when they would be outside of different buildings as decorations.

Hellenistic Period

During the Hellenistic Period, there were different cultures that were being seen in Greece and so this brought a period of change to the way the statues were made.

Statues were made of children, moms, women, dads, people, animals and different scenes.

Wealthy people would buy sculptures so they could put them in their garden and decorate their homes

Figures of people were made, and they did not sculpt them perfect, but made the sculptures realistic.

Gods and heroes had sculptures made of them and they were seen all over the towns and in the temples.

Facts About Ancient Greek Sculptures:

  • One of the most famous sculptures was called “Statue of Zeus at Olympia.” This statue was found in Athens.
  • The statues of gods and goddesses were worshiped by the people.
  • Terracotta figures were very large, larger than most statues.
  • Gems were used to decorate the statues.
  • Artists would sculpt gods, goddesses, mythical creatures, people and even figures from books.

What Did You Learn?

  1. Was sculpting an important part of Ancient Greece?  Yes!  Artists loved to sculpt people, gods and characters.  These were very important in Greek culture.
  2. What were terracotta figures? Terracotta figures were extremely large figures that were carved.
  3. What were some materials that were used in sculptures? Sculptures used marble, bronze, gold, gems, plaster and more.
  4. Why did artists use marble and bronze? Artists of Ancient Greece used marble and bronze because it was easy to mold, and it was easy to get.
  5. How did the statues change over the different periods? The statues became more realistic as times changed.