The Impact Of Hellenism Essay Sample
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on Greek and Roman Sculpture and Painting
After the death of Alexander the Great it was started the new era of the art. This art was called the Hellenistic, because the local traditions and schools of Ancient Greece largely imitated the generally recognized Hellenistic style. As far as it can be judged according to some sources, the value of art in the Hellenistic period was very high. Unfortunately, the works of painting were mostly destroyed. However it is possible to understand the idea of the painting of the Hellenistic period through the use of the mosaics due to their strength and with the help of the copies of the Roman period in Pompeian houses (Boardman, Griffin and Murray).
According to the surviving copies and descriptions of paintings, the character of the images in Hellenistic painting was similar to the images of the sculptures. Like sculpture, the painting enriched with the new genres, including the genre art and the landscape. In Hellenistic painting it was occurred the deviation from the compositional techniques, which reminded the techniques of the sculptural relief to the more vital and more convincing rendition of nature and the real environment. It was appeared the promising attempts to construct the objects and space, and the color design was enriched and complicated (Pollitt).
The conditions of the Hellenistic era largely contributed to the flourishing of arts and crafts. The problems of the artistic decoration of palaces and rich houses, which incurred before the masters, were typical for the era of the striving for the decorating of the everyday life and were the reasons for the creation of a large number of works of applied art such as the works of toreutics and glyptic. The nobility and beauty of these works, the perfection of their technical performance classified them to range of the remarkable monuments of the Hellenistic art (Charbonneaux, Villard).
The outstanding achievements of Hellenistic art in ancient Greece arose in the struggle of progressive artistic movements with the antirealistic flows. These trends were manifested in various forms - in the external representation and theatrical images, the predominance of these elements in conventional idealization in terms of naturalism, finally, in slavish adherence to the canons deadened and conditional styling. Relatively mild expressed in the early Hellenistic period, these negative traits have become to be the predominant in its later period, in an atmosphere of the ideological impoverishment of art (Boardman, Griffin and Murray).
Among all the fine arts of the Ancient civilizations, the art of Ancient Greece, in particular, its sculpture, occupies a very special place. Nowhere else sculpture did not rise to such heights - nowhere more people were so valued as in the ancient Greek civilization (Charbonneaux, Villard).
Grandiosity and intimacy are the opposite traits; Hellenistic art is full of contrasts - the giant and miniature, ceremonial and everyday, allegorical and natural. The world has become more complex, diverse aesthetic needs. The main trend was a departure from the generalized human type to the understanding of man as a concrete, individual, and hence, the increasing attention to his psychology, interest in participating, and a new national vigilance, age, social and other signs of personality. However, as all this was expressed in the language inherited from the classics, which did not set out such tasks, the innovative works of the Hellenistic era are characterized by some non-organic, they do not reach the integrity and harmony of its great forerunners (Pollitt).
As well as archaic Greek art should not be judged only as the first harbingers of classics, thus, the Hellenistic art in general can not be considered as a late echo of classics, underestimating of fundamentally new that it has brought. This new was associated with the expansion of the horizon of art, and its inquisitive interest in the human personality and specific realities of its life (Boardman, Griffin and Murray). Hellenistic artists, even making portraits of people who have long been dead, gave them a psychological interpretation and sought to identify the uniqueness and the external and internal appearance.
Thus, the features of the social and spiritual life of the era affected the art of sculpture and painting. In the Hellenistic period, for painters and sculptors there were no rigid aesthetic standards, they sought to convey the purely human feelings in the face and figure (Charbonneaux, Villard). The masters turned their interest towards the personality, emotions, which determined the main features of the art of sculpture of the time - its dynamics and expressiveness. Sculptors could excite the audience with their works and found the appropriate art forms for this.
Greek sculptors under the influence of Hellenism provided the world with the works, which caused the admiration of many further generations. Hellenistic sculpture of ancient Greece was rightly considered as a model, an ideal, a canon for centuries and now it does not cease to be recognized as a masterpiece of the world classics (Pollitt).
Roman culture, in its turn, was developed under the direct influence of the culture of the Hellenistic Greeks. In Ancient times the Greeks settled on the coast of the Peninsula and the island of Sicily, so the Italians had the closest contacts with their lifestyle and culture. Especially it was grown the influence of Hellenism on Roman art after the Roman conquest of the Balkan Peninsula (II century BC).
When the Romans conquered all the countries in which Greek was dominated, they in turn were conquered by the culture of Greeks and were the agents of it in the Western world. Thanks to Rome, Greek culture and Greek art of the Hellenistic period become the common heritage of all the peoples of the Mediterranean Sea (Cheeke).
Hellenization of Romans was not done immediately, and not always was as a result of direct contact with the Greeks. Up to the IV century BC, Rome had the character of the completely Etruscan town; the Hellenistic culture touched it only insofar as the Etruscans were cultural, depending on the Greeks (Winn). When the Romans in the III-II centuries BC become to be the political masters of the Mediterranean, they became to be in direct contact with the Greek manners and customs; only the ancient Etruscan and Oscan culture fought the penetration of Greek culture for a long time.
However, in the last century BC, this fight ended by the dominance of Hellenism in Rome and the Roman Empire. From that time, the best aspects of Greek art were concentrated in Rome, where to the time of the Empire it was developing the national art, which so far was called Roman just because it embodied the Roman subjects while remaining completely the Greek style.
Having captured the Greek city-states, the Romans had been brought into the city almost all the works of art, which they had immersed on ships. In addition, the fact that they made a lot of more or less successful copies of sculptures of Lysippos, Praxiteles, Scopas and other Greek artists and tried to create similar art works (Winn).
The most significant was the influence of the Greek tradition in the field of sculpture. Romans willingly copied the Hellenistic designs. In most cases, exactly these Roman copies of Greek were survived instead the originals. However, many of them can be called Roman only conditionally: mainly Greek masters worked in the sculpture studios of Rome (Winn).
Roman artists were original only in one thing - in the creation of the individual sculptural portraits, accurately conveying the inner world of man. The traction to the reflection of personality, emotions of the specific person completely manifested itself in the Hellenistic period. However, in the era of empire the individual portrait sculpture reached its perfection. Roman art sculpture reached a surprising realism: if the Greeks sought to portray the ideal, then the Romans tried to convey the most accurately the features of the original. The eyes of many statues to achieve the naturalistic are made of the colored enamel. Roman portrait is a history of Rome, told in the faces of the real people (Cheeke).
Painting. Fine Art of Roman Empire absorbed the achievements of all the conquered lands and peoples. Palaces and public buildings were decorated with the murals and paintings, which were the main storyline episodes of Greek and Roman mythology, as well as landscape sketches. During the period of the empire, the special attention was characteristic for the portrait sculpture, a characteristic feature of which was the exceptional realism in the transfer features of the face (Cheeke). Many works of sculpture were perfectly made in the classic Greek and Hellenistic art. Especially common type of art was the mosaic art and processing of precious metals and bronze (Pollitt).
In the painting, where the Romans also proved themselves as zealous disciples of the Greeks, they showed more originality than in sculpture. Unfortunately, the painting is less durable than the sculpture, so the samples of the first preserved less than the examples of the second. An exception it should be considered the murals, discovered by archaeologists in the houses of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Rome (Charbonneaux, Villard).
They are characterized by the pleasant and vivid colors, freedom of brushwork, demonstrates the tremendous talent of Roman artists. Rome was distinguished by the portrait art. Roman painting, starting directly from the Greek samples, used various opportunities for the plastic images: color and aerial perspective, light and shadow as the illusion of space. Artists often depicted the scenes from everyday life (Winn).
In summary, we can say that the art of the Hellenism of Ancient Greece and the art of the Ancient Rome, which was formed on the basis of Hellenism, gave the world the incredible beauty and perfection of the sculpture and painting works. Hellenism created in ancient Greece a new level of art, the base of which was the man with his emotions and feelings. The art of Ancient Rome was built on the basis of Hellenistic art, which enabled it to start its own development with a high level. And in all the sculptures and paintings of ancient Rome it can be seen the imprint of Hellenism, through which all works of art become the masterpieces.
Boardman, John, Jasper Griffin, and Oswyn Murray. The Oxford Illustrated History Of Greece And The Hellenistic World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. Print.
Charbonneaux, Jean, Roland Martin, and François Villard. Hellenistic art (330-50 B.C. New York: G. Braziller, 1973. Print.
Cheeke, Stephen. 'Romantic Hellenism, Sculpture And Rome'. Word & Image 25.1 (2009): 1-10. Web.
Pollitt, J. J. Art in the Hellenistic age. Cambridge Cambridgeshire New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986. Print.
Winn, Myrle. 'The Impact Of Hellenism On Rome'. Web. 4 Apr. 2015.
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