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Lecture 6

HISTART 2001 Lecture 6: OSU [HISTART2001] Western Art 1 Lecture Notes: Greek Athens

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History of Art
Karl Whittington

Greek Athens Answer these questions: -How did the Athenians respond to the destruction of their city by the Persians in 480 BCE? In what ways was the Acropolis a “retrospective” or “memorial” site? ● At first, the Athenians were unsure what to do with the site of the acropolis when the Persians destroyed it. It remained in ruins for around 20-30 years until the political leader Pericles convinced the Athenians to rebuild it. ● The fortification wall on the Acropolis re-used columns from the earlier, destroyed temples on the site→ way of memorializing the previous site ● Used the dimensions from the Old Temple of Athena for the “proportions”/dimensions of the new buildings on the site; way to honor the old temple -What are the primary areas of decoration on the Parthenon? What kind of imagery was represented? How were ideas of “the other” constructed? ● Doric metopes & Ionic friezes decorated with relief sculpture ○ (south side) Depicted battle of Lapiths and centaurs, a combat in which Theseus of Athens played a major role ○ Triumphant centaur rises up on its hind legs, exulting over the crumpled body of the Greek it has defeated ○ In other metopes, the Greeks have the upperhand over the centaurs ■ Full set suggests that the battle was a difficult one against a dangerous enemy and that both losses and victories occurred. The same was true of the war against the Persians. ○ Inner Ionic Frieze: represents the Panathenaic Festival procession that took place every four years in Athens→ another example of the extraordinarily high opinions the Athenians had of their own worth (that they thought they were fit to be included in this elaborate temple) ● 2 pediments filled with larger-than-life-size statues ○ East pediment depicted the birth of the Goddess Athena ○ West pediment depicted the contest between Athena and Poseidon to determine which one would become the city’s patron deity. Athena won, giving her name to the polis and its citizens ● Much of the decorations would have been painted with brilliant pigments ● Sculptures and decorations convey a number of political and ideological themes ● Statue of Athena: made of gold and ivory; nearly 40 ft tall; fully armed with shield, spear, and helmet; held Nike, symbol of victory→ representing victory of 479 BCE; she also was depicting symbols of civilization over barbarism, triumph of order over chaos, of Athens over Persia -What are the primary architectural features of a Greek temple? How did its form reflect its function? ● Well-spaced columns, slender shafts, capitals with straight-sided conical echinuses ● Thought-out, “beautiful” proportions ● Harmonious design; mathematical precision of design ● Typically made of
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