The Lady of Auxerre: What is the Story Behind Her Archaic Smile?

The Lady of Auxerre: What is the Story Behind Her Archaic Smile?

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Elegant and alluring, the Lady of Auxerre has drawn in archaeologists and art enthusiasts alike. Her origins, probably on ancient Crete, provide an added element of interest. Was the female form depicted in this figure divine or terrestrial? Much mystery still surrounds this fascinating artifact.

While it is believed the Lady of Auxerre may have had her origins on Crete, Auxerre is a city in France. Currently there is neither any information of the statuette’s provenance, nor its journey to the city’s museum from Greece. In fact, the Lady of Auxerre would have even remained unknown if it had not been discovered by a curator of the Louvre Museum during the early 20th century. It has since been determined that the Lady of Auxerre is quite a significant piece of art, as it is one of the finest examples of the ‘Daedelic’ style of Greek sculpture.

So-called Lady of Auxerre, a female statuette in the Daedalic style. Limestone with incised decoration, formerly painted, ca. 640–630 BC, made in Crete? (Jastrow/ CC BY 2.5 )

Unconventional Use for Ancient Artwork

In 1907, a curator of the Louvre Museum by the name of Maxime Collignon was sorting through the objects in the storage vault of the Auxerre Museum when he came across the Lady of Auxerre. It was decided that the statuette be named after the city, as records concerning its provenance, or the circumstances under which it arrived in the city were non-existent. Apparently, the Lady Auxerre was part of a collection belonging to a French sculptor during the 19th century.

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After that, it was sold to a porter of an Auxerre theater for a franc. According to local tradition, the statuette was utilized as a stage prop for an operetta, as well as a hat stand for theater-goers. At some point of time, the statuette was acquired by the city’s museum and was kept in its storage vault.

Emanating Daedelic Style

The Lady of Auxerre is made of limestone, and measures about 65 cm (25.59 inches) in height (making it a one-third life-size statuette). This statuette is believed to have been created during the 7th century BC, and due to its excellent preservation (excluding the left side of its face, the majority of which is missing), the Lady of Auxerre has been hailed as one of the best examples of the Daedelic style. This style is named after Daedalus, the legendary Greek craftsman reputed to have been the first sculptor.

The Daedalic style flourished during the 7th century BC, during which Greek art was influenced by that of its Eastern Mediterranean neighbors. Hence, this phase of ancient Greek history is also known as the ‘Orientalizing period’.

A modern, painted plaster cast of the Lady of Auxerre at the Classics dept. at the University of Cambridge. (Neddyseagoon/ CC BY SA 3.0 )

Outside and Local Influence on the Appearance of the Lady of Auxerre

The influence of Near Eastern art can be amply seen in the Lady of Auxerre. For instance, although the back of the statue is carved as well, the primary focus is on its front, as it was meant to be viewed from this angle. The statuette’s face, which is an inverted triangle, with the chin rounded off in a U-shape, as well as its hair / wig (which resembles that of ancient Egyptian art) have also been pointed out as reminiscent of Near Eastern art.

Nevertheless, local elements can be detected in this sculpture too. The Lady of Auxerre’s dress is that of the ancient Cretan type, and its similarity with that of another Cretan sculpture, the Eleutherna Kore, has been noted. This has also led to the suggestion that the Lady of Auxerre may have originated in Eleutherna.

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Daedalic statue of a Kore, fragment, poros stone. Eleftherna, 7th century BC. Archaeological Museum of Heraklion. (Zde/ CC BY SA 4.0 )

What Was the Function of this Statuette?

Another mystery surrounding the Lady of Auxerre is its identity and function. Some have speculated that this statuette may have been meant to represent a goddess. This speculation is made based on comparisons with terracotta figurines of goddesses from the Near East, where a heavy emphasis is placed on their sexual attributes.

Others, however, have argued that the Lady of Auxerre was meant to represent a mortal woman, perhaps a devotee of a fertility cult, or if it were a votive offering, of the dedicator herself. The latter interpretation is supported by the statuette’s right hand, which, viewed from the front, is supposed to indicate a gesture of supplication.

Due to its importance, the Lady of Auxerre was moved from the Auxerre Museum to the Louvre in Paris, where it remains on display till today.

The Lady of Auxerre on display. (Harrison Hoffman/ CC BY SA 2.0 )

25 of the Most Famous Ancient Greek Statues and Sculptures

The ancient Greeks are legendary for many reasons their story-telling through mythology, for their twelve glorious gods, their esteemed philosophers, and their proud, brave warriors, but maybe we remember them most for their love of beauty.

Beauty, which the ancient Greeks honoured, by constructing some of the most amazing architectural wonders of the world, and beauty represented in spectacular, life-like statues and sculptures

Here are twenty-five incredible works of ancient Greek art, twenty-five of the most famous statues of ancient Greece where they originated, where and when they were discovered, and where they can be found today.

Throughout the three eras of Ancient Greek art Archaic (600 – 480 BC), Classical (480 – 323 BC) and Hellenistic (323 – 31 BC), three main materials were used Bronze, marble and chryselephantine (Gold and ivory on wood).

The main men, all great sculptors, back in the days of the ancients, were Myron (Active 480 – 444), Pheidias (Active 488 – 444), Polykleitos (Active 450 – 430), Praxiteles (Active 375 – 335) and Lysippos (Active 370 – 300).

25 famous ancient Greek statues, listed in chronological order, with the approximate date of their creation.

1. Lady of Auxerre (Kore of Auxerre) Around 650 – 625 BC

Auxerre Goddess limestone statuette
Louvre Museum, Paris

Now in the Louvre Museum, Paris, France

The Lady of Auxerre, mysteriously came to light in the storage vault of the Louvre Museum in 1907, where she came from and how she got there, nobody knows.

The Lady of Auxerre is a “kore”, meaning a young girl, a maiden, also another name for Persephone, daughter of Demeter in Greek mythology.

The male equivalent is “kouros” a youth, or young boy, these are free-standing figures, life-size or larger, and were often used as grave markers.

These figures, as were all ancient monuments and sculptures, were not originally as we see them today, but were brightly painted, the colours have worn away with the passage of time.

The Lady of Auxerre, a limestone, Cretan sculpture, 65 cm high (Unusually small for a kore), has a narrow waist, as did goddesses of the Minoan/Mycenaean era, and rigid, stiff hair, which shows an Egyptian influence

2. The Sacred Gate Kouros (Dipylon Kouros) Around 600 BC

Sacred Gate kouros Marble, ca. 600-590 BC
Archaeological Museum, Athens, Greece

Now in the Kerameikos Archaeological Museum, Athens, Greece

The Sacred Gate Kouros, 2.10 meters tall, made from Naxian (Naxos) marble, was unearthed in 2002, at the cemetery of Kerameikos, the potter’s quarter of ancient Athens, by the German Archaeological Institute in Athens.

The fact of the kouros being discovered near the sacred gate of the cemetery, a double gate, in Greek “dipylon” (along with other artifacts two marble lions, a sphinx and fragments of marble pillars), leads experts to assume it was the work of the “Dipylon” sculptor who worked at the cemetery.

3. Kleobis and Biton Around 580 BC

Kleobis and Biton
Delphi Archaeological Museum, Greece

Now in the Delphi Archaeological Museum, Greece

Found at Delphi, the navel of the world and the home to the Greek oracle, Pythia, in 1893 and 1894.

Kleobis and Biton, two larger than life (naked, except for boots), identical statues, made from Parian (Paros) marble.

Although found at Delphi, the statues originate from Argos in the Peloponnese and according to an inscription on the base, were made by Polymedes of Argos.

There are two stories to choose from, regarding their identity, both from Greek mythology.

Along with the name of the sculptor, the word “Fanakon” is inscribed on the base, meaning princes, the name usually given to Castor and Pollux, twin brothers, sons of Zeus, known as “dioscuri”, widely worshipped in the Peloponnese.

The second story has the statues named as Kleobis and Biton, the names under which they are displayed in the museum at Delphi, two human brothers, sons of the Cydippe, a priestess of the goddess Hera, at Delphi.

Cydippe, one day, is being pulled up a steep hill, by oxen and cart, to pray at the temple, the oxen drop dead on the spot, and being such good sons, Kleobis and Biton hitch themselves to the cart and proceed, with much effort, to drag their beloved mother up the steep hill.

The brothers make it to the temple at the top of the hill, where they collapse, exhausted, their mother prays to the goddess Hera, to allow them to die in their sleep, the kindest and easiest death for mere mortals.

4. Moschophoros (Calf – Bearer) Around 570 BC

Moschophoros- Calf-bearer
Acropolis Museum, Athens, Greece

Now in the Acropolis Museum, Athens, Greece

The Moschophoros is one of the earliest dedications found at The Acropolis of Athens, excavated in 1864, it is a “kouros” (Male youth) standing 1.65 meters high, made with marble from Mount Hymettus, Attiki. (The base is limestone)

An inscription on the base indicates that the statue was an offering to the goddess Athena, from Rhonbos, thoughts are that the bearded man, with a calf slung over his shoulder, is actually Rhonbos himself, bringing the calf to the Acropolis, to be sacrificed.

5. Peplos Kore Around 530 BC

The Peplos Kore
Acropolis Museum, Athens, Greece

Now in the Acropolis Museum, Athens, Greece

The Peplos “kore” (Young female or maiden) is a statue measuring 1.18 meters, found in three pieces, during excavations at the Acropolis, Athens, in 1886.

Made from Parian marble (Paros), this “Kore” takes its name from the “peplos”, a heavy woolen shawl worn in ancient Greece, which the young maiden is wearing.

Holes on the lower right arm, and bent left arm, suggest that maybe she once wielded a bow and arrow, or shield and helmet, holes in her head and shoulders, suggest she originally wore a bronze head decoration.

6. Kritios Boy (Ephebos Youth) Around 480 BC

Kritios Boy
Acropolis Museum, Athens, Greece

Now in the Acropolis Museum, Athens, Greece

The body of the Kritios Boy was found during excavations on the Acropolis Athens, in 1866, the head, twenty-three years later, when joined together, the statue stands 86 cm tall.

This statue, attributed to the sculptor Kritios, is one of the best examples of the shift from late archaic to early classical Greek style, when statues became less stiff and rigid, showing more natural movement, with them bearing their weight on one leg, rather than two, as in archaic style

7. The Fallen Warrior of the Temple at Aphaia Around 480 BC

The Dying Warrior, located at the pediment of the temple of Aphaia at Aegina.
East Pediment
Glyptothek, Munich Berlin

Now in the Glyptothek of Munich, Germany

The temple of Aphaia was built within a sanctuary on the island of Aegina, dedicated to the goddess Aphaia, the existing temple is maybe the second, or even third temple built on the site, the previous ones having been destroyed.

In 1811, English architect Charles Robert Cockerell and Baron Otto Magnus Von Stackberg, removed sculptures from the East and West pediments of the temple (Shades of Elgin from England here), and had them shipped abroad, where they were sold to the Crown Prince, soon to be Ludwig I of Hanover.

The sculptures taken from the temple of Aphai were of two warriors, felled in battle, who lay dying, the warrior from the West pediment had an arrow or spear lodged in his chest (Now missing), the warrior from the East pediment, is thought to be a later sculpture, both are thought to represent warriors from the Trojan Wars.

8. The Charioteer of Delphi Around 470 BC

The Delphi Charioteer. Delphi Archaeological Museum, Greece

Now in the Delphi Archaeological Museum, Greece

The Charioteer of Delphi, also referred to as the “Heniokhos” “The rein – holder”, was found in 1896 in the sanctuary of Apollo, Delphi, an excellent specimen of ancient bronze sculpture.

This is one of the best-known and best-preserved statues of ancient Delphi, thought to have been constructed to commemorate the victory of Polyzalus of Sicily at the Pythian Games.

The Delphi Charioteer, a young man wearing the customary jockey’s tunic of the day, the “xystin”, was originally part of a group, and only survived because it was buried under a rock fall at Delphi, and therefore escaped being taken away and melted down for its metal, as happened frequently in those days.

The charioteer, the last remaining bronze sculpture from Delphi, almost intact, still with its glass eyes and copper detailing on the eye lashes, is linked to the sculptor Pythagoras of Samos, who lived and worked in Sicily.

9. Zeus and Ganymede Around 470 BC

Zeus and Ganymede Terracotta Statue
Late Archaic Olympia Archaeological Museum

Now in the Archaeological Museum of Olympia, Greece

Zeus and Ganymede is a terracotta group depicting Zeus taking young Ganymede to Mount Olympus.

The first fragments of the group were uncovered in the stadium at Olympia in 1874 more pieces were found, at the same place in 1938.

The two figures, Zeus and Ganymede, depict a well-known scene from Greek mythology, where Zeus, upon seeing Ganymede (From ancient Troy), overcome by his beauty, tricked him, stole him from his father and took him to Mount Olympus.

10. The Riace Bronzes (The Riace Warriors) Around 460 BC

The Riace bronzes,
housed in the National Museum of Reggio Calabria

Now in the Museum Nazionale della Grecia , Reggio , Calabria.

I love this wonderful story of how the Riace Bronzes were discovered in 1972, by Stefano Mariottini, a chemist and amateur scuba diver.

Stefano, while out snorkeling, two hundred meters off the shore of Riace, Calabria, Italy, was shocked to spot what he thought was a human arm sticking out of the sea bed, thinking the mafia had been up to no good, Stefano called the police.

The police arrived on the scene, dug around a bit, realized they were dealing with something better than a dead body and called in the archaeologists, who were on the spot “Subito”, where they discovered two ancient Greek bronze statues, but no shipwreck.

The two statues, which differ in height by a few centimeters, labeled statue A and statue B are thought to have been made by separate sculptors statue A by Myron, a student of Pheidias, and statue B by Alkamenes.

At one time, they would have held spears.

Although discovered in 1972, the figures were not put on public display until 1981, in Florence and Rome where over 1000 000 flocked to see them in less than one year!

11. The Artemision Bronze (God from the Sea) Around 460 BC

The Artemision Bronze
National Archaeological Museum, Athens, Greece

Now in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens, Greece

The Artemision Bronze was pulled from the sea, in two pieces, off the Cape of Artemision (North Euboea- Evia, the second largest island after Crete) during excavations at the site of a Roman shipwreck in 1926 to 1928.

The statue, measuring 209 cm in height, portrays either Zeus or Poseidon (Neptune), Zeus would have held a thunderbolt, Poseidon a trident.

12. Discus Thrower (Discobolus) Around 460 BC

The Discobolus statue- Discus Thrower
National Museum of Rome

Now in the National Museum of Rome

The original bronze statue, the Discus Thrower, thought to be by Myron of Eleutherae, an Athenian sculptor who worked solely in bronze, best known for his representations of athletes, is unfortunately lost, but the piece is known from Roman copies.

The first copy of the famous statue, found on the property of Massimo family, at Villa Palombra on Esquiline Hill, in 1781, is the Palombara, or, Lancellotti Discobolus, made in the first century.

After restoration, the statue was installed in the family palazzo, and later, at the Palazzo Lancellotti.

In 1937 Adolph Hitler negotiated to buy the Discobolus statue, which he eventually did in 1938, sold to him by Galeazzo Ciano, Minister of foreign affairs, (After much protesting from the Italian people), for five million lire.

The statue was sent to Germany by train, and displayed in the Glyptothek, Munich.

The statue was returned to Italy in 1948 and is now displayed in the National Museum of Rome.

A second copy, The Townley Discobolus, was found at Hadrien’s Wall in 1770, and bought by an English art dealer, Thomas Jenkins at public auction in 1792, later it was bought by Charles Townley for four hundred pounds sterling, for the British Museum in 1805.

The Discus Thrower has now become an iconic image of the Olympic Games.

13. The Marble Metopes of the Parthenon (Part of the Parthenon Marbles) Around 447- 438 BC

Marble Metopes from the Parthenon, Acropolis, Athens, Greece
Now in The British Museum, London, England

Now in the British Museum, London, England, part of the Parthenon Marbles.

The Metopes of the Parthenon, were originally ninety two marble panels which enhanced the exterior of the Parthenon, part of the Doric Frieze, found on the Acropolis of Athens made by Pheidias, they are famous examples of classical Greek high-relief.

The metopes of the Parthenon, depicted scenes from ancient Greek mythology and in general, represented the triumph of reason over animal passion and chaos.

There were fourteen metopes on each of the Western, and Eastern walls, and thirty two on each of the Northern and Southern walls.

The fourteen metopes of the Eastern wall, were above the main entrance of the Parthenon, and show the final stages of the battle between the Giants and the Olympian gods which depict Zeus, a chariot ridden by Hera and Poseidon (Neptune) with his trident.

The metopes of the Southern wall show the battle of the Lapiths (An Aeolian tribe) against the Centaurs (Mythical creatures with the upper body of a man and lower body of a horse).

The metopes of the North wall show the Greeks at war with the Trojans, referred to as “The Sack of Troy”.

In 1687, a cannon ball hit the Parthenon, during an attack from the Venetians, destroying many of the metopes, only fourteen of the original 32 panels survive and are displayed in the Acropolis Museum.

Fifteen of the Metopes from the South wall were “removed” by Lord Elgin of England, and are now in the British Museum, London.

14. The Parthenon Marbles (Goddesses of the East Pediment of the Parthenon) Around 447 – 438 BC

The Partnenon Marbles
British Museum, London England

It saddens me awfully, to say that these unique marble sculptures, made by Pheidias, from the beautiful white marble of Penteli, which adorned the Parthenon on the Acropolis of Athens for thousands of years, are now in The British Museum, London, England.

From 1801 to 1812, Thomas Bruce Lord Elgin visited the Acropolis of Athens, (Oh that he never had!) which was under Ottoman occupation at the time, and proceeded to deface the pride of Athens, the Parthenon.

Elgin removed nearly half of the surviving sculptures twenty one figures from the East and West pediments and seventy five meters of the Parthenon Frieze were hacked from the walls of the majestic temple, and one of the six Caryatids was removed, much to the disgust of Lord Byron, who likened Elgin’s behavior to vandalism and looting.

Elgin had the stolen loot shipped to England, where he sold it to the British government in 1816, who handed it over to the British Museum.

The goddesses on the East pediment of the Parthenon, depict the birth of the goddess Athina, to the left is Helios, the sun god, rising from the sea, pulled by horses, next comes the only figure to have a head, Dionysus, and then Persephone and her mother. Demeter.

The central group Athena being born from the head of Zeus, when struck with an axe by Hephaistus is missing.

Still surviving are a group of three goddesses, possibly Hestia, Dione and her daughter, the moon goddess Selene.

15. Athena Parthenos (Athena the Virgin) Around 447 BC

Athena Parthenos (Phidias) – Greek classical period. National Archaeological Museum of Athens

The Athena Parthenos, by Pheidias, a huge statue of the goddess Athina, created from chryselephantine (Gold and ivory on wood), eleven and a half meters tall, housed in the Parthenon on the Acropolis of Athens, was removed by the Romans, and is now lost.

Ancient reproductions, such as the “Varvakeion Athena” a third century AD Roman copy, and the Lenormant Athena (Unfinished), from the second or third century AD, are displayed in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, Greece.

A large, modern copy by Alan LeQuire, sits in a reproduction of the Acropolis Parthenon, in Nashville, Tennessee.

16. Zeus at Olympia Around 435 BC

Statue of Zeus at Olympia. Evgeny Kazantsev (Digital artist)
This statue used to sit at 42 ft tall and was crafted beautifully out of precious stones, ebony and gold.

A giant sculpture of the ancient Greek god Zeus, lost and destroyed during the fifth century AD, was thirteen meters tall, the size of a four story building, and erected in the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, Greece.

This amazing sculpture was made by Pheidias (Who had also made the huge statue of Athena Parthenos), and reportedly took eight years to construct.

The Temple of Zeus was designed by Libon from Elis in 466- 456 BC, the site included a stadium, where the Olympic Games were held every four years, in honour of Zeus.

Pheidias’ workshop was found in 1954- 58, West of the Temple of Zeus.

The Zeus of Olympia, Zeus sitting on his throne, was commissioned by the Eleans, an ancient region in the Southern Peloponnese and consisted of ivory and gold panels, placed over cedar wood and embellished with ebony and precious stones it is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

No copy has ever been found, but details of the Zeus of Olympia, are know from word of mouth descriptions, passed down through generations of ancient Greeks, and from images of Zeus of Olympia, adorning ancient Greek coins.

What happened to this great Zeus, is not known, was it carried off to Byzantium by the Romans, and maybe later destroyed in the fire at the Palace of Lausus in 475 AD?

Or did Zeus perish in the fire at Olympia in 525 AD?

17. Marathon Youth (Ephebe of Marathon) Around 400 BC

The Marathon Youth. National Archaeological Museum of Athens, Greece

Now in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, Greece

The Marathon Youth is a bronze statue, found in 1925, in the Bay of Marathon in the Aegean Sea.

Most likely, the Marathon Youth was the winner of an athletic competition the style suggests the sculptor may have been connected to the school of Praxiteles.

18. Hermes of Praxiteles Around 400 BC

Hermes of Praxiteles Archaeological Museum of Olympia, Greece

Now in the Archaeological Museum of Olympia, Greece

Hermes of Praxiteles came to light during the excavations, in 1877, at the Temple of Hera, Olympia.

This giant 2.13 meter high statue, made from highly polished Parian (Paros) marble, made by the ancient Greek sculptor Praxiteles, shows the Ancient Greek myth of when Hermes takes the baby Dionysus to the Nysiades.

The Nysiades were, three, five or six Okeanid-nymphs of the mythical Mount Nysa, who are said to have reared Dionysus, and whose names are Cisseïs, Nysa, Erato, Eriphia, Bromia, and Polyhymno.

19. Aphrodite of Knidos Around 350 BC

The Colonna Venus – Aphrodite of Knidos
Museo Pio-Clementino, in the Vatican Museum

The statue Aphrodite of Knidos, one of the most famous works of Praxiteles, has not survived, maybe it was moved to the Palace of Lausus, Byzantium, by the Romans, which burned down in 474 BC, and was lost.

According to Pliny, Praxiteles of Athens, an ancient Greek sculptor, was commissioned to create a figure, as a cult statue, for a temple dedicated to the goddess Aphrodite, by the people of the island of Kos.

Praxiteles made two statues, one clothed (The unclothed one is the one that does not exist today) and one nude and presented both statues to the people of Kos, and bid them to take their pick.

The prudish citizens of Kos, shocked to the core, instantly rejected the nude statue and took the clothed figure.

The rejected nude figure was bought by the citizens of Knidos, an ancient city in South – West Asia Minor.

Famous for its beauty, the knidos Aphrodite, the first life-sized figure of a naked female, shows the goddess Aphrodite preparing for the ritual bath which restored purity (Not virginity).

To add to the gossip already surrounding the Knidos Aphrodite, Praxiteles is rumored to have used the courtesan Phryne as his model.

This often copied sculpture, also referred to as the Venus (Aphrodite) Pudica, (On account of her modestly having her hand over her halfpenny), “The Venus de Medici” or “The Capitoline Venus” and, despite being a cult statue became a tourist attraction, it is said even Aphrodite, after hearing all the hoo ha about the statue, came to see it for herself

The Patron of the Knidians, Nicomedes of Bythia, offered to pay off the huge debts that the city had chalked up, in exchange for the beautiful statue of Aphrodite, his offer was refused.

The most accurate copy of the Aphrodite of Knidos is the “Colonna Venus”, housed in the Museo Pio-Clementino, in the Vatican Museum.

20. The Motya Charioteer Around 350 BC

The Motya Charioteer. Photo from The Culture Concept Circle by Carolyn Mcdowal
Giuseppe Whitaker Museum, San Pantaleo island

Now in the Giuseppe Whitaker Museum, San Pantaleo island, 10km north of Marsala, Sicily .

The Motya charioteer was found in 1979, at Motya, an island off the West coast of Sicily.

The island of Motya, given its name Motya, (The name of a woman associated with Hercules in Greek mythology) by ancient Greeks, who had settled there for nearly four centuries, was initially inhabited by Phoenicians.

The Motya Charioteer, wearing the customary tunic, the “Xystis”, one of the first surviving classical sculptures of anywhere in the world, shows a victorious charioteer, made by a Greek sculptor living in Sicily.

21. The Victorious Youth (The Getty Bronze) Around 310 BC

The Victorious Youth. J. Paul Getty Museum, Pacific Palisades, California, USA

Now in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Pacific Palisades, California, USA

The ancient Greek, bronze statue of The Victorious Youth, was caught in the nets of a fishing trawler, in the Sea of Fano, on the Adriatic coast of Italy in 1964.

After a few “Under the counter” goings on, many offers and much competition from the Metropolitan Museum of art, The Victorious Youth was obtained for the Getty Museum in 1977.

22. The Winged Victory of Samothrace (Nike of Samothrace) Around 200 BC

The Winged Victory of Samothrace – Nike Of Samothrace
Louvre Museum, Paris, France

Now in the Louvre Museum, Paris, France

And now we come to one of the two most famous Ancient Greek sculptures of the whole world, one of the few surviving, original Hellenistic statues, not a Roman copy, (The other one being the Venus di Milo), the Winged Victory of Samothrace, or Nike of Samothrace, Nike Greek goddess of victory.

This is my personal favourite ancient Greek statue, which I am lucky to have seen in the Louvre Museum, Paris, where it dominates the Daru staircase, standing in all its glory, on the prow of a ship, at the entrance to the first floor.

The sculptor is unknown, but it is thought that Pythokritos of Lindos may be the talented man.

The statue, made from grey Thasian (Thasos) marble and white Parian (Paros) Marble, standing 2.44 meters tall and proud, not only honours the goddess Nike, but also a sea battle, maybe the Battle of Salamis, or the Battle of Actium.

The Winged Victory of Samothrace was discovered on the Greek island of Samothrace, then under Ottoman rule, in 1863, by the French consul amateur archaeologist, Charles Champoiseau, who sent the statue to Paris, where it stands since 1884 in the Louvre Museum.

A plaster replica stands in the museum at Samothrace, built on the spot where the original Winged Victory was discovered.

23. Laocoon and Sons (Laocoon Group) Around 200 BC

Laocoon and his Sons. Vatican Museum

Now in the Vatican Museum

The sculpture of Laocoon and his sons, was discovered during excavations in Rome in 1506, and was placed on public display in the Vatican Museum.

A near life-sized group of figures, over 2 meters in height, the sculpture depicts the Trojan Priest, Laocoon, with his twin sons Antiphantes and Thymbraeus, being attacked by two gigantic sea serpents.

Pliny credits the work, which at the time was in the palace of Emperor Titus, to three ancient Greek sculptors from the island of Rhodes Agesander, Athendoros and Polydoros.

Pliny was not sure though, if the statue is an original of the Hellenistic era, or if it is a copy of an earlier sculpture made in the “Pergamon Baroque” style, which emerged from the city of Pergamon in Greek Asia Minor (Modern day Turkey).

Laocoon, a priest of the god Apollo and son of Priam of Troy, is known, from Greek mythology, for angering Apollo by breaking his oath of celibacy and getting up to a bit of hanky panky in the Apollon Sanctuary, which resulted in the birth of his twin sons.

Is this why Apollo the sons of Laocoon, crushed to death by the serpents, leaving Laocoon alone to suffer, or is another version of the story the reason for the death of Laocoon and his sons, where Laocoon is a priest of Poseidon (Neptune), rather than Apollo, and is killed, along with his sons for warning the Trojans not to accept the Trojan horse from the Greeks?

Virgil describes this event in The Aeneid and gives Laocoon the famous line

“Do not trust the horse, Trojans. Whatever it is, I fear the Greeks even bearing gifts.”

This gave birth to the famous line

“Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.”

24. The Pergamon Altar Around 180-160

The Pergamon Altar. Pergamon Museum and Altes Museum (Both on Berlin’s Museum island), Germany

Now in the Pergamon Museum and Altes Museum (Both on Berlin’s Museum island), Germany

The Pergamon altar of Zeus, was a monument built on the Acropolis of the ancient city of Pergamon in Greek Asia Minor (Modern day Turkey)

The base of the altar was adorned with a relief, showing the battle between the Giants and the Olympian gods, known as the Gigantomachy.

n 1878 a German engineer, Carl Humann, began excavations on the Acropolis of Pergamon, and, after rather a lot of haggling with the Turkish government, it was agreed that all fragments of the frieze from the Pergamon Altar, found by Humann, would become the property of the Berlin Museums.

The pieces of ancient Greek sculpture were shipped to Germany, where they were reconstructed by a team of Italians and in 1930 were put on public view in the Pergamon Museum of Berlin.

It was announced in 2014 that the Pergamon exhibit would be will be closed for restoration, until around 2019-2020.

25. The Venus de Milo Around 130-100 BC

The Venus de Milo. Louvre Museum Paris, France

Now in the Louvre Museum, Paris, France

And here we are, the last of my chosen twenty five spectacular ancient Greek sculptures, it’s been a long haul, but what a one to finish with The Venus de Milo, maybe the most recognizable of all Greek statues!

The Venus de Milo, made from Parian (Paros) marble, standing 203 cm high, was discovered in 1820, inside a buried niche, in the ancient city of Milos, today the village of Tripiti, on the Aegean island of Milos, then under occupation of the Ottomans, by a Greek peasant, Georgos Kentrotas.

After agreeing to sell the statue to the French, Georgos became impatient when payment was not forthcoming and sold it to Nicholas Mourousi, a translator in Istanbul, a case of first come, first served.

Just as the statue was being put aboard a ship heading for Istanbul, the French Ambassador’s assistant, Hermes de Marcellus, arrived at the port in the nick of time, seized the statue, and managed to convince the chief inhabitant of the island to annul the sale, which he did, and the statue was presented to France as a gift.

When first, laid bare, it was thought the Venus di Milo was made by the Great Athenian sculptor, Praxiteles, but on the discovery of an inscription on the plinth, it turns out, this amazing work was done by a strolling minstrel and artist, Alexandros of Antioch, who worked for commission.

The statue is believed to be Aphrodite (Venus), goddess of love and beauty.

If you compare this last statue the Venus de Milo, with the first on my list the Lady of Auxerre, you will notice how the style has evolved, from the rigid, stiffness of the archaic period, to the fluid, free movement of the Hellenistic period.

Slowly but surely, through the classical period, the sculptures have become more life-like, they now have a certain finesse, their faces are no longer without expression, staring straight ahead, you notice that coy little smile or the sideward glance of an eye.

Pure perfection was achieved with the advent of the Hellenistic period the detail of the drapery on the Winged Victory of Samothrace, the turn of an ankle here, the crook of a finger there, and everywhere, soft, fluid movement.

What better example of this, than the Venus de Milo, with her air of aloofness, that twist of her waist, after this exceptional work of art, what?

Who posed for Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa?

Over the years, scholars have debated the true inspiration behind the most famous half-smile in history𠅊nd possibly even the world’s most recognizable face. Proposed sitters for the “Mona Lisa” have included da Vinci’s mother Caterina, Princess Isabella of Naples, a Spanish noblewoman named Costanza d𠆚valos and an unnamed courtesan, among others. Some of the more provocative theories emphasize the subject’s masculine facial features, suggesting that da Vinci based the portrait on his own likeness or that of his longtime apprentice and possible lover, Salaì.

Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo, a wealthy silk merchant’s wife and the mother of five children, has been a leading contender since an art historian identified her as the sitter in 1550, more than four decades after the iconic painting’s completion. The 2005 discovery of a 500-year-old note by an acquaintance of da Vinci, which states that the artist was working on Lisa’s portrait, confirmed the theory for many scholars. It is thought that the Florentine beauty’s husband commissioned the work to celebrate the impending birth of a child indeed, some have chalked up the subject’s enigmatic expression and loose garments to pregnancy. For reasons that remain unclear, da Vinci never gave the “Mona Lisa” to the Giocondo family, first taking it to France and later bequeathing it to Salaì.

'Break my window': Jocelyn Alo represents family, Hawaii hometown with Sooners in WCWS

If you heard someone scream &ldquobreak my window!&rdquo over the last week at Hall of Fame Stadium, there&rsquos no reason to be alarmed.

That&rsquos what Nita Alo shouts when her granddaughter, Jocelyn, steps to the plate.

If there were cars parked beyond left field Thursday afternoon, you can bet Jocelyn Alo&rsquos first-inning blast would&rsquove shattered glass. The National Player of the Year hit home run No. 34 in OU&rsquos 5-1 national championship-clinching win against Florida State.

&ldquoIt brings tears of joy to my eyes,&rdquo said Nita Alo, shaking with goosebumps in the sweltering heat.

The 69-year-old grandmother stood barefoot on the bleachers as she watched the Sooners top the Seminoles. She wore Jocelyn&rsquos No. 78 jersey and an OU-adorned straw hat with &ldquoaloha&rdquo written on the side.

When OU ace Giselle Juarez secured the final out, Nita Alo waved her arms and pumped her fists.

After hugging her teammates, Jocelyn Alo walked to the family section along the third-base line and hoisted the championship trophy. OU fans, including a dozen or so Alos in the stands, erupted.

&ldquoRight now I&rsquom so excited and proud of her,&rdquo Nita Alo said. &ldquoHauula in the house! We&rsquore from a small town, and she made it so big.&rdquo

Hauula, a community of 3,000 on the island of Oahu, is home to the Alos.

Jocelyn Alo was Hawaii&rsquos two-time Gatorade State High School Player of the Year, hitting .571 with 12 home runs as a senior. As an OU senior, Alo hit .475 with 34 home runs, raising her career total to 88 &mdash second in OU history and fourth in NCAA history behind Lauren Chamberlain&rsquos 95 roundtrippers.

Alo, who plans to return for a fifth season, will almost certainly be crowned softball&rsquos home run queen in 2022.

&ldquoYou know what, she could hit the ball from Day 1,&rdquo said Levi Alo, Jocelyn&rsquos dad. &ldquoIt&rsquos funny. I tell everybody, she put in a lot of work, but her hands were blessed by God.&rdquo

Levi is responsible for Nita&rsquos signature &ldquobreak my window&rdquo chant.

&ldquoIt started from my son hitting home runs,&rdquo Nita said. &ldquoHe almost hit this window at this lady&rsquos house. She came out, 'You almost broke my window!'"

Like any family story, there are variations.

&ldquoMy dad would hit home runs at the park and they would just park behind the fence,&rdquo Jocelyn said. &ldquoAnd my dad broke their windows.&rdquo

No matter the origin, the saying stuck.

&ldquoWe just kept on yelling,&rdquo Nita said with a smile.

And Jocelyn kept on hitting home runs, with four more in the Women&rsquos College World Series.

Alo was named to the All-Tournament team. She went 7-for-10 in the championship series.

&ldquoShe put in work,&rdquo Levi Alo said. &ldquoIt&rsquos like an iceberg.

&ldquoNobody sees all the work that goes into it underneath. All they see is the finished product here at the world series. They don&rsquot see years and years and years of being disciplined, and not going to parties as much as you should and not hanging out and missing family events. But it&rsquos all worth it when stuff like this happens.&rdquo

Levi&rsquos only regret is that his wife and Jocelyn&rsquos mom, Andrea, wasn&rsquot there to see it. Andrea had to stay behind in Hawaii for work, but the rest of the family made the trip to Oklahoma City.

Eleven of them rented an Airbnb together.

&ldquoLike we say back home on the island, it takes a village,&rdquo said Rocky Alo, Jocelyn&rsquos uncle. &ldquoShe&rsquos not just doing it for our hometown, she&rsquos doing it for the whole state of Hawaii.&rdquo

Sophia Alo, Jocelyn&rsquos 14-year-old sister, matched her grandma in a crimson No. 78 jersey.

Sophia is next in line to break a few windows, with aspirations to play college softball like her sister &mdash one of the sport&rsquos brightest stars.

&ldquoIt makes me feel proud,&rdquo Sophia said, &ldquobecause other people can look up to her other than me.&rdquo

Riace Warriors

The Riace Warriors (also referred to as the Riace bronzes or Bronzi di Riace) are two life-size Greek bronze statues of naked, bearded warriors. The statues were discovered by Stefano Mariottini in the Mediterranean Sea just off the coast of Riace Marina, Italy, on August 16, 1972. The statues are currently housed in the Museo Nazionale della Magna Grecia in the Italian city of Reggio Calabria. The statues are commonly referred to as “Statue A” and “Statue B” and were originally cast using the lost-wax technique.

The discovery of the statues in 1972

Statue A (foreground) and Statue B (background), from the sea off Riace, Italy, c. 460-450 B.C.E. (?), Statue A, 198 cm high, Statue B, 197 cm high (Museo Archaeologico Nazionale Reggio Calabria) (photo: Robert and Talbot Trudeau, CC BY-NC 2.0)

Statue A

Statue A stands 198 centimeters tall and depicts the younger of the two warriors. His body exhibits a strong contrapposto stance, with the head turned to his right. Attached elements have been lost – most likely a shield and a spear his now-lost helmet atop his head may have been crowned by a wreath. The warrior is bearded, with applied copper detail for the lips and the nipples. Inset eyes also survive for Statue A. The hair and beard have been worked in an elaborate fashion, with exquisite curls and ringlets.

Statue B

Statue B depicts an older warrior and stands 197 centimeters tall. A now-missing helmet likely was perched atop his head. Like Statue A, Statue B is bearded and in a contrapposto stance, although the feet of Statue B and set more closely together than those of Statue A.

Severe style

The Severe or Early Classical style describes the trends in Greek sculpture between c. 490 and 450 B.C.E. Artistically this stylistic phase represents a transition from the rather austere and static Archaic style of the sixth century B.C.E. to the more idealized Classical style. The Severe style is marked by an increased interest in the use of bronze as a medium as well as an increase in the characterization of the sculpture, among other features.

Interpretation and chronology

Statue A, from the sea off Riace, Italy, c. 460-450 B.C.E. (?), 198 cm high (Museo Archaeologico Nazionale Reggio Calabria) (photo: Luca Galli, CC BY 2.0)

The chronology of the Riace warriors has been a matter of scholarly contention since their discovery. In essence there are two schools of thought—one holds that the warriors are fifth century B.C.E. originals that were created between 460 and 420 B.C.E., while another holds that the statues were produced later and consciously imitate Early Classical sculpture. Those that support the earlier chronology argue that Statue A is the earlier of the two pieces. Those scholars also make a connection between the warriors and the workshops of famous ancient sculptors. For instance, some scholars suggest that the sculptor Myron crafted Statue A, while Alkamenes created Statue B. Additionally, those who support the earlier chronology point to the Severe Style as a clear indication of an Early Classical date for these two masterpieces.

The art historian B. S. Ridgway presents a dissenting view, contending that the statues should not be assigned to the fifth century B.C.E., arguing instead that they were most likely produced together after 100 B.C.E. Ridgway feels that the statues indicate an interest in Early Classical iconography during the Hellenistic period.

In terms of identifications, there has been speculation that the two statues represent Tydeus (Statue A) and Amphiaraus (Statue B), two warriors from Aeschylus’ tragic play, Seven Against Thebes (about Polyneices after the fall of his father, King Oedipus), and may have been part of a monumental sculptural composition. A group from Argos described by Pausanias (the Greek traveler and writer) is often cited in connection to this conjecture: “A little farther on is a sanctuary of the Seasons. On coming back from here you see statues of Polyneices, the son of Oedipus, and of all the chieftains who with him were killed in battle at the wall of Thebes…” (Pausanias, Description of Greece 2.20.5).

A conjectural restored view of the two warriors (source)

The statues have lead dowels installed in their feet, indicating that they were originally mounted on a base and installed as part of some sculptural group or other. The art historian Carol Mattusch argues that not only were they found together, but that they were originally installed—and perhaps produced—together in antiquity.

Additional resources:

I bronzi di Riace: restauro come conoscenza (Rome: Artemide, 2003).

J. Alsop, “Glorious bronzes of ancient Greece: warriors from a watery grave” National Geographic 163.6 (June 1983), pp. 820-827.

A. Busignani and L. Perugi, The Bronzes of Riace, trans. J. R. Walker, (Florence: Sansoni, 1981).

C. H. Hallett, “Kopienkritik and the works of Polykleitos,” in Polykleitos: the Doryphoros and Tradition, ed. by W. G. Moon, pp. 121-160 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1995).

C. C. Mattusch, Classical bronzes: the art and craft of Greek and Roman statuary (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1996).

C. C. Mattusch, “In Search of the Greek Bronze Original” in The Ancient Art of Emulation: Studies in Artistic Originality and Tradition from the Present to Classical Antiquity (Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome, supplementary volumes, vol. 1), edited by E. K. Gazda, pp. 99-115, (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002).

P. B. Pacini, “Florence, Rome and Reggio Calabria: The Riace Bronzes,” The Burlington Magazine, volume 123, no. 943 (Oct., 1981), pp. 630-633.

B. S. Ridgway, Fifth Century Styles in Greek Sculpture (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981).

B. S. Ridgway, “The Riace Bronzes: A Minority Viewpoint,” in Due bronzi da Riace: rinvenimento, restauro, analisi ed ipotesi di interpretazione, vol. 1, ed. by L. V. Borelli and P. Pelagatti, pp. 313-326. (Rome: Istituto poligrafico e zecca dello stato, 1984).

B. S. Ridgway, Hellenistic Sculpture: the Styles of ca. 100-31 B.C. (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2002).

N. J. Spivey, Understanding Greek sculpture: ancient meanings, modern readings (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1996).

G. B. Triches, Due bronzi da Riace: rinvenimento, restauro, analisi ed ipotesi di interpretazione (Rome: Istituto poligrafico e zecca dello Stato, 1984).


St. Joseph Gazette editor Chris L. Rutt, of St. Joseph, Missouri, and his friend Charles G. Underwood bought a flour mill in 1888. Rutt and Underwood's Pearl Milling Company faced a glutted flour market. After experimenting, they sold their excess flour as a pancake mix in paper bags with a generic label, "Self-Rising Pancake Flour", later dubbed "the first ready-mix". [1] [2] [8] To distinguish their pancake mix, in the autumn of 1889 Rutt appropriated the Aunt Jemima name and image from lithographed posters seen at a vaudeville house in St. Joseph, Missouri. [1] [8]

1889 Formula for Aunt Jemima mix:

  • 100 lb [45 kg] Hard Winter Wheat
  • 100 lb [45 kg] Corn Flour
  • 7 + 1 ⁄ 2 lb [3.4 kg] B.W.T. Phosphates from Provident Chem[ical] St L[ouis]
  • 2 + 3 ⁄ 4 lb [1.2 kg] Bicarb[onate] Soda
  • 3 lb [1.4 kg] Salt.

However, Rutt and Underwood could not raise enough capital and quickly ran out of money. [1] They sold their company to the Randolph Truett Davis Milling Company (also in St. Joseph, Missouri) in 1890, then the largest flouring mill on the Missouri River, having an established reputation with wholesale and retail grocers throughout the Missouri Valley. [1] [2] [9] Davis improved the flavor and texture of the product by adding rice flour and corn sugar, and simplified the ready-mix by adding powdered milk. Only water was needed to prepare the batter. [1]

The Davis Milling Company was renamed Aunt Jemima Mills in February 1914. [2] [9] In 1915, the well-known Aunt Jemima brand was the basis for a trademark law ruling that set a new precedent. Previously trademarks had only been protected against infringement by other sellers of the same product, but under the "Aunt Jemima Doctrine" the seller of pancake mix was protected against infringement by an unrelated seller of pancake syrup. [10]

The Quaker Oats Company purchased the Aunt Jemima Mills Company in 1926, and formally registered the Aunt Jemima trademark in April 1937. [2] It remains one of the longest continually running logos and trademarks in the history of American advertising. [3]

Quaker Oats introduced Aunt Jemima syrup in 1966. This was followed by Aunt Jemima Butter Lite syrup in 1985 and Butter Rich syrup in 1991. [2]

Aunt Jemima frozen foods were licensed out to Aurora Foods in 1996, which was absorbed into Pinnacle Foods Corporation in 2004. [2]

Aunt Jemima is based on the common enslaved "Mammy" archetype, a plump Black woman wearing a headscarf who is a devoted and submissive servant. [3] [4] Her skin is dark and dewy, with a pearly white smile. Although depictions vary over time, they are similar to the common attire and physical features of "mammy" characters throughout history. [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16]

The term "aunt" and "uncle" in this context was a Southern form of address used with older enslaved peoples. They were denied use of courtesy titles, such as "mistress" and "mister". [17] [18]

A British image in the Library of Congress, which may have been created as early as 1847, shows a smiling Black woman named "Miss Jim-Ima Crow," with a framed image of "James Crow" on the wall behind her. [19] A character named "Aunt Jemima" appeared on the stage in Washington, D.C., as early as 1864. [20] Rutt's inspiration for Aunt Jemima was Billy Kersands' American-style minstrelsy/vaudeville song "Old Aunt Jemima", written in 1875. Rutt reportedly saw a minstrel show featuring the "Old Aunt Jemima" song in the fall of 1889, presented by blackface performers identified by Arthur F. Marquette as "Baker & Farrell". [8] Marquette recounts that the actor playing Aunt Jemima wore an apron and kerchief. [8] [18]

However, Doris Witt at University of Iowa was unable to confirm Marquette's account. [21] Witt suggests that Rutt might have witnessed a performance by the vaudeville performer Pete F. Baker, who played characters described in newspapers of that era as "Ludwig" and "Aunt Jemima". His portrayal of the Aunt Jemima character may have been a white male in blackface, pretending to be a German immigrant, imitating a black minstrel parodying an imaginary black female slave cook. [21]

Beginning in 1894, the company added an Aunt Jemima paper doll family that could be cut out from the pancake box. [22] Aunt Jemima is joined by her husband, Uncle Rastus (later renamed Uncle Mose to avoid confusion with the Cream of Wheat character, while Uncle Mose was first introduced as the plantation butler). [23] Their children, described as "comical pickannies": Abraham Lincoln, Dilsie, Zeb, and Dinah. The paper doll family was posed dancing barefoot, dressed in tattered clothing, and the box was labeled "Before the Receipt was sold." (Receipt is an archaic rural form of recipe.) [22] Buying another box with elegant clothing cut-outs to fit over the dolls, the customer could transform them "After the Receipt was sold." This placed them in the Horatio Alger rags-to-riches American cultural mythos. [22]

Rag doll versions were offered as a premium in 1909: "Aunt Jemima Pancake Flour/Pica ninny Doll/ The Davis Milling Company." Early versions were portrayed as poor people with patches on the trousers, large mouths, and missing teeth. The children's names were changed to Diana and Wade. Over time, there were improvements in appearance. Oil-cloth versions were available circa the 1950s, with cartoonish features, round eyes, and watermelon mouths. [24]

Marketing materials for the line of products centered around the "Mammy" archetype, including the slogan first used at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois: "I's in Town, Honey". [4] [21] [25]

At that World's Fair, and for decades afterward, [18] marketers created and circulated fictional stories about Aunt Jemima. [5] She was presented as a "loyal cook" for a fictional Colonel Higbee's Louisiana plantation on the Mississippi River. [5] [22] [25] [26] Jemima was said to use a secret recipe "from the South before the Civil War," with their "matchless plantation flavor," to make the best pancakes in Dixie. [18] [22] Another story described her as diverting Union soldiers during the Civil War with her pancakes long enough for Colonel Higbee to escape. [25] She was said to have revived a group of shipwrecked survivors with her flapjacks. [5]

A typical magazine ad from the turn of the century created by advertising executive James Webb Young, and the illustrator N.C. Wyeth, [25] shows a heavyset black cook talking happily while a white man takes notes. The ad copy says, "After the Civil War, after her master's death, Aunt Jemima was finally persuaded to sell her famous pancake recipe to the representative of a northern milling company." [5]

However, the Davis Milling Company was not located in a northern state. Missouri in the American Civil War was a hotly contested slave state. In reality, she never existed, created by marketers to better sell products. [16]

Controversy Edit

Although the Aunt Jemima character was not created until nearly 25 years after the American Civil War, the clothing, dancing, enslaved dialect, singing old plantation songs as she worked, all harkened back to a glorified view of antebellum Southern plantation life as a "happy slave" narrative. [16] [22] The marketing legend surrounding Aunt Jemima's successful commercialization of her "secret recipe" contributes to the post-Civil War nostalgia and romanticism of Southern life in service of America's developing consumer culture—especially in the context of selling kitchen items. [3] [4] [14]

African American women formed the Women's Columbian Association and the Women's Columbian Auxiliary Association to address the exclusion of African Americans from the 1893 World's Fair exhibitions, asking that the fair reflect the success of post-Emancipation African Americans. [22] Instead, the Fair included a miniature West African village whose natives were portrayed as primitive savages. [25] Ida B. Wells was incensed by the exclusion of African Americans from mainstream fair activities so-called "Negro Day" was a picnic held off-site from the fairgrounds. [22]

Black scholars Hallie Quinn Brown, Anna Julia Cooper, and Fannie Barrier Williams used the World's Fair as an opportunity to address how African American women were being exploited by white men. [22] [27] In her book A Voice from the South (1892), Cooper had noted the fascination with "Southern influence, Southern ideas, and Southern ideals" had "dictated to and domineered over the brain and sinew of this nation." [22]

These educated progressive women saw "a mammy for the national household" represented at the World's Fair by Aunt Jemima. [22] This directly relates to the belief that slavery cultivated innate qualities in African Americans. The notion that African Americans were natural servants reinforced a racist ideology renouncing the reality of African American intellect. [22]

Aunt Jemima embodied a post-Reconstruction fantasy of idealized domesticity, inspired by "happy slave" hospitality, and revealed a deep need to redeem the antebellum South. [22] There were others that capitalized on this theme, such as Uncle Ben's Rice and Cream of Wheat's Rastus. [18] [22]

Logo Edit

The earliest advertising was based upon a vaudeville parody, and remained a caricature for many years. [1] [4] [8]

Quaker Oats commissioned Haddon Sundblom, a nationally known commercial artist, to paint a portrait of Anna Robinson. The Aunt Jemima package was redesigned around the new likeness. [1] [21]

James J. Jaffee, a freelance artist from the Bronx, New York, also designed one of the images of Aunt Jemima used by Quaker Oats to market the product into the mid-20th century.

Just as the formula for the mix has changed several times over the years, so has the Aunt Jemima image. In 1968, the face of Aunt Jemima became a composited creation. She was slimmed down from her previous appearance, depicting a more “svelte” look, wearing a white collar, and geometric print "headband" still resembling her previous kerchief. [1] [28] [29] [30]

In 1989, as she marked her 100th anniversary, her image was again updated, with all head-covering removed, revealing wavy, gray-streaked hair, gold-trimmed pearl earrings, and replacing her plain white collar with lace. At the time, the revised image was described as a move towards a more "sophisticated" depiction, with Quaker marketing the change as giving her "a more contemporary look" which remained on the products until early 2021. [28] [29]

Rebranding Edit

On June 17, 2020, following the murder of George Floyd and subsequent protests, Quaker Oats announced that Aunt Jemima will be retired and replaced with a new name and image "to make progress toward racial equality." [6] [31] The image will be removed from packaging later in 2020, while the name change will happen at a later date. [32] [33]

Days earlier, American satirical news outlet The Onion published a fictional article about a similar announcement. [34]

Descendants of Aunt Jemima models Lillian Richard and Anna Short Harrington objected to the change. Vera Harris, a family historian for Richard's family, said "I wish we would take a breath and not just get rid of everything. Because good or bad, it is our history." [35] Harrington's great-grandson Larnell Evans said "This is an injustice for me and my family. This is part of my history." Evans had previously lost a lawsuit against Quaker Oats (and others) for billions of dollars in 2015. [36]

On February 9, 2021, PepsiCo announced that the brand would be renamed as Pearl Milling Company. The new brand is scheduled to launch in June, one year after the company announced the change. [7] [37]

The African American Registry of the United States suggests Nancy Green and others who played the caricature of Aunt Jemima [33] should be celebrated despite what has been widely condemned as a stereotypical and racist brand image. The registry wrote, "we celebrate the birth of Nancy Green in 1834. She was a Black storyteller and one of the first Black corporate models in the United States." [38]

Following Green's work as Aunt Jemima, very few were well-known. Advertising agencies (such as J. Walter Thompson, Lord and Thomas, and others) hired dozens of actors to portray the role, often assigned regionally, as the first organized sales promotion campaign. [1] [5]

Quaker Oats ended local appearances for Aunt Jemima in 1965. [39]

Nancy Green Edit

Nancy Green was the first spokesperson hired by the R. T. Davis Milling Company for the Aunt Jemima pancake mix. [2] Green was born a slave in Montgomery County, Kentucky. [1] [40] Dressed as Aunt Jemima, Green appeared at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, beside the "world's largest flour barrel" (24 feet high), where she operated a pancake-cooking display, sang songs, and told romanticized stories about the Old South (a happy place for blacks and whites alike). She appeared at fairs, festivals, flea markets, food shows, and local grocery stores her arrival heralded by large billboards featuring the caption, "I'se in town, honey." [1] [4] [40]

Green refused to cross the ocean for the 1900 Paris exhibition. [21] [41] She was replaced by Agnes Moodey, "a negress of 60 years", who was then reported as the original Aunt Jemima. [42] Green died in 1923 and was buried in an unmarked pauper's grave near a wall in the northeast quadrant of Chicago's Oak Woods Cemetery. [25] [41] [43] [44] A headstone was placed on September 5, 2020. [45]

Lillian Richard Edit

Lillian Richard was hired to portray Aunt Jemima in 1925, and remained in the role for 23 years. Richard was born in 1891, and grew up in the tiny community of Fouke 7 miles west of Hawkins in Wood County, Texas. In 1910, she moved to Dallas, working initially as a cook. Her job "pitching pancakes" was based in Paris, Texas. [5] After she suffered a stroke circa 1947–1948, she returned to Fouke, where she lived until her death in 1956. Richard was honored with a Texas Historical Marker in her hometown, dedicated in her name on June 30, 2012. [46] [47] [48] [49]

Hawkins, Texas, east of Mineola, is known as the "Pancake Capital of Texas" because of longtime resident Lillian Richard. The local chamber of commerce decided to use Hawkins' connection to Aunt Jemima to boost tourism. [46] In 1995, State Senator David Cain introduced Senate Resolution No. 73 designating Hawkins as the "Pancake Capital of Texas", which was passed into law the measure was spearheaded by Lillian's niece, Jewell Richard-McCalla. [5]

Anna Robinson Edit

Anna Robinson was hired to play Aunt Jemima at the 1933 Century of Progress Chicago World's Fair. [2] [8] Robinson answered an open audition, and her appearance was more like the "mammy" stereotype than the slender Nancy Green. [21] Born circa 1899, she was also from Kentucky and widowed (like Green), but in her 30s with 8 years of education. [50] She was sent to New York City by Lord and Thomas to have her picture taken. "Never to be forgotten was the day they loaded 350 pounds of Anna Robinson on the Twentieth Century Limited." [8]

She appeared at prestigious establishments frequented by the rich and famous, such as El Morocco, the Stork Club, "21", and the Waldorf-Astoria. [1] [50] Photos show Robinson making pancakes for celebrities and stars of Broadway, radio, and motion pictures. They were used in advertising "ranked among the highest read of their time". [8] The Aunt Jemima packaging was redesigned in her likeness. [1] [21]

Robinson reportedly worked for the company until her death in 1951, [1] [2] although the work was sporadic and for mere weeks in a year. [50] Nevertheless, this was not enough to escape the hard life into which she was born. [50] Her $1,200 total payment in 1939 (equivalent to $22,326 in 2020) was almost the entirety of the household's annual income. [50] The official Aunt Jemima history timeline once stated she was "able to make enough money to provide for her children and buy a 22-room house where she rents rooms to boarders." [51] (See also the same claim for Anna Short Harrington.) According to the 1940 census, she rented an apartment in a four-flat in Washington Park with her daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren. [50]

Rosa Washington Riles Edit

Rosa Washington Riles became the third face on Aunt Jemima packaging in the 1930s, and continued until 1948. Rosa Washington was born in 1901 near Red Oak in Brown County, Ohio, one of several children of Robert and Julie (Holliday) Washington and a grand-daughter of George and Phoeba Washington. [52] She was employed as a cook in the home of a Quaker Oats executive and began pancake demonstrations at her employer's request. She died in 1969, and is buried near her parents and grandparents in the historic Red Oak Presbyterian Church cemetery of Ripley, Ohio. [52] An annual Aunt Jemima breakfast has been a long-time fundraiser for the cemetery, and the church maintains a collection of Aunt Jemima memorabilia. [17] [52] [53] [54]

Anna Short Harrington Edit

Anna Short Harrington began her career as Aunt Jemima in 1935 and continued to play the role until 1954. She was born in 1897 in Marlboro County, South Carolina. The Short family lived on the Pegues Place plantation as sharecroppers. [55] In 1927, she moved to Syracuse, New York. Quaker Oats discovered her cooking pancakes at the 1935 New York State Fair. [56] [57] [58] Harrington died in Syracuse in 1955. [55] [56] [57] [58]

Edith Wilson Edit

Edith Wilson became the face of Aunt Jemima on radio, television, and in personal appearances, from 1948 to 1966. Wilson was the first Aunt Jemima to appear in television commercials. She was born in 1896 in Louisville, Kentucky. Wilson was a classic blues singer and actress in Chicago, New York, and London. She appeared on radio in The Great Gildersleeve, on radio and television in Amos 'n' Andy, and on film in To Have and Have Not (1944). On March 31, 1981, she died in Chicago. [1] [59]

Ethel Ernestine Harper Edit

Ethel Ernestine Harper portrayed Aunt Jemima during the 1950s. [1] [30] Harper was born on September 17, 1903, in Greensboro, Alabama. [60] Prior to the Aunt Jemima role, Harper graduated from college at the age of 17, taught elementary school for 2 years, high school mathematics for 10 years, moved to New York City where she performed in The Hot Mikado in 1939 and Harlem Cavalcade in 1942, then toured Europe during and after World War II as one of the Ginger Snaps. On March 31, 1979, she died in Morristown, New Jersey. [1] [61] She was the last individual model for the character's logo. [30]

Rosie Lee Moore Hall Edit

Rosie Lee Moore Hall portrayed Aunt Jemima from 1950 until her death in 1967. Hall was born on June 22, 1899, in Robertson County, Texas. She worked for Quaker Oats in the company's Oklahoma advertising department until she answered their search for a new Aunt Jemima. She suffered a heart attack on her way to church and died on February 12, 1967. She was buried in the family plot in the Colony Cemetery near Wheelock, Texas. Hall was the last "living" Aunt Jemima. On May 7, 1988, her grave was declared an historical landmark. [1] [5]

Aylene Lewis Edit

Aylene Lewis portrayed Aunt Jemima at the Disneyland Aunt Jemima's Pancake House, a popular eating place at the park on New Orleans Street in Frontierland, from 1957 until her death in 1964. Lewis became well known posing for pictures with visitors and serving pancakes to dignitaries, such as Indian Prime Minister Nehru. She also developed a close relationship with Walt Disney. [1] [8]

Key to the city Edit

The Aunt Jemima character, portrayed at the time by Edith Wilson, received the Key to the City of Albion, Michigan, on January 25, 1964. [62] Actresses portraying Aunt Jemima visited Albion, Battle Creek ("Cereal City"), and other Michigan cities many times over three decades. Grand Rapids had an Aunt Jemima's Kitchen, one of 21 locations, until it was changed to Colonial Kitchen in 1968. [39]

The term "Aunt Jemima" is sometimes used colloquially as a female version of the derogatory epithet "Uncle Tom" or "Rastus". In this context, the slang term "Aunt Jemima" falls within the "mammy archetype" and refers to a friendly black woman who is perceived as obsequiously servile or acting in, or protective of, the interests of whites. [63]

John Sylvester of WTDY-AM drew criticism after calling Condoleezza Rice an “Aunt Jemima” and Colin Powell an “Uncle Tom”, referring to remarks by singer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte about their subservience in the George W. Bush administration. He apologized by giving away Aunt Jemima pancake mix and syrup. [64]

Barry Presgraves, then 77-year-old Mayor of Luray, Virginia, was censured 5-to-1 by the town council because he referred to Kamala Harris as "Aunt Jemima" after she was selected by Joe Biden for the Democratic Party vice presidential candidate. [65] [66] [67] [68]

Aunt Jemima has been featured in various formats and settings throughout popular culture. Much of the attention drawn to this product in 2020 and 2021 is attributed to the decision by Pepsico in June 2020 to rename the product, and the misrepresentation of Nancy Green’s legacy, [69] amidst heavy racial tension in the United States and around the world. [70] Aunt Jemima has been a present image identifiable by popular culture for well over a century, dating back to Nancy Green’s appearance at the 1893 World Fair in Chicago, Illinois. [71]

Aunt Jemima, a minstrel-type variety radio program, was broadcast January 17, 1929 – June 5, 1953, at times on CBS and at other times on the Blue Network. The program had several hiatuses during the overall span." [72]

The 1933 novel Imitation of Life by Fannie Hurst features an Aunt Jemima-type character, Delilah, a maid struggling in life with her widowed employer, Bea. Their fortunes change dramatically when Bea capitalizes on Delilah's family pancake recipe to open a pancake restaurant that attracts tourists at the Jersey Shore. It became a great success and was eventually packaged and sold as Aunt Delilah's Pancake Mix. They achieve that success due to selling flour with a smiling Delilah on the box dressed in Aunt Jemima fashion. The Academy Award-nominated 1934 film version of Imitation of Life starring Claudette Colbert and Louise Beavers retains this part of the plot, which was excised from the 1959 remake of Imitation of Life starring Lana Turner and directed by Douglas Sirk.

The 1950s television show Beulah came under fire [ needs context ] for depicting a "mammy"-like black maid and cook who was somewhat reminiscent of Aunt Jemima. [ citation needed ]

In the 1960s, Betye Saar began collecting images of Aunt Jemima, Uncle Tom, Little Black Sambo, and other stereotyped African-American figures from folk culture and advertising of the Jim Crow era. She incorporated them into collages and assemblages, transforming them into statements of political and social protest. [73] The Liberation of Aunt Jemima is one of her most notable works from this era. In this mixed-media assemblage, Saar utilized the stereotypical mammy figure of Aunt Jemima to subvert traditional notions of race and gender. [74]

“Aunt Jemima’s Kitchen” -- named Aunt Jemima’s Pancake House when it first started operating in 1955 -- opened in 1962 during the Civil Rights Movement as the official Aunt Jemima restaurant at Disneyland. In addition to the restaurant, a woman portraying Aunt Jemima was poised at the restaurant to take pictures with its patrons. [75] Aunt Jemima’s Kitchen also had additional locations across the United States. [76]

Frank Zappa includes a song titled "Electric Aunt Jemima" on his 1969 album Uncle Meat. Electric Aunt Jemima was the nickname for Zappa's Standel guitar amplifier. [77]

Faith Ringgold’s first quilt story Who's Afraid of Aunt Jemima? (1983) depicts the story of Aunt Jemima as a matriarch restaurateur: through mediums of text and imagery used to characterize Aunt Jemima in the public sphere, Ringgold represented the oppressed mammy caricature as an entrepreneur. [78]

"Burn Hollywood Burn" on Public Enemy's 1990 Album "Fear of a Black Planet" features Big Daddy Kane commenting on the updating of racial tropes with the lyrics, "And black women in this profession / As for playin' a lawyer, out of the question / For what they play Aunt Jemima is the perfect term / Even if now she got a perm." [79] Spike Lee's 2000 film Bamboozled features Aunt Jemima (played by Tyheesha Collins) as one of the dancing "pickaninnies" in the film's deliberately racist TV show Mantan: The New Millennium Minstrel Show, alongside other stereotypical black antebellum South characters like Rastus.

The 2004 mockumentary C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America features numerous depictions of Aunt Jemima-type characters as slaves (referred to as servants) in an alternate timeline in which the Confederacy won the American Civil War. [ citation needed ]

In the South Park episode "Gluten Free Ebola" (2014), Aunt Jemima appears in Eric Cartman's delirious dream to tell him that the food pyramid is upside down. [80]

On November 7, 2020, Saturday Night Live featured a skit which Aunt Jemima was fired, in addition to Uncle Ben, with roles played by “Count Chocula” and “Allstate Guy.” [81]

A trip to Castle Dimitrescu

Early in the game, you first see the towering Lady Dimitrescu as she argues with fellow village lord Heisenberg over the fate of a captive Ethan. Their leader, Mother Miranda, the game's main villain , hands him over to Heisenberg, but the wily Ethan escapes.

Our hero makes his way to Castle Dimitrescu (the first of the four lords' territories you explore), where he's quickly captured by creepy vampiric daughters Bela, Cassandra and Daniela and brought before their stylish mom. She feeds on Ethan's blood, but says it "starting to go a little stale" -- foreshadowing a revelation we get about him later .

They sadistically hang Ethan from the ceiling by stabbing hooks through his hands (and it looks so darn painful), but he soon escapes and wanders the castle halls.

Bela Dimitrescu greets Ethan with a lovely smile.

Capcom screenshot by Sean Keane/CNET

Various diary entries reveal that the Dimitrescus have been hiring young women from the village to work in the castle, and the game's concept art confirms that the ghoulish enemies Ethan fights in the castle's dungeon are transformed women. Male victims are simply drained of their blood, some of which is used as the secret ingredient in the family's wine, Sanguis Virginis (which means "virgin's blood" in Latin, so someone should've alerted the authorities long ago).

Ethan figures out that Bela, Cassandra and Daniela become vulnerable when exposed to the cold, so he smashes some of the castle's windows to let in the chilly breeze from outside and kills them one by one.

Sculpture in the Greek Orientalizing Period

Sculpture produced during the Orientalizing period shares stylistic attributes with sculpture produced in Egypt and the Near East.

Learning Objectives

Discuss Greek sculpture during the Orientalizing period

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Sculpture during this time was influenced by Egyptian and Near Eastern artistic conventions. Rigid, plank-like bodies, as well as its reliance on pattern to depict texture , characterized Greek sculpture in the Orientalizing period.
  • The Daedalic style , named for the mythical inventor Daedalus, refers the use of patterning and geometric shapes (reminiscent of the Geometric period ) during the seventh century BCE.
  • The differences between the Lady of Auxerre and the Mantiklos Apollo demonstrate the early establishment of traditional social expectations of the sexes in ancient Greek culture .

Key Terms

  • kore: A sculpture of a young woman from pre-Classical Greece.
  • Daedalic: A style of sculpture during the Greek Orientalizing period noted for its use of patterns to create texture, as well as its reliance on geometric shapes and stiff, rigid bodily postures.

The Orientalizing Period lasted for about a century, from 700 to 600 BCE. This period was distinguished by international influences, from the Ancient Near East, Egypt, and Asia Minor, each of which contributed a distinctive Eastern style to Greek art. The close contact between cultures developed from increasing trade and even colonization.

Styles were borrowed from other cultures by the Greeks who transformed them into a unique Greek-Eastern mix of style and motifs . Male and female sculptures produced during this time share interesting similarities, but also bear differences that inform the viewer about society’s expectations of men and women.

The Lady of Auxerre

A small limestone statue of a kore (maiden), known as the Lady of Auxerre (650–625 BCE), from Crete demonstrates the style of early Greek figural sculptures. This style is known as Daedalic sculpture, named for the mythical creator of King Minos’s labyrinth , Daedalus. The style combines Ancient Near Eastern and Egyptian motifs.

The Lady of Auxerre, circa 650–625 BCE: This small limestone statue is possibly from Crete.

The Lady of Auxerre is stocky and plank-like. Her waist is narrow and cinched, like the waists seen in Minoan art. She is disproportionate, with long rigid legs and a short torso. A dress encompasses nearly her entire body—it tethers her legs together and restricts her potential for movement. The rigidity of the body recalls pharaonic portraiture from Ancient Egypt .

Her head is distinguished with large facial features, a low brow, and stylized hair. The hair appears to be braided, and falls down in rigid rows divided by horizontal bands. This style recalls a Near Eastern use of patterns to depict texture and decoration.

Her face and hair are reminiscent of the Geometric period. The face forms an inverted triangle wedged between the triangles formed be the hair that frames her face. Traces of paint tell us that this statue would have originally be painted with black hair and a dress of red and blue with a yellow belt.

Lady of Auxerre reconstruction: A reconstruction of the original Orientalizing sculpture. Cambridge University.

The Mantiklos Apollo

There are no inscriptions on sculpture before the appearance of the bronze Mantiklos Apollo (early seventh century BCE) found in Thebes. The figure, named for the individual who left it as an offering , is that of a standing man with a rigid and somewhat Daedalic form.

His legs bear the inscription, “Mantiklos offered me as a tithe to Apollo of the silver bow do you, Phoibos [Apollo], give some pleasing favor in return.” The inscription is a declaration of the statuette to Apollo, followed by a request for favors in return.

Apart from the novelty of recording its own purpose, this sculpture adapts the formulae of later Orientalized sculptures, as seen in the shorter more triangular face and slightly advancing left leg. This is sometimes seen as anticipating the greater expressive freedom of the later seventh century BCE. As such, the Mantiklos figure is referred to in some quarters as proto-Daedalic.

Mantiklos Apollo: Bronze Early 7th century BCE. Thebes. The side view shows the separation of the figure’s arm from his chest and his slightly advancing left leg.

Similarities of the Statues

Despite the separation of several decades and over 200 miles, the Mantiklos Apollo and the Lady of Auxerre share interesting similarities, including their long plaited hair, cinched waist, stylized smile, and hand raised to the chest—all of which recall ancient Egyptian sculpture. Although the right arm of the Mantiklos Apollo is missing, the position of its shoulder implies a possible position similar to that of the left arm of the Lady of Auxerre, straight at its side.

However, we can already see striking differences that will remain the standard in Greek art for centuries. The male body, as a public entity entitled to citizenship, is depicted nude and free to move. This freedom of movement is seen not only in the legs of the Apollo figure but also in the separation of his hand from his chest.

On the other hand, the female body, as a private entity without individual rights, is clothed and denied movement. While the Mantiklos Apollo holds his hand parallel to his chest, the Lady of Auxerre places her hand directly on hers, maintaining the closed form expected of a respectable woman.


By the classical period, roughly the 5th and 4th centuries, monumental sculpture was composed almost entirely of marble or bronze with cast bronze becoming the favoured medium for major works by the early 5th century many pieces of sculpture known only in marble copies made for the Roman market were originally made in bronze. Smaller works were in a great variety of materials, many of them precious, with a very large production of terracotta figurines. The territories of ancient Greece, except for Sicily and southern Italy, contained abundant supplies of fine marble, with Pentelic and Parian marble the most highly prized. The ores for bronze were also relatively easy to obtain. [2]

Both marble and bronze are easy to form and very durable as in most ancient cultures there were no doubt also traditions of sculpture in wood about which we know very little, other than acrolithic sculptures, usually large, with the head and exposed flesh parts in marble but the clothed parts in wood. As bronze always had a significant scrap value very few original bronzes have survived, though in recent years marine archaeology or trawling has added a few spectacular finds, such as the Artemision Bronze and Riace bronzes, which have significantly extended modern understanding. Many copies of the Roman period are marble versions of works originally in bronze. Ordinary limestone was used in the Archaic period, but thereafter, except in areas of modern Italy with no local marble, only for architectural sculpture and decoration. Plaster or stucco was sometimes used for the hair only. [3]

Chryselephantine sculptures, used for temple cult images and luxury works, used gold, most often in leaf form and ivory for all or parts (faces and hands) of the figure, and probably gems and other materials, but were much less common, and only fragments have survived. Many statues were given jewellery, as can be seen from the holes for attaching it, and held weapons or other objects in different materials. [4]

Ancient Greek sculptures were originally painted bright colors [5] [6] [7] they only appear white today because the original pigments have deteriorated. [5] [6] References to painted sculptures are found throughout classical literature, [5] [6] including in Euripides's Helen in which the eponymous character laments, "If only I could shed my beauty and assume an uglier aspect/The way you would wipe color off a statue." [6] Some well-preserved statues still bear traces of their original coloration [5] and archaeologists can reconstruct what they would have originally looked like. [5] [6] [7]

By the early 19th century, the systematic excavation of ancient Greek sites had brought forth a plethora of sculptures with traces of notably multicolored surfaces, some of which were still visible. Despite this, influential art historians such as Johann Joachim Winckelmann so strongly opposed the idea of painted Greek sculpture that proponents of painted statues were dismissed as eccentrics, and their views were largely dismissed for more than a century.

It was not until published findings by German archaeologist Vinzenz Brinkmann in the late 20th and early 21st century that the painting of ancient Greek sculptures became an established fact. Using high-intensity lamps, ultraviolet light, specially designed cameras, plaster casts, and certain powdered minerals, Brinkmann proved that the entire Parthenon, including the actual structure as well as the statues, had been painted. He analyzed the pigments of the original paint to discover their composition.

Brinkmann made several painted replicas of Greek statues that went on tour around the world. Also in the collection were replicas of other works of Greek and Roman sculpture, and he demonstrated that the practice of painting sculpture was the norm rather than the exception in Greek and Roman art. [8] Museums that hosted the exhibit included the Glyptothek Museum in Munich, the Vatican Museum, and the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, et al. The collection made its American debut at Harvard University in the Fall of 2007. [9]

Brinkmann said that "no other aspect of the art of antiquity is as little understood as is the polychrome painting of temples and sculptures", and that modern sculptures, ostensibly inspired by the Greeks but left unpainted, are "something entirely new". [10]

Geometric Edit

It is commonly thought that the earliest incarnation of Greek sculpture was in the form of wooden cult statues, first described by Pausanias as xoana. [11] No such statues survive, and the descriptions of them are vague, despite the fact that they were probably objects of veneration for hundreds of years. The first piece of Greek statuary to be reassembled since is probably the Lefkandi Centaur, a terracotta sculpture found on the island of Euboea, dated c. 920 BC . The statue was constructed in parts, before being dismembered and buried in two separate graves. The centaur has an intentional mark on its knee, which has led researchers to postulate [12] that the statue might portray Cheiron, presumably kneeling wounded from Herakles' arrow. If so, it would be the earliest known depiction of myth in the history of Greek sculpture.

The forms from the Geometric period (c. 900 to 700 BC ) were chiefly terracotta figurines, bronzes, and ivories. The bronzes are chiefly tripod cauldrons, and freestanding figures or groups. Such bronzes were made using the lost-wax technique probably introduced from Syria, and are almost entirely votive offerings left at the Hellenistic civilization Panhellenic sanctuaries of Olympia, Delos, and Delphi, though these were likely manufactured elsewhere, as a number of local styles may be identified by finds from Athens, Argos, and Sparta. Typical works of the era include the Karditsa warrior (Athens Br. 12831) and the many examples of the equestrian statuette (for example, NY Met. 21.88.24 online). The repertory of this bronze work is not confined to standing men and horses, however, as vase paintings of the time also depict imagery of stags, birds, beetles, hares, griffins and lions. There are no inscriptions on early-to-middle geometric sculpture, until the appearance of the Mantiklos "Apollo" (Boston 03.997) of the early 7th century BC found in Thebes. The figure is that of a standing man with a pseudo-daedalic form, underneath which lies the hexameter inscription reading "Mantiklos offered me as a tithe to Apollo of the silver bow do you, Phoibos [Apollo], give some pleasing favour in return". [13] Apart from the novelty of recording its own purpose, this sculpture adapts the formulae of oriental bronzes, as seen in the shorter more triangular face and slightly advancing left leg. This is sometimes seen as anticipating the greater expressive freedom of the 7th century BC and, as such, the Mantiklos figure is referred to in some quarters as proto-Daedalic.

Archaic Edit

Inspired by the monumental stone sculpture of ancient Egypt [15] and Mesopotamia, the Greeks began again to carve in stone. Free-standing figures share the solidity and frontal stance characteristic of Eastern models, but their forms are more dynamic than those of Egyptian sculpture, as for example the Lady of Auxerre and Torso of Hera (Early Archaic period, c. 660–580 BC , both in the Louvre, Paris). After about 575 BC, figures such as these, both male and female, began wearing the so-called archaic smile. This expression, which has no specific appropriateness to the person or situation depicted, may have been a device to give the figures a distinctive human characteristic.

Three types of figures prevailed—the standing nude male youth (kouros, plural kouroi), the standing draped girl (kore, plural korai), and the seated woman. All emphasize and generalize the essential features of the human figure and show an increasingly accurate comprehension of human anatomy. The youths were either sepulchral or votive statues. Examples are Apollo (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), an early work the Strangford Apollo from Anafi (British Museum), a much later work and the Anavyssos Kouros (National Archaeological Museum of Athens). More of the musculature and skeletal structure is visible in this statue than in earlier works. The standing, draped girls have a wide range of expression, as in the sculptures in the Acropolis Museum of Athens. Their drapery is carved and painted with the delicacy and meticulousness common in the details of sculpture of this period.

The Greeks thus decided very early on that the human form was the most important subject for artistic endeavour. Seeing their gods as having human form, there was no distinction between the sacred and the secular in art—the human body was both secular and sacred. A male nude without any attachments such as a bow or a club, could just as easily be Apollo or Heracles as that year's Olympic boxing champion. In the Archaic Period the most important sculptural form was the kouros (See for example Biton and Kleobis). The kore was also common Greek art did not present female nudity (unless the intention was pornographic) until the 4th century BC, although the development of techniques to represent drapery is obviously important.

As with pottery, the Greeks did not produce sculpture merely for artistic display. Statues were commissioned either by aristocratic individuals or by the state, and used for public memorials, as offerings to temples, oracles and sanctuaries (as is frequently shown by inscriptions on the statues), or as markers for graves. Statues in the Archaic period were not all intended to represent specific individuals. They were depictions of an ideal—beauty, piety, honor or sacrifice. These were always depictions of young men, ranging in age from adolescence to early maturity, even when placed on the graves of (presumably) elderly citizens. Kouroi were all stylistically similar. Graduations in the social stature of the person commissioning the statue were indicated by size rather than artistic innovations.

Dipylon Kouros, c. 600 BC, Athens, Kerameikos Museum.

The Moschophoros or calf-bearer, c. 570 BC, Athens, Acropolis Museum.

Euthydikos Kore. c. 490 BC, Athens, authorized replica, original in National Archaeological Museum of Athens

An Ethiopian's head and female head, with a kalos inscription. Attic Greek janiform red-figure aryballos, c. 520–510 BC.

Classical Edit

The Classical period saw a revolution of Greek sculpture, sometimes associated by historians with the popular culture surrounding the introduction of democracy and the end of the aristocratic culture associated with the kouroi. The Classical period saw changes in the style and function of sculpture, along with a dramatic increase in the technical skill of Greek sculptors in depicting realistic human forms. Poses also became more naturalistic, notably during the beginning of the period. This is embodied in works such as the Kritios Boy (480 BC), sculpted with the earliest known use of contrapposto ('counterpose'), and the Charioteer of Delphi (474 BC), which demonstrates a transition to more naturalistic sculpture. From about 500 BC, Greek statues began increasingly to depict real people, as opposed to vague interpretations of myth or entirely fictional votive statues, although the style in which they were represented had not yet developed into a realistic form of portraiture. The statues of Harmodius and Aristogeiton, set up in Athens mark the overthrow of the aristocratic tyranny, and have been said to be the first public monuments to show actual individuals.

The Classical Period also saw an increase in the use of statues and sculptures as decorations of buildings. The characteristic temples of the Classical era, such as the Parthenon in Athens, and the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, used relief sculpture for decorative friezes, and sculpture in the round to fill the triangular fields of the pediments. The difficult aesthetic and technical challenge stimulated much in the way of sculptural innovation. Most of these works survive only in fragments, for example the Parthenon Marbles, roughly half of which are in the British Museum.

Funeral statuary evolved during this period from the rigid and impersonal kouros of the Archaic period to the highly personal family groups of the Classical period. These monuments are commonly found in the suburbs of Athens, which in ancient times were cemeteries on the outskirts of the city. Although some of them depict "ideal" types—the mourning mother, the dutiful son—they increasingly depicted real people, typically showing the departed taking his dignified leave from his family. This is a notable increase in the level of emotion relative to the Archaic and Geometrical eras.

Another notable change is the burgeoning of artistic credit in sculpture. The entirety of information known about sculpture in the Archaic and Geometrical periods are centered upon the works themselves, and seldom, if ever, on the sculptors. Examples include Phidias, known to have overseen the design and building of the Parthenon, and Praxiteles, whose nude female sculptures were the first to be considered artistically respectable. Praxiteles' Aphrodite of Knidos, which survives in copies, was often referenced to and praised by Pliny the Elder.

Lysistratus is said to have been the first to use plaster molds taken from living people to produce lost-wax portraits, and to have also developed a technique of casting from existing statues. He came from a family of sculptors and his brother, Lysippos of Sicyon, produced fifteen hundred statues in his career. [16]

The Statue of Zeus at Olympia and the Statue of Athena Parthenos (both chryselephantine and executed by Phidias or under his direction, and considered to be the greatest of the Classical Sculptures), are lost, although smaller copies (in other materials) and good descriptions of both still exist. Their size and magnificence prompted rivals to seize them in the Byzantine period, and both were removed to Constantinople, where they were later destroyed.

Kritios Boy. Marble, c. 480 BC. Acropolis Museum, Athens.

So-called Venus Braschi by Praxiteles, type of the Knidian Aphrodite, Munich Glyptothek.

Family group on a grave marker from Athens, National Archaeological Museum, Athens

Terracotta vase in the shape of Dionysus' head, ca. 410 BC on display in the Ancient Agora Museum in Athens, housed in the Stoa of Attalus

Athenian cavalryman Dexileos fighting a naked hoplite in the Corinthian War. [17] Dexileos was killed in action near Corinth in the summer of 394 BC, probably in the Battle of Nemea, [17] or in a proximate engagement. [18] Grave Stele of Dexileos, 394-393 BC.

Hellenistic Edit

The transition from the Classical to the Hellenistic period occurred during the 4th century BC. Greek art became increasingly diverse, influenced by the cultures of the peoples drawn into the Greek orbit, by the conquests of Alexander the Great (336 to 323 BC). In the view of some art historians, this is described as a decline in quality and originality however, individuals of the time may not have shared this outlook. Many sculptures previously considered classical masterpieces are now known to be of the Hellenistic age. The technical ability of the Hellenistic sculptors are clearly in evidence in such major works as the Winged Victory of Samothrace, and the Pergamon Altar. New centres of Greek culture, particularly in sculpture, developed in Alexandria, Antioch, Pergamum, and other cities. By the 2nd century BC, the rising power of Rome had also absorbed much of the Greek tradition—and an increasing proportion of its products as well.

During this period, sculpture again experienced a shift towards increasing naturalism. Common people, women, children, animals, and domestic scenes became acceptable subjects for sculpture, which was commissioned by wealthy families for the adornment of their homes and gardens. Realistic figures of men and women of all ages were produced, and sculptors no longer felt obliged to depict people as ideals of beauty or physical perfection. At the same time, new Hellenistic cities springing up in Egypt, Syria, and Anatolia required statues depicting the gods and heroes of Greece for their temples and public places. This made sculpture, like pottery, an industry, with the consequent standardisation and (some) lowering of quality. For these reasons, quite a few more Hellenistic statues survive to the present than those of the Classical period.

Alongside the natural shift towards naturalism, there was a shift in expression of the sculptures as well. Sculptures began expressing more power and energy during this time period. An easy way to see the shift in expressions during the Hellenistic period would be to compare it to the sculptures of the Classical period. The classical period had sculptures such as the Charioteer of Delphi expressing humility. The sculptures of the Hellenistic period however saw greater expressions of power and energy as demonstrated in the Jockey of Artemision. [19]

Some of the best known Hellenistic sculptures are the Winged Victory of Samothrace (2nd or 1st century BC), the statue of Aphrodite from the island of Melos known as the Venus de Milo (mid-2nd century BC), the Dying Gaul (about 230 BC), and the monumental group Laocoön and His Sons (late 1st century BC). All these statues depict Classical themes, but their treatment is far more sensuous and emotional than the austere taste of the Classical period would have allowed or its technical skills permitted. Hellenistic sculpture was also marked by an increase in scale, which culminated in the Colossus of Rhodes (late 3rd century), thought to have been roughly the same size as the Statue of Liberty. The combined effect of earthquakes and looting have destroyed this as well as any other very large works of this period that might have existed.

Following the conquests of Alexander the Great, Greek culture spread as far as India, as revealed by the excavations of Ai-Khanoum in eastern Afghanistan, and the civilization of the Greco-Bactrians and the Indo-Greeks. Greco-Buddhist art represented a syncretism between Greek art and the visual expression of Buddhism. Discoveries made since the end of the 19th century surrounding the (now submerged) ancient Egyptian city of Heracleum include a 4th-century BC depiction of Isis. The depiction is unusually sensual for depictions of the Egyptian goddess, as well as being uncharacteristically detailed and feminine, marking a combination of Egyptian and Hellenistic forms around the time of Alexander the Great's conquest of Egypt.

In Goa, India, were found Buddha statues in Greek styles. These are attributed to Greek converts to Buddhism, many of whom are known to have settled in Goa during Hellenistic times. [20] [21]

The Hellenistic Prince, a bronze statue originally thought to be a Seleucid, or Attalus II of Pergamon, now considered a portrait of a Roman general, made by a Greek artist working in Rome in the 2nd century BC.

Greek Art (c.650-27 BCE) History, Characteristics

Temple of Hephaistos (449) Athens.
The intact Doric style columns and
pediments are still clearly visible,
but the friezes and other decorations
have been lost.

Discus Thrower (Discobolus)
Roman copy of the original
bronze by Myron (425 BCE)
National Museum, Rome.

Aegean art of Classical Antiquity dates back to Minoan culture of the Third Millennium BCE, when the inhabitants of Crete, known as Minoans after their King Minos, began to establish a thriving culture around 2100 BCE, based on their successful maritime trading activities. Influenced by Sumerian art and other strands of Mesopotamian art, they built a series of palaces at Knossos, Phaestus and Akrotiri, as well as the creation of a wide range of fresco painting, stone carvings, ancient pottery and other artifacts. During the 15th century BCE, after a catastrophic earthquake, which destroyed most of her palaces, Crete was overrun by warlike Mycenean tribes from the Greek mainland. Mycenean culture duly became the dominant force in the eastern Mediterranean. Then, not long after launching the Trojan War (c.1194�), the city of Mycenae, along with its architecture and cultural possessions, was destroyed by a new set of maurauders, known as Dorians. At this point, most production of ancient art came to a standstill for about 400 years (1200-800), as the region descended into an era of warring kingdoms and chaos, known as the "Greek Dark Ages" (or the Geometric or Homeric Age).

Historical Background

Ancient Greek art proper "emerged" during the 8th century BCE (700-800), as things calmed down around the Aegean. (See also Etruscan art) About this time, iron was made into weapons/tools, people started using an alphabet, the first Olympic Games took place (776), a complex religion emerged, and a loose sense of cultural identity grew up around the idea of "Hellas" (Greece). By about 700, kingdoms began to be replaced by oligarchies and city-states. However, early forms of Greek art were largely confined to ceramic pottery, as the region suffered continued disruption from widespread famine, forced emigration (many Greeks left the mainland to colonize towns in Asia Minor and Italy), and social unrest. This restricted the development of architecture and most other types of art. Not until about 650, when maritime trade links were re-established between Greece and Egypt, as well as Anatolia, did Greek prosperity finally return and facilitate an upsurge of Greek culture.

Doryphorus (440) by Polykleitos.
Museo Archeologico Nazionale,
Naples. Among the greatest works
of sculpture from ancient Greece.
See the contrapposto stance
which creates tense and
relaxed parts of the body.

Venus de Milo (c.100 BCE)
(Aphrodite of Melos)
Louvre, Paris. An icon
of Hellenistic sculpture.

For details of colours and
pigments used by painters
in Ancient Greece, see:
Classical Colour Palette.

Chronology of Greek Art

The practice of fine art in ancient Greece evolved in three basic stages or periods:

Archaic Period (c.650-480 BCE)
Classical Period (c.480-323 BCE)
Hellenistic Period (c.323-27 BCE).

The Archaic era was a period of gradual experimentation. The Classical era then witnessed the flowering of mainland Greek power and artistic domination. The Hellenistic Period, which opened with the death of Alexander the Great, witnessed the creation of "Greek-style art" throughout the region, as more and more centres/colonies of Greek culture were established in Greek-controlled lands. The period also saw the decline and fall of Greece and the rise of Rome: in fact, it ends with the complete Roman conquest of the entire Mediterranean basin.

NOTE: It is important to note from the outset, apart from pottery, nearly all original art from Greek Antiquity - that is, sculpture, mural and panel paintings, mosaics, decorative art - has been lost, leaving us almost entirely dependent upon copies by Roman artists and a few written accounts. As a result, our knowledge of the chronology, evolution and extent of Greek visual culture is bound to be extremely sketchy, and should not be taken too seriously. The truth is, with a few exceptions, we know very little about the identity of Greek artists, what they painted or sculpted, and when they did it. For later artists inspired by the classical sculpture and architecture of ancient Greece, see: Classicism in Art (800 onwards).

Archaic Period (c.650-480 BCE)

Archaic Greek Pottery

The most developed art form of the pre-Archaic period (c.900-650) was undoubtedly Greek pottery. Often involving large vases and other vessels, it was decorated originally with linear designs (proto-geometric style), then more elaborate patterns (geometric style) of triangles, zigzags and other similar shapes. Geometric pottery includes some of the finest Greek artworks, with vases typically made according to a strict system of proportions. From about 700, renewed contacts with Anatolia, the Black Sea basin and the Middle East, led to a noticeable eastern influence (Oriental style), which was mastered by Corinth ceramicists. The new idiom featured a wider repertoire of motifs, such as curvilinear designs, as well as a host of composite creatures like sphinxes, griffins and chimeras. During the Archaic era itself, decoration became more and more figurative, as more animals, zoomorphs and then human figures themselves were included. This ceramic figure painting was the first sign of the enduring Greek fascination with the human body, as the noblest subject for a painter or sculptor: a fascination rekindled in the High Renaissance painting of Michelangelo and others. Another ceramic style introduced by Corinth was black-figure pottery: figures were first drawn in black silhouette, then marked with incised detail. Additional touches were added in purple or white. Favourite themes for black-figure imagery included: the revels of Dionysus and the Labours of Hercules. In time, Athens came to dominate black-figure style pottery, with its perfection of a richer black pigment, and a new orange-red pigment which led to red-figure pottery - an idiom that flourished 530-480. Famous Greek Archaic-era ceramic artists included the genius Exekias, as well as Kleitias (creator of the celebrated Francois Vase), Andokides, Euthymides, Ergotimos, Lydos, Nearchos and Sophilos. For more details and dates, see: Pottery Timeline.

Archaic Greek Architecture

It was during 6th and 7th centuries that stone was used for Greek public buildings (petrification), especially temples. Greek architecture relied on simple post-and-lintel building techniques: arches weren't used until the Roman era. The typical rectangular building was surrounded by a line of columns on all four sides (see, for instance, the Parthenon) or, less often, at the front and rear only (Temple of Athena Nike). Roofs were constructed with timber beams overlaid with terracotta tiles. Pediments (the triangular shape at each gable end) were decorated with relief sculpture or friezes, as was the row of lintels between the roof and the tops of the columns. Greek architects were the first to base their architectural design on the standard of proportionality. To do this, they introduced their "Classical Orders" - a set of design rules based on proportions between individual parts, such as the ratio between the width and height of a column. There were three such orders in early Greek architecture: Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. The Doric style was used in mainland Greece and later Greek settlements in Italy. The Ionic order was used in buildings along the west coast of Turkey and other Aegean islands. Famous buildings of ancient Greece constructed or begun during the Archaic period include: the Temple of Hera (600), the Temple of Athena on the Acropolis (550), and the Temples at Paestum (550 onwards). See also: Egyptian Architecture (c.3000 BCE onwards) and the importance of Egyptian architects such as Imhotep and others.

Greek architecture continued to be highly influential on later styles, including Renaissance as well as Neoclassical architecture, and even American architecture of the 19th and 20th century.

The history of art shows that building programs invariably stimulated the development of other forms of fine art, like sculpture and painting, as well as decorative art, and Archaic Greek architecture was no exception. The new temples and other public buildings all needed plenty of decorative sculpture, including statues, reliefs and friezes, as well as mural painting and mosaic art.

Archaic Greek Sculpture

Archaic Greek sculpture during this period was still heavily influenced by Egyptian sculpture, as well as Syrian techniques. Greek sculptors created stone friezes and reliefs, as well as statues (in stone, terracotta and bronze), and miniature works (in ivory and bone). The early style of freestanding Daedalic sculpture (650-600) - as exemplified by the works of Daedalus, Dipoinos and Skyllis - was dominated by two human stereotypes: the standing nude youth (kouros) and the standing draped girl (kore). Of these, the male nudes were seen as more important. To begin with, both the kouros and the kore were sculpted in a rather rigid, "frontal", Egyptian style, with wide-shoulders, narrow-waists, arms hanging, fists clenched, both feet on the ground, and a fixed "archaic smile": see, for instance, Lady of Auxerre (630, Louvre) and Kleobis and Biton (610-580, Archeological Museum of Delphi). As time passed, the representation of these formulaic statues became less rigid and more realistic. Later, more advanced, Archaic versions of kouroi and korai include the "Peplos Kore" (c.530, Acropolis Museum, Athens) and the "Kritios Boy" (Acropolis Museum, Athens). Other famous works include: the Strangford Apollo (600-580, British Museum) the Dipylon Kouros (c.600, Athens, Kerameikos Museum) the Anavysos Kouros (c.525, National Archeological Museum of Athens) and the fascinating frieze of the Siphnian Treasury, Delphi (c.525).

Archaic Greek Painting

Since most vases and sculptures were painted, the growth of pottery and sculpture during the 7th century led automatically to more work for Greek painters. In addition, the walls of many temples, municipal buildings and tombs were decorated with fresco painting, while their marble or wooden sculpture was coloured with tempera or encaustic paint. Encaustic had some of the lustre of oil painting, a medium unknown to the Greeks, and became a popular painting method for stone statues and architectural reliefs during the sixth century. Archaic Greek painting boasts very few painted panels: the only examples we have are the Pitsa panels decorated in stucco coloured with mineral pigments. Unfortunately, due to erosion, vandalism and destruction, few original Greek paintings have survived from this period. All that remains are a few painted slabs of terracotta (the terracotta metopes from the temple of Apollo at Thermon in Aitolia c.630), some wooden panels (the four Pitsa panels found in a cave in the northern Peloponnese), and murals (such as the 7th century battle scene taken from a temple at Kalapodi, near Thebes, and those excavated from underground tombs in Etruria). Apart from certain individuals, like Cimon of Cleonae, the names of Archaic Greek painters are generally unknown to us. The most prevalent art form to shed light on ancient Greek painting is pottery, which at least gives us a rough idea of Archaic aesthetics and techniques. Note, however, that vase-painting was seen as a low art form and is rarely referred to in Classical literature.

Classical Period (c.480-323 BCE)

Victory over the Persians in 490 BCE and 479 BCE established Athens as the strongest of the Greek city states. Despite external threats, it would retain its leading cultural role for the next few centuries. Indeed, during the fifth century BCE, Athens witnessed a creative resurgence which would not only dominate future Roman art, but when rediscovered by Renaissance Europe 2,000 years later, would constitute an absolute artistic standard for another four centuries. All this despite the fact that most Greek paintings and sculptures have been destroyed.

The main contribution of Greek Classicism to fine art, was undoubtedly its sculpture: in particular, the "Canon of Proportions" with its realization of the "ideal human body" - a concept which resonated so strongly with High Renaissance art, a thousand years later.

Classical Greek Pottery

During this era, Ceramic art and thus vase-painting experienced a progressive decline. Exactly why, we don't know, but, judging by the lack of innovations and the increasing sentimentality of the designs, the genre appears to have worn itself out. The final creative development was the White Ground technique, which had been introduced around 500. Unlike the black-figure and red-figure styles, which relied on clay slips to create pictures, the White Ground technique employed paint and gilding on a white clay background, and is best illustrated by the funerary lekythoi of the late 5th century. Apart from this single innovation, classical Greek pottery declined significantly in both quality and artistic merit, and eventually became dependent on local Hellenistic schools.

Classical Greek Architecture

Like most Greek visual art, building design reached its apogee during the Classical period, as the two main styles (or "orders") of Greek architecture, the Doric and the Ionic, came to define a timeless, harmonious, universal standard of architectural beauty. The Doric style was the more formal and austere - a style which predominated during the 4th and 5th centuries - while the Ionic was more relaxed and somewhat decorative - a style which became more popular during the more easy-going Hellenistic era. (Note: The Ionic Order later gave rise to the more ornate Corinthian style.)

The highpoint of ancient Greek architecture was arguably the Acropolis, the flat-topped, sacred hill on the outskirts of Athens. The first temples, erected here during the Archaic period, were destroyed by the Persians in 480, but when the city-state entered its golden age (c.460-430), its ruler Pericles appointed the sculptor Phidias to oversee the construction of a new complex. Most of the new buildings (the Parthenon, the Propylaea) were designed according to Doric proportions, though some included Ionic elements (Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheum). The Acropolis was added to, several times, during the Hellenistic and Roman eras. The Parthenon (447-432), remains the supreme example of classical Greek religious art. In its day, it would have been embellished with numerous wall-paintings and sculptures, yet even relatively devoid of adornment it stands as an unmistakeable monument to Greek culture. The biggest temple on the Acropolis hill, it was designed by Ictinus and Callicrates, and dedicated to the Goddess Athena. It originally housed a colossal multi-coloured statue entitled Athena the Virgin (Athena Parthenos), whose skin was sculpted by Phidias from ivory and whose clothes were created from gold fabric. Like all temples, the Parthenon was decorated throughout with architectural sculpture like reliefs and friezes, as well as free-standing statues, in marble, bronze and chryselephantine. In 1801, the art collector and antiquarian Lord Elgin (1766-1841) controversially shipped a large quantity of the Parthenon's marble sculpture (the "Elgin Marbles") to the British Museum in London.

Other famous examples of Classical Greek architecture include: the Temple of Zeus at Olympia (468-456), the Temple of Hephaistos (c.449 BCE), the Temple at Bassae, Arcadia (c.430), which contained the first Corinthian capital, the Theatre at Delphi (c.400), the Tholos Temple of Athena Pronaia (380-360), the Mausoleum at Harnicarnassus, Bodrum (353), the Lysicrates Monument in Athens (335), and the Temple of Apollo at Delphi (330).

Classical Greek Sculpture

In the history of sculpture, no period was more productive than the 150 years between 480 and 330 BCE. As far as plastic art is concerned, there may be sub-divided into: Early Classical Greek Sculpture (480-450), High Classical Greek Sculpture (450-400), and Late Classical Greek Sculpture (400-323).

During the era as a whole, there was a huge improvement in the technical ability of Greek sculptors to depict the human body in a naturalistic rather than rigid posture. Anatomy became more accurate and as a result statues started to look much more true-to-life. Also, bronze became the main medium for free-standing works due to its ability to maintain its shape, which permitted the sculpting of even more natural-looking poses. Subjects were broadened to include the full panoply of Gods and Goddesses, along with minor divinities, an extensive range of mythological narratives, and a diverse selection of athletes. Other specific developments included: the introduction of a Platonic "Canon of Proportions", to create an idealized human figure, and the invention of contrapposto. During the Late Classical era, the first respectable female nudes appeared.

Among the best known sculptors of the period, were: Myron (fl.480-444), Polykleitos (fl.450-430), Callimachus (fl.432-408), Skopas (fl.395-350), Lysippos (c.395-305), Praxiteles (fl.375-335), and Leochares (fl.340-320). These artists worked mainly in marble, bronze, occasionally wood, bone, and ivory. Stone sculpture was carved by hand from a block of marble or a high-quality limestone, using metal tools. These sculptures might be free-standing statues, or reliefs/friezes - that is, only partially carved from a block. Bronze sculpture was considered to be superior, not least because of the extra cost of bronze, and were typically cast using the lost wax method. Even more expensive was chryselephantine sculpture which was reserved for major cult statues. Ivory carving was another specialist genre, for small-scale, personal works, as was wood-carving.

As mentioned above, the Parthenon was a typical example of how the Greeks used sculpture to decorate and enhance their religious buildings. Originally, the Parthenon's sculptures fell into three groups. (1) On the triangular pediments at either end were large-scale free-standing groups containing numerous figures of Gods and mythological scenes. (2) Along both sides were almost 100 reliefs of struggling figures including Gods, humans, centaurs and others. (3) Around the whole building ran another relief, some 150 metres in length, which portrayed the Great Panathenia - a religious 4-yearly festival in praise of Athena. Despite being badly damaged, the Parthenon sculptures reveal the supreme artistic ability of their creators. Above all, they - like many other classical Greek sculptures - reveal an astonishing sense of movement as well as a noted realism of the human body.

The greatest sculptures of the Classical era include: Leonidas, King of Sparta (c.480), The Charioteer of Delphi (c.475) Discobolus (c.450) by Myron The Farnese Heracles (5th Century) Athena Parthenos (c.447-5) by Phidias Doryphorus (440) by Polykleitos Youth of Antikythera (4th Century) Aphrodite of Knidos (350-40) by Praxiteles and Apollo Belvedere (c.330) by Leochares.

Classical Greek Painting

Classical Greek painting reveals a grasp of linear perspective and naturalist representation which would remain unsurpassed until the Italian High Renaissance. Apart from vase-painting, all types of painting flourished during the Classical period. According to authors like Pliny (23-79 CE) or Pausanias (active 143-176 CE), the highest form was panel painting, done in encaustic or tempera. Subjects included figurative scenes, portraits and still-lifes, and exhibitions - for instance at Athens and Delphi - were relatively common. Alas, due to the perishable nature of these panels along with centuries of looting and vandalism, not a single Greek Classical panel painting of any quality has survived, nor any Roman copy.

Fresco painting was a common method of mural decoration in temples, public buildings, houses and tombs but these larger artworks generally had a lower reputation than panel paintings. The most celebrated extant example of Greek wall painting is the famous Tomb of the Diver at Paestum (c.480), one of many such grave decorations in the Greek colonies in Italy. Another famous work was created for the Great Tomb at Verfina (c.326 BCE), whose facade was decorated with a large wall painting of a royal lion hunt. The background was left white, with landscape being indicated by a single tree and the ground line. As well as the style of its background and subjects, the mural is noted for its subtle depictions of light and shadow as well as the use of a technique called Optical Fusion (the juxtaposition of lines of different colours) - a rather curious forerunner of Seurat's 19th century Pointillism.

The painting of stone, terracotta and wood sculpture was another specialist technique mastered by Greek artists. Stone sculptures were typically painted in bold colours though usually, only those parts of the statue which depicted clothing, or hair were coloured, while the skin was left in the natural stone colour, but on occasion the entire sculpture was painted. Sculpture-painting was viewed a distinctive art - an early type of mixed-media - rather than merely a sculptural enhancement. In addition to paint, the statue might also be adorned with precious materials.

The most famous 5th century Classical Greek painters included: Apollodorus (noted for his Skiagraphia - a primitive type of chiaroscuro) his pupil, the great Zeuxis of Heraclea (noted for his easel-paintings and trompe l'oeil) as well as Agatharchos (the first to have used graphical perspective on a large scale) Parrhasius (best known for his drawing, and his picture of Theseus in the Capitol at Rome) and Timarete (one of the greatest female Greek painters, noted for a panel painting at Ephesus of the goddess Diana).

During the late classical period (400-323 BCE), which saw the flourishing of the Macedonian Empire under Philip II and his son Alexander the Great, Athens continued to be the dominant cultural centre of mainland Greece. This was the high point of ancient Greek painting, with artists like the talented and influential Apelles of Kos - official painter to Philip II of Macedonia and his son Alexander the Great - adding new techniques of highlighting, shading and colouring. Other famous 4th century artists included Apelles' rivals Antiphilus (a specialist in light and shade, genre painting and caricature) and Protogenes (noted for his meticulous finishing) Euphranor of Corinth (the only Classical artist to excel at both painting and sculpture) Eupompus (founder of the Sicyon school) and the history painter Androkydes of Cyzicus (known for his cntroversial history painting depicting the Battle of Plataea).

The period of Hellenistic art opens with the death of Alexander the Great (356-323) and the incorporation of the Persian Empire into the Greek world. By this point, Hellenism had spread throughout the civilized world, and centres of Greek arts and culture included cities like Alexandria, Antioch, Pergamum, Miletus, as well as towns and other settlements in Asia Minor, Anatolia, Egypt, Italy, Crete, Cyprus, Rhodes and the other islands of the Aegean. Greek culture was thus utterly dominant. But the sudden demise of Alexander triggered a rapid decline of Greek imperial power, as his massive empire was divided between three of his generals - Antigonus I who received Greece and Macedonia Seleucus I who took over controlled Anatolia, Mesopotamia and Persia and Ptolemy I who ruled Egypt. Paradoxically therefore, this period is marked by massive Greek cultural influence, but weakening Greek power. By 27 BCE, Greece and its empire would be ruled from Ancient Rome, but even then, the Romans would continue to revere and emulate Greek art for centuries.

Hellenistic Architecture

The division of the Greek Empire into separate entities, each with its own ruler and dynasty, created huge new opportunities for self-aggrandisement. In Asia Minor, a new capital city was built at Pergamon (Pergamum), by the Attalids in Persia, the Seleucids evolved a form of Baroque-style building design in Egypt, the Ptolemaic dynasty constructed the lighthouse and library at Alexandria. Palatial architecture was revitalized and numerous municipal structures were built to boost the influence of local rulers.

Temple architecture, however, experienced a major slump. From 300 BCE onwards, the Greek peripteral temple (single row of pillars on all sides) lost much of its importance: indeed, except for some activity in the western half of Asia Minor temple construction came to a virtual stop during the third century, both in mainland Greece and in the nearby Greek colonies. Even monumental projects, like the Artemision at Sardis and the temple of Apollo at Didyma near Miletus, made little progress. All this changed during the second century, when temple building experienced something of a revival due partly to increased prosperity, partly to improvements made by the architect Hermogenes of Priene to the Ionic style of architecture, and partly to the cultural propaganda war waged (for increased influence) between the various Hellenistic kingdoms, and between them and Rome. In the process, temple architecture was revived, and an extensive number of Greek temples - as well as small-scale structures (pseudoperipteros) and shrines (naiskoi) - were erected in southern Asia Minor, Egypt and North Africa. As far as styles went, the restrained Doric style of temple architecture fell completely out of fashion, since Hellenism demanded the more flamboyant forms of the Ionic and Corinthian Orders. Admired by the Roman architect Vitruvius (c.78-10 BCE), famous examples of Hellenistic architecture include: the Great Theatre at Ephesus (3rd-1st century) the Stoa of Attalus (159-138) and the clock house Tower of the Winds at Athens.

Hellenistic Sculpture

Hellenistic Greek sculpture continued the Classical trend towards ever greater naturalism. Animals, as well as ordinary people of all ages, became acceptable subjects for sculpture, which was frequently commissioned by wealthy individuals or families to decorate their homes and gardens. Sculptors no longer felt obliged to portray men and women as ideals of beauty. In fact, the idealized classical serenity of the fifth and fourth centuries gave way to greater emotionalism, an intense realism, and an almost Baroque-like dramatization of subject matter. For a typical style of this form of plastic art, see Pergamene School of Hellenistic Sculpture (241-133 BCE).

As a result of the spread of Greek culture (Hellenization), there was also much greater demand from the newly established overseas Greek cultural centres in Egypt, Syria, and Turkey for statues and reliefs of Greek Gods, Goddesses and heroic figures for their temples and public areas. Thus a large market developed in the production and export of Greek sculpture, leading to a fall in workmanship and creativity. Also, in their quest for greater expressionism, Greek sculptors resorted to more monumental works, a practice which found its ultimate expression in the Colossus of Rhodes (c.220 BCE).

Famous Greek sculptures of the period include: "The Farnese Bull" (2nd Century) the "Dying Gaul" (232) by Epigonus the "Winged Victory of Samothrace" (c.1st/2nd century BCE) The Pergamon Altar (c.180-150) "The Medici Venus" (150-100) The Three Graces (2nd Century) Venus de Milo (c.100) by Andros of Antioch Laocoon and His Sons (c.42-20 BCE) by Hagesander, Athenodoros and Polydorus. For more information, please see: Hellenistic Statues and Reliefs.

For a general comparison, see: Roman Sculpture. For a particular genre, see: Roman Relief Sculpture. For an excellent example of Hellenistic Roman art of the turn of the Millennium, please see the extraordinary marble relief sculptures of the Ara Pacis Augustae (c.13-9 BCE).

For the effect of Greek sculpture on later styles, see: Renaissance Sculpture (c.1400-1530) and also Neoclassical Sculpture (1750-1850).

The increased demand for Greek-style sculpture was mirrored by a similar increase in the popularity of Hellenistic Greek painting, which was taught and propagated in a number of separate schools, both on the mainland and in the islands. Regarding subject-matter, Classical favourites such as mythology and contemporary events were superceded by genre paintings, animal studies, still lifes, landscapes and other similar subjects, largely in line with the decorative styles uncovered at Herculaneum and Pompeii (1st century BCE and later), many of which are believed to be copies of Greek originals.

Perhaps the greatest contribution of Hellenist painters was in portrait art, notably the Fayum mummy portraits, dating from the 1st century BCE onwards. These beautifully preserved panel paintings, from the Coptic period - in all, some some 900 works - are the only significant body of art to have survived intact from Greek Antiquity. Found mostly around the Fayum (Faiyum) Basin in Egypt, these realistic facial portraits were attached to the funeral cloth itself, so as to cover the faces of mummified bodies. Artistically speaking, the images belong to the Greek style of portraiture, rather than any Egyptian tradition. See also Greek Mural and Panel Painting Legacy.

The real tragedy of Greek art is the fact that so much of it has disappeared. Only a very small number of temples - like the Parthenon and the Temple of Hephaestus - have survived. Greece built five Wonders of the World (the Colossus of Rhodes, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus and the Lighthouse of Alexandria), yet only ruined fragments have survived. Similarly, the vast majority of all sculpture has been destroyed. Greek bronzes and other works of Greek metalwork were mostly melted down and converted to tools or weapons, while stone statues were pillaged or broken down for use as building material. Roughly 99 percent of all Greek paintings have also disappeared.

Greek Artists Have Kept Traditions Alive

But even though this part of our heritage has disappeared, the traditions that gave birth to it, live on. Here's why. By the time Greece was superceded by Rome, during the 1st century BCE, a huge number of talented Greek sculptors and painters were already working in Italy, attracted by the amount of lucrative commissions. These artists and their artistic descendants, thrived in Rome for five centuries, before fleeing the city just before the barbarians sacked it in the fifth century CE, to create new forms of art in Constantinople the capital of Eastern Christianity. They thrived here, at the headquarters of Byzantine art, for almost a thousand years before leaving the city (soon to be captured by the Turks) for Venice, to help start the Italian Renaissance. Throughout this entire period, these migratory Greek artists retained their traditions (albeit adapted along the way), which they bequeathed to the eras of Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical and Modern eras. See, for instance, the Classical Revival in modern art (c.1900-30). During the 18th century, Greek architecture was an important attraction for intrepid travellers on the Grand Tour, who crossed the Ionian Sea from Naples. In summary: Greek artworks may have disappeared, but Greek art is still very much alive in the traditions of our academies, and the works of our greatest artists.

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Watch the video: Lady of Auxerre (May 2022).