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Chapter 4 - Greece


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An important contributing factor to the character and detail of Greek architecture and decoration was the ready availability in those mountains of a perfect material:
The Greeks' passions
To know truth and to understand
The exposed geography of Greece encouraged interaction with other lands and peoples. Of all these influences on Greek culture, the two closest and most powerful were
the civilizations of Crete and Mycenae. The older of those two cultures was that of Crete.
Minoan characteristics:
lighthearded "fairyland" character; famous for dancing; 1700 B.C. a major earthquake destroyed most of the structures on the island; volcanic eruption, invasion of the Mycenaeans from Greek mainland. Minoan architecture: The Palace of King Minos at Knossos;
Minoan Architecture: The Palace of King Minos at Knossos.

The palace's most splendid and significant room is the...
throne room which contains a stone throne built for the ruler and a row of stone benches at each side for his council. Its walls are covered with frescoes of mythical beats and foliage. A stately staircase connects 3 floors of the palace, wrapped around a large light well, and is lined by a procession of 14 tapered columns.
Fine example of Minoan Pottery have been dated to the 12th century and even later, both on mainland Greece and in the Aegean islands. A good example from the book...
A picture of a jar painted with a stylized octopus from the Cyclades Islands in the Aegean Sea but found on the Greek mainland. c. 1150 B.C., 9 inches high.
Mycenaean Age characteristics:
Period of high cultural achievement - skills in metallurgy, pottery, and architecture (large palaces with frescoes). Named from Kingdom of Mycenae, always cited on hilltops, centered on spacious halls called megara (great rooms) on the north side of a courtyard which it faced with a portico (porch w/roof supported by cols.) Megaron is always isolated - some believe its use was restricted to the men of the palace.
Mycenaean Age collapsed following
Trojan Wars and invasion of Dorians
Greek Dark Ages characteristics
Loss of cultural information and skills; Homer discusses battlefield surgery; earliest use of metal; Thespus was first actor - one person did performances. stage is important - auditorium, architecture to enhance arts and that's where things start to change; water supply comes into Athens; more eating/drinking, city planning: sanitation
Archaic period
Beginning of Greek monumental stone sculpture; developments in naturalistic representation of human figure; development of city/state or Polis, rise of aristocracies; Greek colonization of Southern Italy & Sicily, Greek pottery, "carrier pigeons".
Classical Period characteristics
- 3 people on stage "drama"; height of politics and culture; full development of Democratic system of Government; building of Parthenon; creation of the tragedies of Sophocles, Aeschylus and Euripides; Founding of philosophical schools by Socrates and Plato; Alexander the Great dies.
Greeks had ______, it was part of the system
slaves - war created slaves, orphans sometimes became slaves.
Spartans invented ...
chemical warfare
Hellenistic Period characterized by
culture and learning; between conquest of persian by Alexander and establishment of Roman Supremacy; Greek culture and learning were pre-eminent in the Mediterranean & Asia Minor; Art was being taught - mathematics ruled; everything artistic can be broken down into math; now have oil lamps; 146 BC Rome takes over Greece; Post & lintel construction 1200 -30 BC roof supports design; Pediment - collonade porticos characterized by pediment.
The architrave, frieze, and cornice together form a combination of the three details known as the entablature.

architrave - The support below the Frieze but above the Capital
Freize - beams that are covered with a decorative panel (Triglyph and Metope).
Cornice - The trusses extend beyond the architrave and frieze and create an overhang called the cornice.
A classical order, either Greek or Roman
specifies the style of a column, the style of the entablature (the beam-like member that the column supports), the details of both column and entablature, and the relationship between the component parts of the whole assemblage.
In all the history of Greek architecture, there were only two principal orders, and one subsidiary order
Doric and the Ionic - one subsidiary order - the Corinthian. Two principal orders developed on opposite shores of the Aegean Sea - the Doric on the west, the Ionic on the east, both have common elements inherited from Mycenae and Egypt. The Doric order had achieved a definite form by the 7th century B.C., the Ionic by the 6th, both perfected in the fifth.
The Roman architect-theorist Vitruvious characterized these two styles as male and female. The Doric column as ___, the Ionic order as ___.
The Doric column, as used in buildings, began to exhibit the proportion, strength and beauty of the body of man. Just so afterward, when they desired to construct a temple to Diana in a new style of beauty, they translated the footprints (lower diameters) into terms characteristic of the slenderness of women and the volute of the Ionic order, he thought, resembled graceful curling hair. The grave, severe Dorian of Hellas and the lighter, luxurious emigrant to Asia who stands for the type of the Ionian race farthest removed from the Dorian.
Elements of the Greek Doric order
Pediment; Entablature; Column; Crepidoma
- Pediment includes Acroterion (cyma molding and Cornice;
- Entablature includes Cornice, Frieze (Triglyph and Metope) and Architrave;
- Column includes Capital (Abacuys and Echinus) and Shaft
- Crepidoma includes Stylobate and Stereobates
Elements of Greek Ionic order
Pediment, Entablature, Column, and Crepiodma.
Pediment includes Cyma Molding.
Entablature includes Cornice or Facia, Frieze and Architrave.
Column includes Capital which includes the Abacus and Volute and the Shaft and Base.
Crepidoma includes Stylobate and Stereobates
Corinthian Order characteristics
More decorative than the Doric or the Ionic. It's name derives form Greek city of Corinth. Appearing late, can be considered an ornate version of the Ionic, and was used for relatively few of the Greek buildings. A single Corinthian column, a recent invention at the time, appeared in the interior of the fifth century Temple of Apollo at Bassae. It was more extensively used in the Temple of Zeus Olympius (also called the Olympieum) at Athens, the Temple of Zeus at Euromus, and the temple at Knidos, in Turkey that housed Praxiteles' famous statute of Aphrodite. The Corinthian capital in the shape of an upside down bell, bristles with a multitude of leaf shapes modeled on the prickly foliage of the acanthus plant. Entablature frieze is sometimes omitted, when present, its the lightest of any order for it is carried by the most slender columns.
Not an order, but a dramatic exception from the three other orders is the use of a ...
caryatid, a sculpted female figure, in place of a column. Such figures occur often in fanciful furniture designs, forming chair and table legs, but they also made occasional appearances in Greek architecture. Perhaps the earliest were a pair at the entrance to the Siphnian Treasury (a storehouse of the men of Siphnios) in the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi; it dates from around 520 B.C. But the most prominent use of caryatids is on the south porch of the Erechtheum on the Acropolis of Athens, built between 421 and 405 B.C. Six figures stand erect, facing the Partehenon, their heads supporting abaci and the entablature above, the pleats of their gowns simulating column flutes. Originally, it is thought their arms were extended, holding cups as offerings to passing processions. May have had their inspiration in Egypt. A Greek variation on the caryatid is a canephora - similar figure carrying a replica of a basket on her head rather than an abacus. Romans later produce a male version called a telamon.
Most famous temple in Athens of Ionic style
The gigantic Ionic temple of Artemis at Ephesus. It was one of the few Greek temples to approach the size of Egyptian examples. The tiny Temple of Athena Nike on the Acropolis only 18 by 27 ft was also Ionic, and there were many other examples.

The Ionic column, in addition to shaft and capital, has a 3rd element, a base composed of moldings circular in plan and of slightly greater diameter than the shaft. The capital is its most distinguishing characteristic with the spiral scrolls called volutes.
Which part of a column identifies order
capital - top most part
the Stoa of Attalus
"...the Stoa of a two-storey building, 116 m x 19.4 m (381 ft x 63 ft 8 in), with a Doric colonnade on the ground floor, and an Ionic upper colonnade incorporating a balustrade. All the façade is in marble. The inner ground floor colonnades are equal in height to the exterior to support the floor above, but at double spacing they are Ionic. The inner colonnade of the upper floor has columns of palm-leaf design developed in Pergamum. There is a row of rooms behind the colonnades on both floors. The details are unsatisfactory, in comparison with the forms of Classical Athenian architecture. More important is the way the stoas are used to close off the agora to a regular plan."
Describing the Greek house. The courtyard opened to a central covered space, the andron, which was used for dining and where there was an alter to the household gods. The andron, or men's dining room, was the most honored room in the house, and the one most likely to be adorned with mosaic designs on the floor. It varied in size but the most conventional size accommodated 7 couches (klini) placed around the walls for reclining diners. There was also a living room with a central hearth or oikos.
In architecture, the central part of the classical entablature, below the cornice and above the architrave; or a horizontal painted or sculptured panel; or a horizontal member beneath a table top.
Many of the most poignant examples of Greek sculpture are seen in the funeral monuments and gravestones known as stelae, on which the deceased are represented as in life. Husbands and wives are often shown in attitudes expressive of their affection and companionship, and there are other sorts of domestic scenes as well. Some of these stela reliefs, along with paintings on Greek vases, are not only admirable examples of Greek art, but also some of our best sources of information about another art form, Greek furniture.
It was the most famous sculpture of its day, and the goddess herself was said to have posed for it.
The goddess Aphrodite in a Roman copy of a famous sculpture by Praxiteles for the shrine at Knidos.
Because furniture was frequently pictured on Greek vases and sculpture and sometimes described in Greek literature we have a good idea of its appearance.

True or False?
What materials were used for Greek furniture?
Wood was the dominant material for Greek furniture and the plentiful species included beech, citrus, maple, oak, and willow. But marble and bronze were sometimes used instead, and the finest of the wood pieces had inlays of ivory, ebony, and precious stones. The feet of tables and chairs were sometimes encased in silver.
The average Greek house
Windowless to the outside, the rooms of the Greek house opened to a central courtyard or series of courtyards. Its floors were commonly hardened earth, sometimes paved with stone, sometimes covered with reed mats. Its walls of sun-dried mud brick, sitting on foundations of stone, would, in early Greece have been simply plastered and whitewashed. The fifth-century statesman and general Alcibiades, in fact, created a scandal among his fellow Athenians when he painted the walls of his house. By the end of the fifth century, house walls were being covered with real or imitation marble, mosaics, murals, and tapestries. And Homer, in the Iliad, vi, refers to the "sumptuous house of Paris, which that prince had built with the aid of the most cunning architects in Troy.
greek couch
council house - a roofed assembly hall. One famous one was in the town of Priene built c. 200 B.C., could seat 600-700 on tiers of backless stone seats, virtually the whole population of the town at the time. Its stone walls and stone piers supported a wooden roof. Similar council houses were built at Miletus and Athens.
Other types of public gatherings took place in the Greek stoa, which functioned as a town center and marketplace. In its simplest form, the stoa was a colonnade placed in front of a solid wall, the wall frequently decorated with painting. The area between the columns and the wall was roofed, but all was open to the weather through the colonnade. More complex versions had two colonnades and a wall. And the most elaborate had a row of enclosed shops at the back, rather than a simple wall. The Stoa of Attalos at Athens built in the mid-second century B.C., was even grander, with two floor,s each having two rows of columns and a row of shops. On the lower floor, the outer colonnade was of the Doric order, and the inner was Ionic. On the upper floor, the outer colonnade was Ionic, and the inner a simplified version of Corinthian. Its total depth was 66 feet and length was 377 feet.
The largest and most legendary of the tomb or funerary Greek buildings or structures was built for a provincial governor in the east..
Mausolus of Halicarnassus, a town that has been replaced by the modern city of Bodrun, Turkey. The building gave its name to a whole genre of building, the mausoleum. It reportedly had a massive base, an Ionic peristyle containing the sarcophagus, and a pyramidal roof. It was built c. 352 B.C. and was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
The most typical funerary structure in Greece was
the tholos. A cylindrical building form generally erected as a memorial to the dead, but sometimes having other uses (a fifth-century one at Athens apparently having served as a sort of dining club for the Athenian senators. Sometimes tholoi were surrounded by colonnades, sometimes not. In the fourth-century example at Epidauros, there were colonnades both inside and out. In this case, the 26 exterior columns were of the Doric order, the 14 interior ones Corinthian, and there was a striking pavement pattern of alternating diamonds of black and white stone.
The Greeks' high achievement in the art of sculpture was aided by the knowledge of the earlier sculpture of
Crete and Mycenae and of the magnificent sculptures and reliefs of Egypt.
Greek sculpture development can be divided into three parts:
Archaic Sculpture - corresponding to the Archaic period of Greek architecture; Hellenic Sculpture - corresponding to the Classical period and to the Fourth Century; and finally, as in architecture and the other arts, the Hellenistic.
Archaic Sculpture dates and characteristics
The oldest marble statue dates from about 620 B.C. This was more primitive in character than the sculpture produced in Egypt in her earliest history. Greek forms were highly conventionalized. The earliest figures were influenced by those of Egypt, Assyria, Crete, and Greece's own Ionian coast. By 550 B.C. the first Greek figures were being made in which movement was indicated by the position of the legs and in which emotion was expressed in the face by a sort of grimace, now called the Archaic smile. Eyes were modeled with an Oriental slant, and the eyeballs bulged in a convex surface.
Hellenic Sculpture - dates and characteristics
After the Greeks' defeat of the Persians at Marathon in 490 B.C., a great advance occurred in both relief and freestanding sculpture. From this time on, many statues were made commemorating heroic contests and deeds. During the latter portion of the fifth century, the work of Greece's three greatest sculptors was produced. These three were Polyclitus, Myron, and Phidias.
Was the first known sculptor to show figures in action, standing on one foot. he is most admired for his bronze statues of athletes, in which he displayed his ideal of physical perfection. A famous example is the Doryphorus or Spear Bearer, which we know only through a Roman copy. His son, Polyclitus the younger, was also a sculptor, but was better known as an architect, his designs including the great theater at Epidauros.
Myron also represented athletes in Bronze. A fine example is the Discobolus or Discus Thrower, also known today only through a Roman copy. In his day, Myron was highly praised for his sculptures of animals, but none of these survives.
The most celebrated of the fifth-century Greek sculptors, was responsible for much of the adornment of the city of Athens. his two most famous statues, both now vanished, were the great figure of Athena in the Parthenon, the chief treasure of Athens and the figure of Zeus in the temple of Olympia. Both figures were colossal and both were mad in chryselephantine, a technique combining ivory veneers for the flesh areas (imported from Elephantine in Egypt) with beaten gold for the draperies. Phidias was also in charge of all the sculptural reliefs on the Parthenon. Because the carving of all the friezes, all the metopes, and both the pediments was accomplished in less than a decade, however, it is unlikely that a single sculptor could have carved them; much of the work may have been done by Phidias's pupils and assistants.
Name the three greatest sculptors in the Hellenic period and the characteristics of the pieces.
Polyclitus, Myron, Phidias. All three Hellenic colleagues expressed the Greek adoration of the human body, which approached the majesty and grace attributed to the deities. Faces were slightly conventionalized and expressed the dignity, strength, and serenity that characterized the people of this period. Like Greek architecture, Greek sculpture was often colored, and in many examples fragments of pigmentation remain.
After the humiliation of Athens by Sparta in 404 B.C., sculpture increased in emotional representations. During the Fourth Century that followed, Greek sculpture expressed
enthusiasm, pathos, and elegance. Compared to earlier examples, there was greater freedom of motion, more realism, and more accuracy of detail. Facial expressions indicated a deeper consciousness and intensity of spiritual struggle; hair was modeled more naturally, the head became more oval and less blocky, eyes were more deeply set, passion and nervousness were made visible.
The greatest sculptors of Fourth Century Greece were
Scopas and Praxiteless.
Scopas was known among his peers as
the first sculptor (Fourth Century Greece) to display violent feelings in his figures' faces. His dramatic work was on a number of prominent buildings, including the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. Roman copies of his freestanding sculptures can be seen in the Villa Borghese, Rome, and the Fogg Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Praxiteles is honored for
(as a Fourth Century Sculptor) the strength of his conceptions and the delicacy of their execution. Aware, more than most sculptors, of the translucency of marble, he emphasized this quality with soft transitions between contours. His finest work was thought to be the Aphrodite of Knidos, a copy of which is in the Vatican Museum, Rome.
The kline
was a bed, but also had some of the functions of the modern sofa and also served as seating for dining. It was in many ways similar in use to the modern chaise longue or "long chair" used for sleeping, napping, eating, drinking, lounging, and conversing.

The kline was usually made of wood, klini of maple and olive being specifically mentioned in the Odyssey, the epic poem attributed to Homer. They were also made of iron or bronze, however, and sometimes wood klini were finished with silver ivory feet.

Klini had sweeping curved headboards, which also acted as headrests for those who were reclining while dining. In some cases, they also had footboards, but they were generally lower than the headboards.
The legs on the kline were of three types:
rectangular in section and curving away from the frame, round in section and vertical, with turnings - that is, having been turned on a lathe to produce swellings, disks, and other shapes, and sometimes carved with little figures of sphinxes; or in the shape of animal legs, this last type probably of Egyptian origin.
The thronos
From which our term throne is obviously derived, was a formal chair of honor. Unlike most Greek furniture, it was often highly decorated, and there are many literary references that describe thronoi as "shining," "golden," "silver-studded," "ivory-inlaid," "many-colored," or beauteous". In Homer's Iliad, "far-seeing Zeus," the king of the gods is said to be seated on a golden thronos, and the geographer and writer Pausanius reports that Phidias's statue of Zeus at Olympia was seated on a thronos "adorned with gold and precious stones, also with ebony and ivory, and with painted figures and wrought images." These ceremonial seats were not limited to shrines and sanctuaries, however; they also appeared in private houses, at least in the most prosperous ones. Even there, their use was reserved for the most important person present at any gathering. Stone versions of thronoi also appeared as seats of honor in Greek theaters.
thronos characteristics
The thronos took several forms. Its back was often low. it would have arms, sometimes supported by sphinxes, or it could be armless. Legs were of several types: Most popular in the Archaic period was a thronos with legs carved like birds or ending in animal feet. Most popular in the 5th and 4th centuries were thronoi with rectangular or turned legs. And most popular in Hellenistic times were thronoi with solid sides, sometimes with their arms ending in the shapes of lion's heads, sometimes with their whole front edges in the forms of animal legs.
The wood side chair
the klismos - was the most graceful, the most characteristic, and the most influential piece of Greek furniture. It seems to have been a purely Greek invention, without Egyptian, Assyrian, or Aegean precedent, but it was a design that would last. Echoes of the klismos appear centuries later in chairs of the Directoire, Empire, Regency, Duncan Phyfe, and even the modern styles. Unlike the thronos, it was generally left undecorated, its beauty deriving solely from its form. In its perfected form, the klismos featured a curved backboard and curved legs. The curved backboard was generally supported by a broad central splat or wooden panel, with a narrow stile or vertical wood strip on either side, and these side stiles were made in one piece with the rear legs, their combination forming one continuous sweeping curve. The front legs, curving in the opposite direction, were broad at the top, tapering to a smaller end that projected beyond the chair frame. The frames of the seats were mortised into the legs with tenons or dowels and sometimes, in an expression of construction technique, these bits of joinery were shown protruding through the sides of the legs. The seat within the frame was filled in with plaited thongs, and sometimes a cushion or animal skin was added for comfort.
In addition to their beauty, klismoi had many practical uses.
They were lightweight and easily portable. Their depictions on vases show them being carried about and being used by craftsmen and workers, as well as by noblemen and women. The women usually dined seated on klismoi while the men reclined on klini.
The diphoros
was a stool without arms or back. It was of two types, one with fixed legs and the other with folding legs. The fixed legs, one at each of the stool's four corners, generally were perpendicular to the seat, cylindrical, and turned on a lathe. This popular furniture designed remained in vogue throughout the fifth and fourth centuries. Later, in Hellenistic times, some modifications were made, the lower part of the legs becoming taller and more spindly, and more elaborate turnings being introduced. A quite different leg design was also seen on some diphoroi, divided into two sections, both slightly concave, with the upper section thicker than the lower one.
The hinged, folding version of the Greek stocl was called a
diphoros oklandias. Like the Egyptian model on which it was probably based, its two pairs of legs crossed in an x shape and were joined below the crossing by stretchers.
In addition to the kline, thronos, klismos, and diphros, there were a few more Greek objects that are mentioned in the book...
- a plainer form of stool, which was simply a small wooden box. There were small versions of diphroi used as footstools or as aids in climbing into high klini. There were benches long enough to accommodate several people, found frequently in schools and theaters.
trapeza desc. and the most common type
The general name for a Greek table is trapeza, and the plural is trapezai. They were most frequently made of wood, but there were more luxurious versions in bronze, marble or carved ivory.

The most commonplace Greek table was probably the three-legged trapeza. It stands more securely on an uneven surface than a four-legged table, which might rock. These legs were sometimes, but not always, connected by a T-shaped stretcher.
was a wooden chest used for storage; its hinged lid could be used as a seat. Simple in form, it may have been adapted from Egypt, where similar containers were used.
The principal Greek moldings were:
- the fillet
- the fascia
- the torus (convex, cushion-shaped molding, approximating a semicircle
- the scotia, concave molding its shape approximating a quarter circle
- the ovolo, meaning "egg-like" another convex molding.
- the cyma recta, a molding with a compound S-shaped curve that begins and ends horizontally (sometimes spelled cima), greatly admired by William Hogarth
- the cyma reversa, a molding with a compound S-shaped curve
- the dentil motif
Greek Ornament: Pattern, ones most frequently used:
- The guilloche. The torus molding was frequently treated with the pattern called the guilloche - consisting of circles and interlaced curving bands.
- the egg and dart. The ovolo molding was often enriched with the pattern, which alternates vertical egg shapes with spiky, dart-like forms, often found on the echinus of the Ionic capital.
- bead-and-reel ornament in which circular or horizontally elongated elements (beads) alternate with vertical oblongs (reels).
- anthemion - some believe based on honeysuckle ornament or based on the palm, the term palmette also being used, or on the lotus.
- the fret - perhaps the most frequently used and the most characteristic of all Greek ornamental patterns is the fret composed of vertical and horizontal straight lines linked in a continuous band. It is also sometimes called the meander, the key pattern, the labyrinth, the Chinese key, or the Greek key.
- rinceau and arabesque are used for a wide variety of less repetitive decorative bands or panels, usually symmetrical, and usually including both scroll shapes and literal representations of plant forms, or sometimes, animals, as well.
The two chief vase types
In the most famous examples of Greece's mature periods, the vases' surface elements are only two: areas of glowing red orange and areas of glossy black. The red orange was derived form Clay from the area of Cape Kolias, treated with red ochre, and the areas of black were derived from varnish brushed onto the fired clay, then fired again.

Black-figure vases - The scenes, figures, and decorations were painted in black on the red clay; the results are called black-figure vases.

Red-figure vases - the background painted black, leaving the pictorial elements showing through in the red orange clay color.

The switch from black-figure to red-figure styles came in the years c. 530 or 525 B.C., and, in the context of Greek artistic conservatism and gradual development, it seemed a radical change of fashion.
vase shapes and their uses

The three-handled hydria was for
drawing, storing, and pouring water
Vases and their functions

The psykter
was for cooling wine;
vase with various types of wide topped bowl were for mixing water and wine
amphora vase
two-handled with cover using for storing grain
alabaster vase
used for storing easily evaporated body oils
pelike and the stamnos vases
were for the storage of water, wine or spices
oinochoe vase
was a one-handled pitcher
kylix, the kantharos and the skyphos
were all drinking cups. Some miniature vases were meant to be children's toys, and some - the Panathenaic amphorae - were prizes given to champion athletes, one side painted with a figure of the goddess Athena carrying a shield, the other with scenes of athletic games.
The names of some of the master vase painters
Lydos, Exekias, Euphronios, and Makron are known from signature on their works.
Golden Rectangle
A rectangle whose width is to its length as the length is to the sum of the width and length.
greek dress - rectangular piece of fabric - it tied - girdle - blue girdle - cinched around them

No closets in greek architecture
Classic design is based on
Principles & elements of design: order, symmetry, proportion, line, balance, texture
Things that impact design:
Materials; geography (climate, natural disaster); technology; culture; natural resources

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