Ancient Greek Art and Mythology

Ancient Greek art and myth are very much a part of our visual and literary culture today. The ancient art such as Greek sculptures and vases is our window to the way the Greeks understood the stories of gods and heroes in mythology. Artwork of the Greeks depicting myths was, at that time, the equivalent of Christian artwork depicting religious images. (Continued below)


Myths Were Truth
Today the word myth is used in a very negative sense and many times as a synonym for falsehood or lie. Actually the myths were sacred stories and used to tell how the world was started and how life began. These stories were important to the people of that time and held religious or at least spiritual significance. In other words, myths were considered truth. Myths were so important in ancient Greek culture the symbols of gods, goddesses, heroes and animals were depicted on their artwork such as the vases and paintings we very much admire today.

Picture Stories
The ancient Greek art that survives today is a rich source of information about mythology. The stories, myths, were handed down the generations and their artwork changed over time. For example a myth depicted on a vase in 580 BC could be very different from the depiction of the same story 200 years later. It is important to note the myths were told through the pictures and to understand the stories each element of the depiction must be examined and seen in relation to all of the other elements before it could be fully understood.

Surviving Artwork
An ancient wall painting in public places is one entire art form that did not survive for today’s world to enjoy but they were commonplace in the 4th and 5th centuries BC. We know about them mostly because of references to them by writers from later on. The same can be said for fabric art, wooden carvings, and ivory art. They were made from materials that could not last to present times but we know about them from pictures in art that does survive. Greek art lovers today may find it hard to believe artwork made from gold and bronzes were melted down centuries ago for the value of the metal. Likewise marble works were burnt in limekilns for mortar. We know about many of these lost treasures from a historian’s detailed writing recorded the 1st century AD.

Vases Value
Scholars feel the best artwork from ancient Greece is the vases because of the pictures not only on the outside but sometimes on the inside as well. The level of talent is high and there are a large number of pieces that have survived. The surviving pieces are only a fraction of the total but still speak well to the quality of the material and even broken vases have been put back together. Another reason for the vases survival is their use in tombs where they were not disturbed and considered of low value to robbers.

Painted Statues
When I think of artwork from ancient Greece the white statues of the human figure come to mind. Recent research has indicated however, many of those figures were actually painted in bright colors with lots of detail. Also the mosaics across entire floors and walls were detailed, colorful and beautiful.

Terracotta Plaques
The 5th century is noted for the terracotta relief plaques with mythological scenes from Melos. These pieces were meant to be attached to chests or other pieces of furniture.

Building of Art
Greek art was part of the architecture on public buildings, temples and treasuries. They had scenes on the side of the building usually at the top triangle formed by the roof such as on the Temple of Artemis on Corfu, the Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens and the Temple of Zeus at Olympia.

Other Ancient Art of Interest

Ancient Art
This is classic famous art from history including Gemini symbol, Greeks, Egyptians, Renaissance, Gothic, Byzantine, Baroque, Middle ages, Kokopelli paintings.

Renaissance Art
Florence Italy and the Medici family started this art movement and left one of the greatest artistic legacies of any age.

Gothic Art
Started in the Chartres France Cathedral and soon spread through all Europe with architecture, painting, and music.

Ancient Greek Art
The best ancient Greek art examples are the Venus de Milo and Parthenon.

Baroque Art
Designed to appeal to the senses by impressing and inspiring a sense of awe.

Byzantine Art
Includes spectacular mosaics, paintings and churches across Europe

Egyptian Art
The Bust of Nefertiti is both beautiful and has a rich history from the tombs and pyramids.

Ancient Egyptian Art
The pyramids are spectacular but the most well known collection of ancient Egyptian art was the treasure from King Tut’s tomb, the boy king.

Gemini Symbol Art
The history behind tattoo designs of Gemini symbol art is based on Greek mythology and several sets of twins who were opposites. The Gemini symbol is well known as the horoscope zodiac astrological sign of love.

Kokopelli Art
Kokopelli Art is based on the fluteplayer from the Native American Hopi kachina god Kookopolo and Maahu.

To check out other artwork (including sexy shoes) by Doug Dourgarian and see more links for his online art gallery click here for his web gallery of art .

Click here to leave Greek Art for more links to artistic styles, artists and their online art galleries, art prints and art posters. Browse the links found at the bottom of Home Page.