The Main Art Tendencies in Ancient Greek

Moreover, some of the tendencies that characterized ancient Greek include aesthetic idealism, anthropocentrism, adherence to balance and proportionality, and anthropomorphic imagination.

Ancient Greek art tendencies are many. The tendencies are embodied in various classics of ancient Greek culture. Some of the tendencies of the period that occurred include c.650-480 BCE (Richter, 1987). Moreover, some of the tendencies that characterized ancient Greek include aesthetic idealism, anthropocentrism, adherence to balance and proportionality, and anthropomorphic imagination. Additionally, the ancient Greeks were great researchers of nature, hence were able to reliably represent and exaggerate the beauty of nature. Furthermore, Ancient Greek was associated with religious deities besides using Greek mythologies to make sculptures. The other common tendency among the ancient Greeks was pottery, sculpture, architecture, and painting. Ancient Greek tendencies formed the foundation for authentic art of aesthetic realism and the idealization of reality.

Aesthetic idealism is one of the tendencies of the ancient Greeks. Aesthetic idealism is the foundation of ancient Greek art. The Greeks were used to representing reality in an ideal way through envisioning and presenting their imaginations in various forms of art. Aesthetic idealism underscored the keenness of the ancient Greeks to represent reality ideally to please the spirit and showcase their imagination power. Intense anthropomorphic imagination comes in handy given that the Greeks could harness theory's imaginative power to represent reality most magnificently and aesthetically (Richter, 1987). The ancient Greeks were enthusiastic about beauty, and more importantly, they highly valued human beings. In this case, the Greeks considered a human being to be at the center of art. The tendency to elevate a human being to the center of all art that they ever envisioned indicates that the ancient Greeks were rational beings in their art. For instance, the focus on athletes in their paintings and pottery and sculpture indicates the passion and determination of the ancient Greeks to represent reality realistically. 

The athletes were the focus of the ancient Greeks because the athletes were heavily built, and they represent an ideal healthy person. In this regard, the Greeks painted and made sculptures of muscular men with broad shoulders and slender waist to depict the ideal model of a human being (Richter, 1987). The representation of a man in such a stature symbolized the immense power that a human being wielded. In a similar breath, the human being that the artists painted had a frame that was static and frontal, with a typical smile and almond eyes. What is more, the reverence of human beings was a great tendency of the ancient Greeks given that it enhanced the appreciation of their imaginative power to represent reality in various impressive perspectives. Additionally, the ancient Greeks artists were masters in the study and research of nature. 

This is because they made a crucial discovery about nature, and they made art out of it to appreciate the beauty of nature. Nature was manifested in simplicity and proportion. Although nature is complex, the ancient Greeks made it simple and clear through their artistic representation of it. The ancient Greeks had a penchant for beauty; hence, exaggeration of nature could be incorporated into the art to enhance the understanding and appreciation of nature. The tendency of the ancient Greeks to represent nature was aimed at creating the impression of the unity manifest in nature wherein all things work in unique harmony. The ancient Greeks had the tendency to study the environment of humans given that humans were considered to be the central’s ecosystem, a concept called anthropocentrism. The other tendency of the Greek artists was the application of their broad knowledge of anatomy in making various drawings and paintings. 

The representation of reality among the ancient Greeks was amazing, especially their display of their knowledge of anatomy. The Greeks made humans adorable element of art and exaggerated human’s anatomical features to showcase the ideal model of human power (Richter, 1987). The belief in gods created a unique relationship between the sacred stones and stocks wherein the latter was used to build structures that depicted the existence of such gods, and Zeus and Athena gods were the most common gods in ancient Greek. 

The ancient Greeks had the tendency of religious worship and revered the Athena goddess for wisdom, reason, and purity. Additionally, goddess Athena was considered a protector of civilized life and a warrior defender. Zeus god was important to the Greeks because he symbolized intelligence and power besides being a god of justice. The practice captured the religious nature of the ancient Greeks. In a similar breath, the stocks and stones were still used for making sculptures of human beings. In this case, the ancient Greeks’ tendency was meant to elevate the vitality of the human race to a high level. The Greeks’ tendency meant that a human is equally sacred as the Greek gods given that humans assumed both the image and character of the deity they depicted in the paintings and sculptures (Richter, 1987). The other tendency of the ancient Geek artists was the application of mathematical elements in representing reality. 

This is an indication that the artists were meticulous, especially in representing a human being’s figure lines in drawings and sculpture forms. The tendency of the ancient Greeks to adhere to proportionality and balance is captured in their use of mathematical measurements in representing the reality of humanity, animals, plants, and gods. In this case, Greek art’s rationality is also captured wherein rhythm and clarity form part of the rational elements. The other tendency among the ancient Greek artists was pottery. 

In this case, the Greek potters used geometry pottery wherein some of the finest artworks were used. In this case, mathematical measures were largely used given that pro-geometric style and geometric styles were often adopted to ensure accuracy, especially in geometry pottery. What is more, the Greek artists’ pottery incorporated motifs such as curvilinear designs and sphinxes and chimeras to enhance the dexterity of the pottery work (Richter, 1987). What is more, decorations were also a tendency of the Greek artists given that decoration was widely used figuratively by incorporating human beings, animals, and even plants in art. The drawing of the human body was considered the noblest undertaking in art. The ancient Greeks also incorporated black-figure imagery in pottery, which make their piece of art magnificent. The other tendency that the ancient Greek artists were associated with was architecture. 

For instance, ancient Greek artists commonly used post-and-lintel building techniques. The most common type of material used for the architectural world among ancient Greek artists were timber beams and terracotta tiles. The tendency of the Greeks to build religious buildings made them the pioneers of using standard proportionality in their architectural designs. Additionally, ancient Greek architecture was based on classical orders, which include the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian orders (Richter, 1987). In this case, the Ionic order was commonly used among the Greeks along the West Coast of Turkey and the Aegean Islands. On the other hand, the Doric style was often used in building structures in mainland Greece and other settlements in Italy. Greek architecture gave rise to sculpture and painting and decorative art all of which constituted the magnificent ancient Greek art. The religious buildings required decorative sculpture, which encompassed reliefs, statues, and even friezes. The latter constituted mosaic art and mural painting. The other notable tendency of the ancient Greeks was sculpture creation. 

The ancient Greeks heavily borrowed from Egyptian and Syrian sculptural designs. Greek sculpture was characterized by reliefs, statues, miniatures, and friezes. The Greek sculpture’s signature, freestanding Daedalic sculpture, manifested two major human stereotypes; standing nude youth and standing draped girl (Richter, 1987). The last tendency of the ancient Greek artists was painting. The fact that most of the sculptures and vases had to be painted, many Greek artists had a high demand for their painting works, especially during the 7th century. For instance, specific building such as temples and municipal buildings could be painted in fresco painting. The other aspect of art that buttressed painting was pottery. Painting in pottery boosted the archaic aesthetics of the vases. 

In conclusion, the ancient Greek art tendencies underscored the idyllic and perfect vision of an artistic mind. The representation of the reality of human beings, gods, animals, and plants in pottery, sculpture, architecture, and decorative art contributed to the aesthetic idealism of ancient Greek art. By and large, the ancient Greek artists focus on a thorough study of the environment about man enhanced the aesthetic idealism of nature.  


Richter, G. M. A. (1987). A handbook of Greek art. Oxford: Phaidon.