What’s up guys? TIMOTHEVS here! I hope you’re all well! Alright so… this time, I’ll discuss the three major
styles in Greek sculpture. First, I’ll give a quick overview of the
three periods with some explanation of each style, then I’ll show some examples side by side to help you see the difference more clearly
and finally we’ll do a short quiz so you can check how good you are telling the styles
apart. Before I start with the first period, I should
mention that I won’t be discussing the earlier periods like the Mycenaean period and the
Geometrical period. Also, geographically speaking, I won’t be
limiting myself to Greece in the narrow sense of the word, I will include examples from
places like Cyprus and Italy because we can largely see the same styles there. Of course, there are important regional differences,
but that is beyond the scope of this video. So firstly, let’s talk about the Archaic period: this period runs from the middle of the 8th century BCE until the beginning of
the 5th century BCE. (Greek) statues produced during this period are clearly
inspired by Egyptian and Mesopotamian sculpture. Overall, the statues look very rigid:
the face, the upper body and the lower body are all pointed forward. The figure may seem to step forward or sometimes
the arms raised holding a weapon for example, but the posture generally appears
too stiff to convincingly create the illusion of movement. Details in the face, the hair and clothing
are all highly stylised and almost cartoonish, rather than realistic. Towards the end of the period, we can often
see what is called the “archaic smile”. Let’s move on to the Classical period which
stretches from the early 5th century BCE to the late 4th century BCE. This one is the shortest of the three periods. During the Classical period, the pose, face,
drapery and other details become more realistic. Perhaps most revolutionary was the introduction
of the so-called contrapposto: The figures seem to put most of their weight
on one leg, in the case of these two statues here, it’s the right leg. Their right hips are higher than their left
hips, but for the shoulders, it’s the other way around. The contrapposto makes the depicted figure
look more relaxed and realistic. When the subject is depicted in a more dynamic
pose, the proportions and details look very realistic compared to examples from say the
middle of the archaic period. However, some stiffness in the posture remains. Also, muscles often look relaxed where you
would expect some muscular strain. Rather than a snapshot of someone actually
moving, I think it tends to look like a picture of someone maintaining a pose, waiting for
a picture to be taken, if that makes sense. Faces also become more realistic, though they
still look fairly idealised and expressionless, with big cartoonish eyes. Hair and clothing still look quite smooth
and simplified, especially at the beginning of this period. Before we move on to the Hellenistic period,
I should say something about nudity in Greek sculpture: male nudity was not uncommon during
the Archaic period at all, but it became even more prominent during the Classical period. Female nudity was extremely rare during the
Archaic period, but it became acceptable during the Classical period. Mind you, Goddesses like Artemis, Hērā and
Pallas Athēna were never depicted nude, but the Goddess of love Aphrodítē, lesser Goddesses,
nymphs and other mythological beings were now commonly shown revealing Their breasts
or even pubic region. Then thirdly, there’s the Hellenistic period,
stretching from the late 4th century BCE to the late 1st century BCE. By the beginning of this period, statues had
gradually become less idealised, more realistic and more expressive. This trend continued throughout the Hellenistic
period. The size of the eyes and details such as hair,
clothing and muscles became increasingly lifelike. Although the relaxed contrapposto remained
very common, sculptors now also experimented with more complex and dynamic poses, very
convincingly creating the illusion of motion. Sculptors also started to create statue groups
to take their sculptures to the next level and they now had several characters interact with
one another, typically in a very emotional fashion. It should be noted that during the Hellenistic
period, Classical statues were still widely appreciated and copied. The same can be said of the Roman Imperial
period: statues from the Classical, Hellenistic and to a lesser extent Archaic period were
copied and distributed on a larger scale than ever before. In fact, several of the statues I have shown
you in this video are actually Roman copies of earlier Greek originals that haven’t
survived. That is not to say that people were only copying
earlier Greek sculptures during the Roman period: Many new, original statues were also created. This one for example is believed to be an
original Roman depiction of the young Hercules, although the style of the statue is clearly
influenced by art work from the Classical period. This Roman original on the other hand seems
to draw more from the Hellenistic period. You could even say that many of the clay votive
figurines that were incredibly common during the Roman period, were original Roman creations
with an Archaic touch. Apart from copying Greek art and improvising
within the limits of the three Greek styles, the Romans also added entirely new elements
to their statues. Perhaps most distinctly Roman is the extreme
realism that can be seen in Roman portrait busts. In the so-called “warts-and-all” style,
the pursuit of idealising the subject is almost completely abandoned and beauty is to be found
in the incredibly lifelike portrayals of real individuals. Another typically Roman feature in sculpture,
are drilled pupils. During the Imperial period, especially from
the early 2nd century CE onwards, it becomes more and more common for sculptors to drill
holes for the pupils, whereas earlier sculptors usually preferred to have the irises and pupils
painted on. Towards the end of the Roman era, nudity becomes
rarer in sculpture again, and faces with big eyes and more cartoonish features make a come-back
as Roman art gradually transitions into Byzantine and Medieval art. Okay, now we’ve seen the three main styles,
I think it might be interesting to compare how the same subject is depicted in the different
styles. I’ll show you statues of a few Deities so
we can see how Their appearance evolves throughout the centuries. Let’s start with the Goddess of Love Aphrodítē
(Venus to the Romans): A is obviously Archaic: the subtle Archaic
smile, the highly stylised hair and drapery… The fact that She’s holding a dove, may
indicate that it’s Aphrodítē, but actually we don’t even know for sure, because She
was not depicted nude yet at the time. And then, for the other two, it’s not
always easy to tell the difference between a Classical statue–especially a late Classical
statue- and a Hellenistic one, but I think the difference is pretty clear here:
B has a stereotypical, idealised Classical face, whereas C has a more expressive, Hellenistic
face. Even though they’re both in contrapposto,
C is in a more lifelike, dynamic position and also the composition with several interacting
characters is very Hellenistic. Now, let’s have a look at some sculptures
of the God of wine Diónysos. A is Archaic, with the typical Archaic smile. B and C are both Classical with idealised
features, but it’s easy to see that B was made at the beginning of this period with
some Archaic features, whereas the late Classical C is more similar to the Hellenistic D. So, do you think you can tell the three styles apart? Let’s find out! I’ll show you a picture, I’ll give you
a few seconds to think and then I’ll give you the correct answer! Are you ready? Okay, let’s go! Alright, time’s up! This is one of the most famous statues if
not the most famous statue from the Hellenistic period! Even with the head and arms missing, the dynamic position
of the body and flowing drapery give away that this is a Hellenistic piece. Static, a frontal stance, highly stylised facial features and hair… This one clearly dates to the Archaic period! Realistic, expressive, emotional… That’s right! This one’s Hellenistic! Quite realistic, yet fairly stylised muscle
definition and facial features, The suggestion of movement, but still somewhat
static: this is a Classical statue! We’re actually not certain which Deity this
is: It could be either Zeus or Poseidon, because the brothers were depicted with a similar
face and there is evidence of both being shown in this position. Relaxed position, emotionless face, idealised
beard and hair: This one was also made during the Classical
period. Archaic smile, rigid posture: This is another
Archaic piece! Alright, one more! Dynamic posture, interacting characters, emotional facial expression: This is a statue from the
Hellenistic period… Or is it? Did you notice that the sculptor drilled holes
for the pupils? This is actually a 2nd century CE Roman copy
of a Hellenistic original. Mind you, not all Roman statues have drilled
pupils, but if they don’t, it’s pretty tricky to determine their age, so that’s
why I included one where it’s obvious we’re dealing with a Roman copy. So how did you do on the Quiz? How many did YOU get right? Let me know in the comment section below! Don’t forget to hit to like button if you
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Alright, take care people! This was TIMOTHEVS, thanks for watching!