Chapter 15

Pottery, the body, and the gods in ancient Greece, c. 800–490 B.C.E.

This chapter will examine the art and architecture of ancient Greece from c. 800 to 450 B.C.E., examining art from South Italy and Sicily in the west to Anatolia in the east.
Marble Statue of a Kouros (New York Kouros), c. 590–580 B.C.E. (Attic, archaic), Naxian marble, 194.6 x 51.6 cm (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Marble Statue of a Kouros (New York Kouros), c. 590–580 B.C.E. (Attic, archaic), Naxian marble, 194.6 x 51.6 cm (The Metropolitan Museum of Art; photo: Steven Zucker, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Contemporary popular culture regularly presents ancient Greece as an exceptional place—from movies like Disney’s Hercules and Clash of the Titans, to video games like Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey and God of War, and books like the Percy Jackson series. These movies, artworks, and novels depict the mythological exploits of heroes and gods against a background of shining white marble sculpture and architecture or present Greece as a utopian society that celebrated art, philosophy, and democracy. It is a vision of Greece that has been filtered through renaissance, eighteenth-, and nineteenth-century European ideals, and the reality rarely fits within these preconceived notions. Art was an important part of Greek culture. Yet, Greece was not the site of an isolated artistic miracle, but rather part of a larger Mediterranean world and heavily influenced by their neighboring societies. Greek sculptures were originally brightly painted in color. And the majority of Greek states limited the rights and freedoms of all except their male citizens.

Areas of Greek occupation at the end of the Archaic period (map: Dipa1965, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Areas of Greek occupation at the end of the Archaic period (map: Dipa1965, CC BY-SA 4.0)

This chapter examines the art and architecture of ancient Greece from c. 800 to 450 B.C.E.,  including art from South Italy and Sicily in the west to Anatolia (today, Turkey) in the east. The chapter is divided into thematic sections, each of which is organized chronologically, and covers the periods now known as the:

  • Geometric (c. 900–700 B.C.E.),
  • Orientalizing (c. 700–600 B.C.E.), and
  • Archaic (c. 600–490 B.C.E.) 

The chapter considers not only changes in artistic forms across these centuries, but also how art and architecture fit within the larger context of Greek society, culture, and religion as it shifted during this period.


Defining Ancient Greece and Greek Identity

Hera I ("The Basilica") and "Hera II Behind. Hera I ("The Basilica"), c.560-530 B.C.E., 24.35 x 54 m, Greek, Doric temple from the archaic period likely dedicated to Hera, employs a 9:18 column ratio, Paestum (Latin) previously Poseidonia (Greek); and "Hera II," c. 460 B.C.E., 24.26 x 59.98 m, Greek, Doric temple from the classical period likely dedicated to Hera (not Poseidon), employs an 6:14 column ratio, Paestum (Latin) previously Poseidonia (Greek)

Hera I (“The Basilica”) and “Hera II Behind. Hera I (“The Basilica”), c.560–530 B.C.E., 24.35 x 54 m, Greek, Doric temple from the archaic period likely dedicated to Hera, employs a 9:18 column ratio; and “Hera II,” c. 460 B.C.E., 24.26 x 59.98 m, Greek, Doric temple from the classical period likely dedicated to Hera (not Poseidon), employs an 6:14 column ratio; both Paestum (Latin) previously Poseidonia (Greek) (photo: Steven Zucker, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Who were the ancient Greeks? In this study of the art of the ancient Greek world, we look beyond the borders of the modern nation state of Greece. People who identified as Greek thousands of years ago lived in a much broader region, producing art in Greek styles and with Greek subjects. Being Greek was not a nationality, but rather a multifaceted identity that, in this period, was defined by a combination of ethnic, linguistic, religious, and cultural factors. Notably you were Greek if you spoke Greek (non-Greek speakers were known as barbarians, since the Greeks described them as speaking bar-bar, or nonsense), if your ancestors were Greek, you worshiped the Greek gods, and had common cultural touchstones (such as a knowledge of Homer), and a shared ethical system. Cities in mainland Greece, beginning in the eighth century B.C.E., established colonies across the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, notably in South Italy and Sicily and Anatolia (today, Turkey). For instance, some of the best-preserved Greek temples are in Italy, such as the temples at Paestum, where they were built by Greek colonists and their descendants. 

Watch a video about a Greek colony in Italy

Ancient Greek Temples at Paestum

Ancient Greek Temples at Paestum: well-preserved Greek temples built by Greek colonists and their descendants. 

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The polis

Most of Greece in the period under discussion was divided into city-states known as poleis (polis singular)—such as Athens or Sparta. Each polis was independent, with its own government, military, and economic system, and a Greek’s nationality was defined by their polis. The majority of the poleis were either oligarchies or tyrannies, with some monarchies and democracies. There were resultant cultural differences, with variations in language, gender roles, and social organization across the poleis. Most poleis controlled both the urban center and the surrounding rural space, and their populations were made up of citizens, non-citizens, and slaves. The male citizens were usually eligible to take part in civic government, while female citizens were not. Non-citizens were more restricted in their rights and participation in public life, and slaves were given few or no rights or autonomy.


Situating Greece within the Wider Mediterranean

Eleusis Amphora (Proto-Attic neck amphora), 675-650 B.C.E., terracotta, 142.3 cm high (Eleusis Archeological Museum, Greece)

Eleusis Amphora (Proto-Attic neck amphora), 675-650 B.C.E., terracotta, 142.3 cm high (Eleusis Archeological Museum, Greece; photo: Steven Zucker, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Greece was part of a wider ancient world, connected to other civilizations in the Mediterranean and West Asia through diplomatic and economic ties, notably through trade routes that facilitated the exchange of physical goods and people as well as ideas. Art from Egypt, West Asia (the Near East), and Etruria in the Italic Peninsula was brought to Greece, and Greek art was exported. The art of ancient Greece was heavily influenced by that of their neighboring societies. The seventh century B.C.E. is frequently referred to as the Orientalizing period, due to the influence of Egyptian and Near Eastern art on the style and subject matter of Greek art in the period, such as the Eleusis Amphora. 

Left: Marble Statue of a Kouros (New York Kouros), c. 590–580 B.C.E. (Attic, archaic), Naxian marble, 194.6 x 51.6 cm (The Metropolitan Museum of Art); right: King Menkaura (Mycerinus) and queen (Old Kingdom, Dynasty 4), 2490–2472 B.C.E. (Menkaura Valley Temple, Giza, Egypt), greywacke, 142.2 x 57.1 x 55.2 cm, 676.8 kg (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

Left: Marble Statue of a Kouros (New York Kouros), c. 590–580 B.C.E. (Attic, archaic), Naxian marble, 194.6 x 51.6 cm (The Metropolitan Museum of Art; photo: Steven Zucker, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0); right: King Menkaura (Mycerinus) and queen (Old Kingdom, Dynasty 4), 2490–2472 B.C.E. (Menkaura Valley Temple, Giza, Egypt), greywacke, 142.2 x 57.1 x 55.2 cm, 676.8 kg (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; photo: Steven Zucker, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

 In the sixth century, the kouroi statues emulated Egyptian artworks, notably their pose, such as we see in sculptures like the New York Kouros.

Watch videos about situating Greece within the wider Mediterranean

Eleusis Amphora

Eleusis Amphora: The vessel includes decorative foliage and flora often seen in West Asian and Egyptian imagery.

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NY Kouros

Marble statue of a kouros (New York Kouros): A sculpture whose pose borrows from ancient Egyptian art.

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Pottery, Death, and Trade

Kleitias (painter) and Ergotimos (potter), François Vase (volute-crater), mid 6th century B.C.E., Attic black-figure (made in Athens), 66 cm (Museo Archeologico, Florence)

Kleitias (painter) and Ergotimos (potter), François Vase (volute-crater), mid 6th century B.C.E., Attic black-figure (made in Athens), 66 cm (Museo Archeologico, Florence, photo: Steven Zucker, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

One of the most heavily traded artistic commodities in the ancient Mediterranean was pottery. For example, the Etruscans (in central Italy) were enthusiastic collectors of Athenian pottery in the sixth and fifth centuries, and many of the best-preserved pots, such as The Francois Vase, were found in Etruscan tombs.

While today Greek vases are housed in museums behind glass as fine art, in the ancient period, pots were primarily functional art, intended to be used rather than simply displayed. They were also cheaper than many other forms of art, like statuary, and were therefore available to a wider audience. They varied greatly in quality from plain ware with no painted decoration to large pots with elaborately painted scenes. Pots were thrown on a potter’s wheel, decorated with clay slip as paint, and fired in kilns. 

Dipylon Amphora, c. 755-750 B.C.E., ceramic, 160 cm (National Archaeological Museum, Athens)

Dipylon Amphora, c. 755–750 B.C.E., ceramic, 160 cm (National Archaeological Museum, Athens, photo: Steven Zucker, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

In the eighth century in Athens, these everyday objects were monumentalized and used as grave markers. Pots like the Dipylon Amphora were large versions of smaller pots and decorated with geometric designs and funerary scenes, relating to their function.

Left: Amphora with Animal Frieze, late 7th century BCE (Orientalizing), terracotta, wheel made; Corinthian ware, made in Corinth, Greece, 44.4 x 30 cm (The Walters Museum); right: aryballos, attributed to the Chigi Painter, c. 640 B.C.E, terracotta, made in Corinth, Greece, 3.9 diameter, 6.9 cm high (© Trustees of the British Museum)

Aryballoi, like the Macmillan Aryballos, were used to hold oil and have been found in tombs, but also in domestic and religious contexts. The amphora with animal frieze on the right is of a standard size, unlike the large Dipylon pots, and was likely intended to be functional and hold wine or oil. It has unknown provenance, and could have been domestic (most likely) or funerary. Left: Amphora with Animal Frieze, late 7th century B.C.E. (Orientalizing), terracotta, wheel made, made in Corinth, Greece, 44.4 x 30 cm (The Walters Art Museum); right: Macmillan Aryballos, attributed to the Chigi Painter, c. 640 B.C.E, terracotta, made in Corinth, Greece, 3.9 diameter, 6.9 cm high (© Trustees of the British Museum)

In the seventh century, the city of Corinth became the center of pottery production in the Greek world, producing large numbers of vases with designs influenced by Near Eastern Art, such as the Macmillan Aryballos and pots in the so-called animal style. Many of these pots were mass produced for a wide market and feature repetitive designs. Corinth was a port city, and they set their pots out on the trading vessels that regularly moved through their harbors. Corinthian pots have been found at archaeological sites across the Mediterranean.

Watch videos and ready essays about pottery, death, and trade

Greek Vase-Painting: an introduction

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Kleitias (painter) and Ergotimos (potter), François Vase (volute-krater), mid 6th century B.C.E., Attic black-figure (made in Athens), 66 cm (Museo Archeologico, Florence)

The François Vase: A story book of Greek mythology found in an Etruscan tomb.

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Exekias (potter and painter), Attic black figure amphora with Ajax and Achilles playing a game, c. 540-530 B.C.E., 61.1 cm high, found Vulci (Gregorian Etruscan Museum, Vatican City)

Ancient Greek vase production and the black-figure technique: an introduction

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Frieze detail, Dipylon Amphora, c. 755-750 B.C.E.

Dipylon Amphora: an everyday object becomes a grave marker.

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Attic pottery

In the sixth century, Athenian (or Attic) pottery eclipsed Corinthian pottery in popularity and a booming pottery industry developed in Athens. Potters and painters, who were usually separate people, began signing their higher quality artworks. Some of these signatures are from artists who came from across the Mediterranean to work in Athens. Artists were organized into workshops, which were usually owned by a potter, who employed painters and other workmen.

Euthymides, Three Revelers (Athenian red-figure amphora), c. 510 B.C.E., 24 inches high (Staatliche Antikensammlungen, Munich)

Euthymides, Three Revelers (Athenian red-figure amphora), c. 510 B.C.E., 24 inches high (Staatliche Antikensammlungen, Munich)

Potting was the more highly valued skill, as these vases were, above all, intended to be functional, and potters signed their work more frequently than painters. These signatures became similar to modern brand names, providing prestige for their owners, and there was competition between artists to be seen as the best at their craft. For example, the painter Euthymides signs one pot, “As never Euphronios (a fellow painter) could do.” 

Achilles killing the Amazon Queen Penthesilea, 540-530 B.C.E., black-figured amphora (wine-jar), signed by Exekias as potter and attributed to him as painter, 46 cm tall, Athens, Greece © Trustees of the British Museum.

Achilles killing the Amazon Queen Penthesilea, 540–530 B.C.E., black-figured amphora (wine-jar), signed by Exekias as potter and attributed to him as painter, 46 cm tall, Athens, Greece (© Trustees of the British Museum)

These Attic pots were painted with various subjects, including most commonly mythological and genre scenes, such as images of drinking parties, boys going to school, and women collecting water. While in the early and mid-sixth century, most of the painters, like Exekias, were using the black-figure technique to decorate their pots, the red-figure technique was invented towards the end of the sixth century in Athens, becoming the more popular style over the next few hundred years across the Greek world. 

Niobid Painter, Niobid Krater, Attic red-figure calyx-krater, c. 460-50 B.C.E., 54 x 56 cm (Musée du Louvre, Paris)

Niobid Painter, Niobid Krater, Attic red-figure calyx-krater, c. 460–450 B.C.E., 54 x 56 cm (Musée du Louvre, Paris, photo: Steven Zucker, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Developments in style in the fifth century towards more naturalistic and varied poses on pots like the Niobid Krater were primarily done in the red-figure style.

Read essays and watch a video about Attic pottery

Euthymides, Three Revelers (Athenian red-figure amphora), c. 510 B.C.E., 24 inches high (Staatliche Antikensammlungen, Munich)

Euthymides, Three Revelers: A signature points to the competition between potters.

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Exekias, Attic black figure amphora with Ajax and Achilles playing a game, c. 540-530 B.C.E., archaic period, 61.1 cm high, found in Vulci (Gregorian Etruscan Museum, Vatican)

Exekias, Ajax and Achilles Playing a Game: an example of an Attic black-figure amphora.

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Niobid Painter, "Niobid Krater," Attic red-figure calyx-krater, c. 460-50 B.C.E., 54 x 56 cm (Musée du Louvre)

Niobid Krater: More naturalistic figures in the red-figure style.

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Sanctuaries: Art in Service of Gods and State

temple of zeus remains, Olympia
Temple of Zeus, c. 470–476 B.C.E., Olympia. A chryselephantine statue of Zeus by Pheidias that once stood inside, was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world (photo: Andy MontgomeryCC BY-SA 2.0)

Greek religion was polytheistic and firmly embedded in the polis system. Temples were often paid for by the government, and statues of and dedications to the gods were regularly made in civic buildings. Religious festivals were the major holidays in a city’s calendar, and it was expected that all citizens, both male and female, participated in public religious events. Temples served as houses for the gods, with cult statues placed inside which the spirits of the gods could inhabit. In most temples, there was not room for large congregational gatherings inside. Most religious rituals happened outside of the temple. Major festivals would involve public prayers, music, and ritualized movement in processions. The culminating event of the rituals was the sacrifice of animals, which took place on altars, usually placed in front of the entrance of the temple. As the gods received the fat and the bones through burnt offerings on the altars, the meat was left for the worshippers, and feasting would follow sacrifices.

Temples were usually the largest buildings in a city, made of stone—many domestic and civic structures were made of mud brick or timber—and frequently decorated with sculpture and colorful paint. The temples usually followed similar plans and were built using similar designs on their exteriors, like the temples at Paestum.

View down to the Temple of Apollo, Delphi Sanctuary of Apollo, Delphi, Greece
Temple of Apollo (with reconstructed columns), Sanctuary of Apollo, Delphi, Greece (photo: Steven Zucker, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

In addition to civic temples, Greeks also worshiped at sites known as panhellenic sanctuaries. These sanctuaries did not belong to a single polis but to all Greeks (the term “panhellenic” means all Greeks), and provided spaces for Greeks to interact with other Greeks in neutral territory. One such sanctuary was that of Apollo at Delphi. The sanctuary was oracular and people from across the Greek world came to Delphi to ask questions of the priests and priestess (known as the pythia) at the oracle who interpreted the infallible prophecies of Apollo. 

Charioteer of Delphi, c. 478-474 B.C.E., bronze (lost wax cast) with silver, glass and copper inlay, 1.8 m high (Delphi Archaeological Museum)

Charioteer of Delphi, c. 478–474 B.C.E., bronze (lost wax cast) with silver, glass and copper inlay, 1.8 m high (Delphi Archaeological Museum; photo: Steven Zucker, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

In addition to the oracle, there were regular festivals that worshiped Apollo and involved prayers, feasting, and athletic games. Athletes who won at Delphi, like the patron of the Charioteer, dedicated statues in the sanctuary to advertise their win to all future visitors to the sanctuary. 

Siphnian Treasury, Delphi

Reconstruction of the Siphnian Treasury at the Sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi, c. 530 B.C.E. (photo and reconstruction: Steven Zucker, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

This spirit of competition spread beyond the athletic games, and both individuals and poleis used the sanctuaries to their advertise civic wealth and status to other poleis through dedications of art and architecture. One such example at Delphi is the elaborate Siphnian Treasury, which housed the dedications from the island of Siphnos to Apollo. Panhellenic sanctuaries subsequently became one of the most important spaces for the displays of art and centers for artistic production.

Watch videos and read essays about sanctuaries

Iktinos and Kallikrates, The Parthenon, 447–432 B.C.E., Athens (photo: Steven Zucker, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Ancient Greek architecture: an introduction

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greek sanctuary grid

Greek sanctuaries as artistic hubs:  sanctuaries housed colossal cult images, temples, treasuries, and copious cult accoutrements, but they were also important artistic hubs.

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Delphi (photo: Steven Zucker, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Sanctuary of Apollo, Delphi: The god Apollo spoke through his priestess at Delphi, and Greek cities competed for his favor with offerings.

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Charioteer of Delphi: A statue dedicated in the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi.

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Siphnian Treasury, c. 530 B.C.E., Sanctuary of Apollo, Delphi, Greece

Siphnian Treasury, Delphi: The island of Siphnos used its great wealth to earn the favor of the gods through art, architecture, and offerings.

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The Body and Greek Sculpture

The Moschophoros or Calf-bearer, c. 570 B.C.E., marble (Museum of the Acropolis of Athens)

One of the most common types of dedications in sanctuaries, both panhellenic and civic, were statues. Statues were commissioned by both states and private individuals for a number of different purposes. Many were votive dedications given to the gods as a form of worship, while other sculptures commemorated athletic or military victories or celebrated an individual and their accomplishments, such as in grave markers. Still other statues, including small, relatively inexpensive terracotta statues, served as decorations in homes.

Most of the statues seen in public spaces such as sanctuaries were made of either bronze or white marble quarried on the Greek islands or mainland. All of these statues were originally painted in bright colors, both their skin and clothing, and painted designs were frequently included on the sculpted fabric. Even the bronze statues were colorful, with different types of alloys or surface treatments used to distinguish between the color of hair, skin, eyes, and clothing.

Anavysos (Kroisos) Kouros, c. 530 B.C.E., marble, 6' 4" (National Archaeological Museum, Athens)

Anavysos (Kroisos) Kouros, c. 530 B.C.E., marble, 6′ 4″ (National Archaeological Museum, Athens)

Humans were the most popular subjects of Greek statuary, and Greek artists were greatly concerned with the representation of the human body, especially the male nude. Gods, heroes, and Greek citizens were regularly depicted in the nude in Greek art, while non-Greeks were not. Goddesses and Greek women were commonly clothed in this period except when the lack of clothes indicated their vulnerability, such as victims of sexual assault, or their lower status, notably as prostitutes. Men practiced limited public nudity, notably in athletics, in their daily lives, but men in Greek art are regularly depicted in the nude in circumstances, such as warfare, when they would, in fact, have been clothed in real life. The male body therefore communicated symbolic messages about perceived Greek masculine virtues and heroic status. The male nude became an identifier for Greek men, separating them from women and barbarians. 

For Greeks, the highly regarded virtue of self-control over mind, body, and emotions was expressed in an idealized, beautiful body. In addition, it also reflected ideas about the beauty of the young male body and Greek sexuality. Most Greek men had sexual relationships with both men and women. These relationships were undertaken both with prostitutes and with fellow citizens. The most common sexual relationship between male citizens was between an older partner in his twenties and a younger partner in his teens, known as pederasty. These relationships had socially defined roles for each partner, with the older man acting as the pursuer and the youth as the beloved, more passive partner. They were public relationships and were seen as having sexual and emotional benefits for the participants, as well as benefits for society since the older partner helped guide the younger partner into adulthood as a contributing member of society with an established set of socially acceptable beliefs. The male nudes of archaic and classical art are not overtly sexualized, but they represent young men at an age when they were pursued by older men and viewed as at their most beautiful. Nude statues can be dated by their depiction of the male body, with an increasing emphasis on a naturalistic depiction of the nude body over the course of the seventh through sixth centuries.  

Kouroi and korai

A comparison of kouroi (statues of young men) and korai (statues of young men), which were common votive dedications and grave markers in the sixth century, demonstrates the differences in how men and women were depicted differently in Greek art. The kouroi, like the Anavysos Kouros, depict an idealized, nude young man with aristocratic long, braided hair. 

Peplos Kore, c. 530 B.C.E., Paros marble, polychromy, 120 cm (Acropolis Museum)

Peplos Kore, c. 530 B.C.E., Paros marble, polychromy, 120 cm (Acropolis Museum)

The korai, like Peplos Kore, depict young women in elaborate clothing that was originally brightly painted with elaborate designs and jewelry. Citizen women were expected to stay within the domestic sphere, caring for children and the home, and undertaking tasks such as weaving. In many Greek poleis, such as Athens, a Greek woman had a male guardian, usually her father or husband, her entire life, as women were not believed to be able to impose self-control and manage their own affairs or participate in government or civic life except for religious events. The kore reflects the ideal Greek woman, a symbol of beautiful fertility, overseeing a prosperous household as demonstrated by her elaborate adornment. 

Watch videos about kouroi and korai

Anavysos (Kroisos) Kouros, c. 530 B.C.E., marble, 6' 4" (National Archaeological Museum, Athens)

Kouroi and Korai: an introduction

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Anavysos (Kroisos) Kouros, c. 530 B.C.E., marble, 6' 4" (National Archaeological Museum, Athens)

Anavysos Kouros: an idealized, nude young man with aristocratic long, braided hair.

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Peplos Kore, c. 530 B.C.E., Paros marble, polychromy, 120 cm (Acropolis Museum)

Peplos Kore: Originally brightly painted, is this sculpture an idealized young woman or a goddess?

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Lady of Auxerre: This tiny limestone statuette—standing about 2 feet tall—was originally brightly painted.

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Kleobis and Biton grid

The Kouroi of Kleobis and Biton: Standing more than 6’ tall, the statues had a commanding presence that would encourage passersby to stop and look at them.

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Art and architecture were integral parts of ancient Greek society, used to symbolize religious devotion, express civic pride, and to advertise personal success and prosperity. A study of Greek art in the eighth through fifth centuries illuminates not only the evolution of style, but how the Greeks saw themselves and their society in relation to their neighboring societies as well their gods and wider universe.

Key questions to guide your reading

What were the functions of sculpture in ancient Greece? What role did color play in ancient statuary? How did Greek sculpture portray the human body? How was nudity used to convey ideas of gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status?

How were pots decorated in ancient Greece? Who were the consumers of pottery and how were these pots used? What do we know about the pots and painters who created these vases?

How do Greek temples and their decoration reflect religious practices? What were panhellenic sanctuaries?

Jump down to Terms to Know

What were the functions of sculpture in ancient Greece? What role did color play in ancient statuary? How did Greek sculpture portray the human body? How was nudity used to convey ideas of gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status?

How were pots decorated in ancient Greece? Who were the consumers of pottery and how were these pots used? What do we know about the pots and painters who created these vases?

How do Greek temples and their decoration reflect religious practices? What were panhellenic sanctuaries?

Jump down to Terms to Know

Terms to know and use

Geometric period

Orientalizing period

Archaic period

polytheism

polis (pl. poleis)

amphora

krater

kouros

kore

black-figure technique

red-figure technique

pediment

votive

sanctuary

Learn more

Introduction to ancient Greek art

King Menkaura and his Queen

Terracotta Krater

Greek Architectural Orders

Learn more about how the ancient Greek and Roman past is viewed as a golden age and used to support modern political and ideological agendas—notably it’s regularly called upon by the alt-right and white nationalist groups. See Pharos: Doing Justice to the Classics.

Collaborators

Cite this page as: Dr. Amanda Herring, "Pottery, the body, and the gods in ancient Greece, c. 800–490 B.C.E.," in Smarthistory, July 21, 2022, accessed December 6, 2022, https://smarthistory.org/reframing-art-history/pottery-body-gods-ancient-greece-early/.