?Greek subject to destruction by fire, flood, and



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?Greek art is a very important in the upper paleolithic period. Art objects and artifacts areimportant sources of information about civilization prior to written history. The number ofartworks lost because of their impermanence can only be imagined, since many were created byusing organic materials subject to destruction by fire, flood, and decay.

By comparison, objectsmade from metal or stone are more likely to survive The Aegean basin was a center of artisticactivity from early times see AEGEAN CIVILIZATIONS the ravages of time and nature. Theytoo, however, are susceptible to deterioration and may bring to our eyes a decidedly differentappearance than they possessed originally. Among the earliest objects that have survived arestone figures archaeologists have given the title of Venus of willendorfa small stone figurefound in Austria, dating from 20,000 B.C.. I think it is a symbolic sculpture most probablydesigned to represent and call forth human fertility. In many early civilization, people associatedfecundity with the female rather than the male and chose to represent females in their ceremonialimages. The reduction of detail and the exaggeration of aspects of the human from in thetwentieth-century sculpture, in which a realistic representation of from is likewise not the artists Because of their artistic quality, state of preservation, and antiquity, the paintings in theLascaux caves near Montiganac, France, are among the most important art discoveries of thetwentieth century.

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According to one widely accepted story, the paintings were discovered in1941 by children playing in a field. Deep within those caves, early artists had painted humansand animal figures and weapons, using mixtures of yellow and red ochre-natural found in ironore. In spite of fragile nature of material used in these paintings, the images have survived. Inplaces, the walls are nearly covered with stylized figures representing animals that inhabitedwestern Europe 15,00 years ago. It is one thing to represent an animal with proportionalaccuracy, but quite another to express its nature and movement. These unnamed artists capturedthe essence of the animals, by using expressive lines and subtle colors. Because most of the record of the people of the Paleolithic period has been destroyed bynatural as well as human forces, we will never know with certainty the purposes of their artobjects.

They may have been used in religious rituals related to some aspect of the hunt: theymay have express recognition of the common sprit among living things. Nevertheless, we cansafely conjecture that both the Venus of Willendorf and the cave paintings of Lascaux wereobjects associated with the early religion. One thing is known: in those early millennia, art played The western world has always looked upon ancient Greece as the cradle of its culturaldevelopment. The Greeks have always stride for perfection.

In the Archaic age of Greek art,extending from about100 B.C.., is the age in which the indigenous Greek art was slowlydeveloping. The second period, often called the Lyric Age and extending from 800 B.C., to thesixth century B.C.

, is noted for its expressiveness and realism. This is the great age of lyricpoetry, from which the period takes its name. The Golden Age flourished in the fifth centuryB.

C. and went on to the fourth century B.C., is considered the high point of Greek culture. During this era, there occurred such a development in drama, architecture, sculpture, and musicthat the age is still looked upon as the source from which our own culture emerged. TheHellenistic period of Greek culture dates from about 325 B.

C. to 100B.C. and is viewed as a The importance of Greek art and architecture for the history of Western civilization can hardlybe overstated, for the Greeks established many of the most enduring themes, attitudes, and formsof Western culture. The stories told in Greek art and literature of gods and heroes have beenretold ever since and continue to form a common ground for the art, literature, and even popularGreek artists were the first to establish mimesis (imitation of nature) as a guiding principle for art,even as Greek philosophers debated the intellectual value of this approach.

The repeateddepiction of the nude human figure in Greek art reflects Greek humanism a belief that “Man isthe measure of all things,” in the words of Greek philosopher Protagoras. Architecture is anotherGreek legacy that the West has inherited, as Greece established many

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