CLASSICAL IDEAL- Ancient Athens, Classical Greece, Hellenistic Greece and Ancient Rome
The Classical ideal of ancient Athens, pertains to the standard of excellence proposed by the cultures of ancient Greece, and Rome, beginning in the Golden Age of Greece. The ancient Greeks aspired to perfection in both body and mind, and sought a synthesis of the two poles of passion and reason. Through athletic behavior, they were able to exercise the value of perfection of body. Through philosophy, government, poetry, drama, law, logic, history, mathematics and architecture, they were able to express their desire for perfection of the mind. Through artistic portrayal of the human form they tried to achieve a synthesis of passion and reason.
The philosophy of Greek art of the Golden Age was that of moderation in all things, as represented by ‘The Winged Victory’. In sculpture, the characteristic form was
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the male nude, which later inspired Michelangelo’s Statue of David of the Renaissance. During the peak of the Classical Greek civilization, the idealized figures of Greek art and architecture exemplified order and harmony. In architecture, the most famous building was the Parthenon. To the ancient Greeks, monuments were to be treated as large sculptures. They were thus built around the same rules of symmetry and ideal proportion. Public rites took place in front of a temple, where sculpture told the story of the temple’s deity. The religion of the Classical period of Greek and Roman history was polytheistic. The gods and mythical figures of the civilization were the subjects of homage in the arts, including drawing, sculpture, and architecture. The signature city of the Greek classical era was Athens. The main contributions of the Golden Age of ancient Athens were democracy, individualism and reason. The ideals and values were transmitted from Greece to Rome, and were later revived by many cultures of Europe.
The ideals of order and solemnity repeated themselves in the art and architecture of the ancient Romans, in the European Renaissance era and in the era of Neoclassicism in 17th and early 18th century Europe.