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The Severe style lasted from around in reliefs, and soon after in statues, to about The relatively rigid poses of figures relaxed, and asymmetrical turning positions and oblique views became common, and deliberately sought. This was combined with a better understanding of anatomy and the harmonious structure of sculpted figures, and the pursuit of naturalistic representation as an aim, which had not been present before.
Excavations at the Temple of Zeus, Olympia since have revealed the largest group of remains, from about , of which many are in the Louvre. The "High Classical" period lasted only a few decades from about to , but has had a momentous influence on art, and retains a special prestige, despite a very restricted number of original survivals. The best known works are the Parthenon Marbles , traditionally since Plutarch executed by a team led by the most famous ancient Greek sculptor Phidias , active from about —, who was in his own day more famous for his colossal chryselephantine Statue of Zeus at Olympia c.
He is also credited as the creator of some life-size bronze statues known only from later copies whose identification is controversial, including the Ludovisi Hermes. The High Classical style continued to develop realism and sophistication in the human figure, and improved the depiction of drapery clothes , using it to add to the impact of active poses. Facial expressions were usually very restrained, even in combat scenes.
The composition of groups of figures in reliefs and on pediments combined complexity and harmony in a way that had a permanent influence on Western art. Relief could be very high indeed, as in the Parthenon illustration below, where most of the leg of the warrior is completely detached from the background, as were the missing parts; relief this high made sculptures more subject to damage. The Hellenistic period is conventionally dated from the death of Alexander the Great in BCE, and ending either with the final conquest of the Greek heartlands by Rome in BCE or with the final defeat of the last remaining successor-state to Alexander's empire after the Battle of Actium in 31 BCE, which also marks the end of Republican Rome.
The group called the Farnese Bull , possibly a 2nd-century marble original, is still larger and more complex, . Hellenistic sculpture greatly expanded the range of subjects represented, partly as a result of greater general prosperity, and the emergence of a very wealthy class who had large houses decorated with sculpture, although we know that some examples of subjects that seem best suited to the home, such as children with animals, were in fact placed in temples or other public places.
For a much more popular home decoration market there were Tanagra figurines , and those from other centres where small pottery figures were produced on an industrial scale, some religious but others showing animals and elegantly dressed ladies. Sculptors became more technically skilled in representing facial expressions conveying a wide variety of emotions and the portraiture of individuals, as well representing different ages and races. The reliefs from the Mausoleum are rather atypical in that respect; most work was free-standing, and group compositions with several figures to be seen in the round, like the Laocoon and the Pergamon group celebrating victory over the Gauls became popular, having been rare before.
The Barberini Faun , showing a satyr sprawled asleep, presumably after drink, is an example of the moral relaxation of the period, and the readiness to create large and expensive sculptures of subjects that fall short of the heroic.
After the conquests of Alexander Hellenistic culture was dominant in the courts of most of the Near East, and some of Central Asia , and increasingly being adopted by European elites, especially in Italy, where Greek colonies initially controlled most of the South.
Hellenistic art, and artists, spread very widely, and was especially influential in the expanding Roman Republic and when it encountered Buddhism in the easternmost extensions of the Hellenistic area.
The massive so-called Alexander Sarcophagus found in Sidon in modern Lebanon, was probably made there at the start of the period by expatriate Greek artists for a Hellenized Persian governor.
The Riace Bronzes , very rare bronze figures recovered from the sea, c. Hermes and the Infant Dionysos , possibly an original by Praxiteles , 4th century. The Winged Victory of Samothrace , c.
Venus de Milo , c. Leochares , Apollo Belvedere , c. Roman copy after a Greek bronze original of — BCE. Vatican Museums. Early Roman art was influenced by the art of Greece and that of the neighbouring Etruscans , themselves greatly influenced by their Greek trading partners. An Etruscan speciality was near life size tomb effigies in terracotta , usually lying on top of a sarcophagus lid propped up on one elbow in the pose of a diner in that period.
As the expanding Roman Republic began to conquer Greek territory, at first in Southern Italy and then the entire Hellenistic world except for the Parthian far east, official and patrician sculpture became largely an extension of the Hellenistic style, from which specifically Roman elements are hard to disentangle, especially as so much Greek sculpture survives only in copies of the Roman period.
Vast numbers of Greek statues were imported to Rome, whether as booty or the result of extortion or commerce, and temples were often decorated with re-used Greek works. A native Italian style can be seen in the tomb monuments, which very often featured portrait busts, of prosperous middle-class Romans, and portraiture is arguably the main strength of Roman sculpture.
There are no survivals from the tradition of masks of ancestors that were worn in processions at the funerals of the great families and otherwise displayed in the home, but many of the busts that survive must represent ancestral figures, perhaps from the large family tombs like the Tomb of the Scipios or the later mausolea outside the city.
The famous bronze head supposedly of Lucius Junius Brutus is very variously dated, but taken as a very rare survival of Italic style under the Republic, in the preferred medium of bronze. The Romans did not generally attempt to compete with free-standing Greek works of heroic exploits from history or mythology, but from early on produced historical works in relief, culminating in the great Roman triumphal columns with continuous narrative reliefs winding around them, of which those commemorating Trajan CE and Marcus Aurelius by survive in Rome, where the Ara Pacis "Altar of Peace", 13 BCE represents the official Greco-Roman style at its most classical and refined.
Among other major examples are the earlier re-used reliefs on the Arch of Constantine and the base of the Column of Antoninus Pius ,  Campana reliefs were cheaper pottery versions of marble reliefs and the taste for relief was from the imperial period expanded to the sarcophagus.
All forms of luxury small sculpture continued to be patronized, and quality could be extremely high, as in the silver Warren Cup , glass Lycurgus Cup , and large cameos like the Gemma Augustea , Gonzaga Cameo and the " Great Cameo of France ". After moving through a late 2nd-century "baroque" phase,  in the 3rd century, Roman art largely abandoned, or simply became unable to produce, sculpture in the classical tradition, a change whose causes remain much discussed.
Even the most important imperial monuments now showed stumpy, large-eyed figures in a harsh frontal style, in simple compositions emphasizing power at the expense of grace. The contrast is famously illustrated in the Arch of Constantine of in Rome, which combines sections in the new style with roundels in the earlier full Greco-Roman style taken from elsewhere, and the Four Tetrarchs c.
Ernst Kitzinger found in both monuments the same "stubby proportions, angular movements, an ordering of parts through symmetry and repetition and a rendering of features and drapery folds through incisions rather than modelling The hallmark of the style wherever it appears consists of an emphatic hardness, heaviness and angularity—in short, an almost complete rejection of the classical tradition".
This revolution in style shortly preceded the period in which Christianity was adopted by the Roman state and the great majority of the people, leading to the end of large religious sculpture, with large statues now only used for emperors. However, rich Christians continued to commission reliefs for sarcophagi, as in the Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus , and very small sculpture, especially in ivory, was continued by Christians, building on the style of the consular diptych.
Etruscan sarcophagus , 3rd century BCE. Bust of Emperor Claudius , c. Commodus dressed as Hercules , c. The Four Tetrarchs , c. The cameo gem known as the " Great Cameo of France ", c. The Early Christians were opposed to monumental religious sculpture, though continuing Roman traditions in portrait busts and sarcophagus reliefs, as well as smaller objects such as the consular diptych.
Such objects, often in valuable materials, were also the main sculptural traditions as far as is known of the barbaric civilizations of the Migration period , as seen in the objects found in the 6th-century burial treasure at Sutton Hoo , and the jewellery of Scythian art and the hybrid Christian and animal style productions of Insular art.
Following the continuing Byzantine tradition, Carolingian art revived ivory carving, often in panels for the treasure bindings of grand illuminated manuscripts , as well as crozier heads and other small fittings. Byzantine art , though producing superb ivory reliefs and architectural decorative carving, never returned to monumental sculpture, or even much small sculpture in the round. This gradually spread; by the late 10th and 11th century there are records of several apparently life-size sculptures in Anglo-Saxon churches, probably of precious metal around a wooden frame, like the Golden Madonna of Essen.
No Anglo-Saxon example has survived,  and survivals of large non-architectural sculpture from before 1, are exceptionally rare. Much the finest is the Gero Cross , of —, which is a crucifix , which was evidently the commonest type of sculpture; Charlemagne had set one up in the Palatine Chapel in Aachen around These continued to grow in popularity, especially in Germany and Italy.
The rune stones of the Nordic world, the Pictish stones of Scotland and possibly the high cross reliefs of Christian Great Britain, were northern sculptural traditions that bridged the period of Christianization. Archangel Ivory , —, Constantinople. Late Carolingian ivory panel, probably meant for a book-cover. The Harbaville Triptych , Byzantine ivory , midth century. From about there was a general rebirth of artistic production in all Europe, led by general economic growth in production and commerce, and the new style of Romanesque art was the first medieval style to be used in the whole of Western Europe.
The new cathedrals and pilgrim's churches were increasingly decorated with architectural stone reliefs, and new focuses for sculpture developed, such as the tympanum over church doors in the 12th century, and the inhabited capital with figures and often narrative scenes.
Romanesque art was characterised by a very vigorous style in both sculpture and painting. The capitals of columns were never more exciting than in this period, when they were often carved with complete scenes with several figures.
Compositions usually had little depth, and needed to be flexible to squeeze themselves into the shapes of capitals, and church typanums; the tension between a tightly enclosing frame, from which the composition sometimes escapes, is a recurrent theme in Romanesque art. Figures still often varied in size in relation to their importance portraiture hardly existed. Objects in precious materials such as ivory and metal had a very high status in the period, much more so than monumental sculpture — we know the names of more makers of these than painters, illuminators or architect-masons.
Metalwork, including decoration in enamel , became very sophisticated, and many spectacular shrines made to hold relics have survived, of which the best known is the Shrine of the Three Kings at Cologne Cathedral by Nicholas of Verdun. The bronze doors, a triumphal column and other fittings at Hildesheim Cathedral , the Gniezno Doors , and the doors of the Basilica di San Zeno in Verona are other substantial survivals.
The aquamanile , a container for water to wash with, appears to have been introduced to Europe in the 11th century, and often took fantastic zoomorphic forms; surviving examples are mostly in brass. Many wax impressions from impressive seals survive on charters and documents, although Romanesque coins are generally not of great aesthetic interest.
The Cloisters Cross is an unusually large ivory crucifix , with complex carving including many figures of prophets and others, which has been attributed to one of the relatively few artists whose name is known, Master Hugo , who also illuminated manuscripts.
Like many pieces it was originally partly coloured. The Lewis chessmen are well-preserved examples of small ivories, of which many pieces or fragments remain from croziers , plaques, pectoral crosses and similar objects.
The Gothic period is essentially defined by Gothic architecture , and does not entirely fit with the development of style in sculpture in either its start or finish. The facades of large churches, especially around doors, continued to have large typanums, but also rows of sculpted figures spreading around them.
These trends were continued in the west portal at Reims Cathedral of a few years later, where the figures are almost in the round, as became usual as Gothic spread across Europe. In Italy Nicola Pisano — and his son Giovanni developed a style that is often called Proto-Renaissance , with unmistakable influence from Roman sarcophagi and sophisticated and crowded compositions, including a sympathetic handling of nudity, in relief panels on their pulpit of Siena Cathedral —68 , the Fontana Maggiore in Perugia , and Giovanni's pulpit in Pistoia of Tilman Riemenschneider , Veit Stoss and others continued the style well into the 16th century, gradually absorbing Italian Renaissance influences.
Life-size tomb effigies in stone or alabaster became popular for the wealthy, and grand multi-level tombs evolved, with the Scaliger Tombs of Verona so large they had to be moved outside the church.
By the 15th century there was an industry exporting Nottingham alabaster altar reliefs in groups of panels over much of Europe for economical parishes who could not afford stone retables. Types of ivories included small devotional polyptychs , single figures, especially of the Virgin , mirror-cases, combs, and elaborate caskets with scenes from Romances , used as engagement presents. West portal of Chartres Cathedral c. South portal of Chartres Cathedral c. West portal at Reims Cathedral , Annunciation group.
The Bamberg Horseman , near life-size stone equestrian statue , the first of this kind since antiquity. Paris, — Siege of the Castle of Love on a mirror-case in the Louvre , —; the ladies are losing. Claus Sluter , David and a prophet from the Well of Moses.
Section of a panelled altarpiece with Resurrection of Christ , English, —, Nottingham alabaster with remains of colour. Renaissance sculpture proper is often taken to begin with the famous competition for the doors of the Florence Baptistry in , from which the trial models submitted by the winner, Lorenzo Ghiberti , and Filippo Brunelleschi survive.
Ghiberti's doors are still in place, but were undoubtedly eclipsed by his second pair for the other entrance, the so-called Gates of Paradise , which took him from to , and are dazzlingly confident classicizing compositions with varied depths of relief allowing extensive backgrounds.
The period was marked by a great increase in patronage of sculpture by the state for public art and by the wealthy for their homes; especially in Italy, public sculpture remains a crucial element in the appearance of historic city centres. Church sculpture mostly moved inside just as outside public monuments became common. Portrait sculpture, usually in busts, became popular in Italy around , with the Neapolitan Francesco Laurana specializing in young women in meditative poses, while Antonio Rossellino and others more often depicted knobbly-faced men of affairs, but also young children.
His iconic David has a contrapposto pose, borrowed from classical sculpture. It differs from previous representations of the subject in that David is depicted before his battle with Goliath and not after the giant's defeat.
Instead of being shown victorious, as Donatello and Verocchio had done, David looks tense and battle ready. Lorenzo Ghiberti , panel of the Sacrifice of Isaac from the Florence Baptistry doors; oblique view here. Luca della Robbia , detail of Cantoria , c. Donatello , David c. Donatello , Judith and Holofernes , c. Francesco Laurana , female bust cast. Verrocchio , Doubting Thomas , —, Orsanmichele , Florence. Michelangelo , David , c. Michelangelo , Dying Slave , c.
As in painting, early Italian Mannerist sculpture was very largely an attempt to find an original style that would top the achievement of the High Renaissance , which in sculpture essentially meant Michelangelo, and much of the struggle to achieve this was played out in commissions to fill other places in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, next to Michelangelo's David.
Baccio Bandinelli took over the project of Hercules and Cacus from the master himself, but it was little more popular than it is now, and maliciously compared by Benvenuto Cellini to "a sack of melons", though it had a long-lasting effect in apparently introducing relief panels on the pedestal of statues.
Like other works of his and other Mannerists it removes far more of the original block than Michelangelo would have done. Small bronze figures for collector's cabinets , often mythological subjects with nudes, were a popular Renaissance form at which Giambologna , originally Flemish but based in Florence, excelled in the later part of the century, also creating life-size sculptures, of which two joined the collection in the Piazza della Signoria.
He and his followers devised elegant elongated examples of the figura serpentinata , often of two intertwined figures, that were interesting from all angles. Stucco overdoor at Fontainebleau , probably designed by Primaticcio , who painted the oval inset, s or s. Benvenuto Cellini , Perseus with the head of Medusa , — Giambologna , Samson Slaying a Philistine , about In Baroque sculpture, groups of figures assumed new importance, and there was a dynamic movement and energy of human forms— they spiralled around an empty central vortex, or reached outwards into the surrounding space.
Baroque sculpture often had multiple ideal viewing angles, and reflected a general continuation of the Renaissance move away from the relief to sculpture created in the round, and designed to be placed in the middle of a large space—elaborate fountains such as Bernini's Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi Rome, , or those in the Gardens of Versailles were a Baroque speciality.
The Baroque style was perfectly suited to sculpture, with Gian Lorenzo Bernini the dominating figure of the age in works such as The Ecstasy of St Theresa — Artists saw themselves as in the classical tradition, but admired Hellenistic and later Roman sculpture, rather than that of the more "Classical" periods as they are seen today. The Protestant Reformation brought an almost total stop to religious sculpture in much of Northern Europe, and though secular sculpture, especially for portrait busts and tomb monuments , continued, the Dutch Golden Age has no significant sculptural component outside goldsmithing.
Statues of rulers and the nobility became increasingly popular. In the 18th century much sculpture continued on Baroque lines—the Trevi Fountain was only completed in Rococo style was better suited to smaller works, and arguably found its ideal sculptural form in early European porcelain , and interior decorative schemes in wood or plaster such as those in French domestic interiors and Austrian and Bavarian pilgrimage churches.
The Neoclassical style that arrived in the late 18th century gave great emphasis to sculpture. Jean-Antoine Houdon exemplifies the penetrating portrait sculpture the style could produce, and Antonio Canova 's nudes the idealist aspect of the movement. The Neoclassical period was one of the great ages of public sculpture, though its "classical" prototypes were more likely to be Roman copies of Hellenistic sculptures. The European neoclassical manner also took hold in the United States, where its pinnacle occurred somewhat later and is exemplified in the sculptures of Hiram Powers.
Bertel Thorvaldsen : Jason and the Golden Fleece John Flaxman , Memorial in the church at Badger, Shropshire , c. Greco-Buddhist art is the artistic manifestation of Greco-Buddhism , a cultural syncretism between the Classical Greek culture and Buddhism , which developed over a period of close to years in Central Asia, between the conquests of Alexander the Great in the 4th century BCE, and the Islamic conquests of the 7th century CE.
Greco-Buddhist art is characterized by the strong idealistic realism of Hellenistic art and the first representations of the Buddha in human form, which have helped define the artistic and particularly, sculptural canon for Buddhist art throughout the Asian continent up to the present.
Though dating is uncertain, it appears that strongly Hellenistic styles lingered in the East for several centuries after they had declined around the Mediterranean, as late as the 5th century CE. Some aspects of Greek art were adopted while others did not spread beyond the Greco-Buddhist area; in particular the standing figure, often with a relaxed pose and one leg flexed, and the flying cupids or victories, who became popular across Asia as apsaras. Greek foliage decoration was also influential, with Indian versions of the Corinthian capital appearing.
Under the Indo-Greeks and then the Kushans , the interaction of Greek and Buddhist culture flourished in the area of Gandhara , in today's northern Pakistan, before spreading further into India, influencing the art of Mathura , and then the Hindu art of the Gupta empire , which was to extend to the rest of South-East Asia.
The influence of Greco-Buddhist art also spread northward towards Central Asia , strongly affecting the art of the Tarim Basin and the Dunhuang Caves , and ultimately the sculpted figure in China, Korea, and Japan.
Gandhara frieze with devotees, holding plantain leaves, in purely Hellenistic style, inside Corinthian columns , 1st—2nd century CE. Buner , Swat , Pakistan. Victoria and Albert Museum. Fragment of the wind god Boreas , Hadda , Afghanistan. Halcyon Days All Halcyon Days. Austrian Bronzes All Austrian Bronzes. Pewter Art All Pewter Art.
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