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The Archaic Period

archaic greek art

The start of the Archaic period in Greece, in the seventh century B.C., sees a significant change in Archaic period art.  The roots of Archaic period art and Classical Greek art were laid by Greek painters quickly assimilating foreign styles and themes into fresh depictions of their own tales and traditions.


Lyric poetry, the dominant literary media of the day, reached new heights. Fine jewelry was made by goldsmiths in Rhodes, while armor and plaques were made by bronzeworkers on Crete with magnificent reliefs.


During the sixth century B.C., innovation and invention took numerous forms. Thales of Miletos, the oldest recorded Greek scientist, documented natural cycles and accurately guessed a solar eclipse and the solstices.


Vases from Athens from the second half of the sixth century B.C. have a richness of artwork depicting burial ceremonies, daily life, symposia, sports, combat, religion, and folklore, among other things.


The “Archaic Smile” appeared frequently in sculptures and sculpted figures and was intended to give the item a sense of life and well-being.


The archaic period is marked by a trend toward figurative and realistic approaches in the visual arts. Sculpture was brought to Greece during this time, and Greek pottery styles saw significant transformations.  Both ancient Greek sculpture and ancient Greek pottery had notable Orientalizing influences in the early archaic era.

archaic greek sculpture

Greek sculpture consisted of modest bronze pieces, notably of horses, at the start of the archaic era. Greek sculpture exhibited a considerable Eastern influence in the seventh century.

archaic greek pottery

Several Greek pots were made domestically for everyday and culinary use, while superior pottery from Attica was purchased by other Mediterranean civilizations.