colored replica of Peplos Kore as ArtemisAlthough marble is found everywhere on Greece, the Greeks did not begin making statues with it until after they became a seafaring people and witnessed the colossal monuments, statues and temples in Egypt.
Early Ancient Greek Sculpture
The first Greek statues were made during the Archaic Age (750 B.C. to 500 B.C.). They had the same rigidity, stiff posture and stylized walking gait as their counterparts in Egypt. Their left arm was forward and the fist were clenched like most Egyptian standing figures. The first advancement the Greeks made was creating a free standing statue. Egyptian statues were either seated or shown emerging from a slab of stone which acted to hold the figure up.
Early statues called kouroi were often sensuous and monumental nude statues and often featured a mysterious Mona Lisa smile. Kouros and kore are the male and female terms for “young person.” Art historian Andre Stewart told National Geographic, kouroi “were intended be erotic.” The subjects were usually young, male and had beautiful bodies. The largest known kouri are 16 feet high and made from marble. Before kouri the largest known sculpture in Greece were small bronzes.
Describing kouros at an exhibition titled “The Greek Miracle: Classical Sculptures from the Dawn of Democracy” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the 1990s, Holland Cotter wrote in the New York Times, “The first images to greet the visitor are the Metropolitan’s own rose-tinged marble statue of a standing nude youth, or kouros, from the late seventh century B.C., and a few steps behind him is a sixth-century kouros from the National Archeological Museum in Athens… The contrast between the stiff, schematically rendered anatomy of the earlier figure and the supple form of the latter, his arms slightly bent as if anticipating an embrace, his face lifted in an unself-conscious smile, epitomizes in a stroke the development toward the “classical” style of the fifth century B.C. [Source: Holland Cotter, New York Times, March 12, 1993]
One of the most celebrated pieces in the show is the “Kritios Boy,” the first surviving sculpture in Greek art to break away from the frontal rigidity of the archaic kouros to introduce a realistic depiction of the body’s shifting weight and torsion. His white marble figure is a marvel of abstracted naturalism, though his lantern-jawed face has the thick, self-satisfied demeanor of a teen-age athlete just beginning to run to fat.”
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It is interesting, Ancient Egyptian art is a symbol of the power. However, the other civilizations have similar buildings. All of them are like stairs going to sky ( Mayan, Nubian pyramids or pyramids in Mexico.) It is obvious taht religion and civilization competitions made people go forward in art and architecture.