"Man is the measure of all things" was a central mindset in Greek life.  This led to artists examining the human form more closely and then setting out to perfect it in their sculptures.  Artists were also heavily influenced by mythology and tales of Gods and Goddesses of those mythical stories. The same obsession with definitive human forms appears again in the Renaissance period, but on a deeper level.


Both art and architecture from this period helped to shape Western Civilization as we know it today. Many techniques were perfected and new discoveries were made in casting sculptures and building large scale projects. This is perhaps signs of influence from Greek and Roman Art still appear today in both art and architecture.

Did you know?

Most of the sculptures we see today are monochromatic and made of stone, but many of the original Greek sculptures were painted bright colors and included elements other than stone such as metal and ivory.

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Below is some basic information on Greek and Roman Art and its characteristics and influences. If you would like to print off a copy of this page along with samples of art from this period, you can download the Greek and Roman Art Summary above.

Temple of Aegina
Temple of Aegina

This sculpture illustrates the tragedy of a man heroically taking his last breath. It was found at a temple on the Greek island of Aegina.

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Mask of Agamemnon
Mask of Agamemnon

This gold mask, discovered in 1876 by a German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, is thought to be the death mask of King Agamemnon of Mycenae Greece. It is a funeral mask and was found over the face of a body in a burial place at Mycenae.

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Borghese Vase
Borghese Vase

This vase is over 5 feet tall and about 4 and a half feet wide. It is carved from the glittering white marble of Mount Pentelikon in Attica, near Athens, Greece, and dates back to the first century BC. It was created for export to Rome as a lavish garden decoration.

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Quick Facts:
  • Art changed from serving a practical purpose to being made for beauty

  • Art glorified the gods, athletes and warriors

  • Characteristics and Type

Characteristics and/or Types of Art:
  • Focus on balance, perfection and architectural order

  • Mostly sculptures of marble or limestone

  • Alexander the Great expanded his empire and spread Greek culture far and wide

  • Commerce and trade was growing