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3 Primary Themes of Greek Art in Hellenistic Period

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  • Category: Greece

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           Hellenistic Art flourished after the death of Alexander the Great when inter-cultural influences among nations were prevalent as an art transformed to a more aggressive expression of emotions portrayed in the sculptor which was aesthetically motivated with passion and grace. Although concepts of classical Greek art were not forgotten rather it was incorporated to a more dynamic concept of the artists’ freedom to broaden its horizon or to explore and experiment its subjects.

           Although the importance of Greek classical art were still recognized according to its themes of deities and heroes, the emphasis of Hellenistic art pave way to a more deeper and intense expression of the subject as ideas are more distinct and transparent. An article entitled Greek Art: The Hellenistic Period (323- 31 BC) from GreekLandscapes.com mentioned the primary themes of Hellenistic Art as follows:

“…the emphasis of Hellenistic art shifted from religious and naturalistic themes towards more dramatic human expression, psychological and spiritual preoccupation, and theatrical settings. The sculpture of this period abandons the self-containment of the earlier styles and appears to embrace its physical surroundings with dramatic groupings and creative landscaping of its context,” (2002-2208).

The three themes as mentioned were dramatic human expression, psychological and spiritual preoccupation and theatrical settings. The first may mean that there was a deeper understanding of how emotions were conveyed according to its expressive connotation as what was seen in the sculpture transcends to every viewer so that emotions expressed were also felt by the viewer or audience. Psychological and spiritual preoccupation in Hellenistic Art may mean that the behavior of human mind were expressed according to its spiritual inclination as expressed in the sculpture of Aphrodite, Pan and Eros where Aphrodite holding her sandal facing Eros as a sign to reprimand. Theatrical theme could

3 Primary Themes of Greek Art in Hellenistic Period

mean that setting of any Hellenistic Art profoundly expresses the environmental set up of its history without diminishing the value of classical Greek Art that expresses profoundly the beauty and imaginary action as what was expressed in the Nike of Samothrace where the detailed sculpture of its wings and figure was observable for viewers to conclude.


  1. Greek Art: The Hellenistic Period (323 – 31 BC.), GreekLandscapes.com, 2002-2008. Retrieved 20 November 2008 from http://www.greeklandscapes.com/greece/athens_museum_hellenistic.html
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