Classical Period

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Classical Period


a period in the history of ancient Greek art, embracing the fifth century B.C. and the first three quarters of the fourth century B.C.

The social basis of art in the classical period was a slaveholding democracy that established itself in the majority of the Greek city-states, including Athens. Art of the classical period combined realistic artistic principles with civic aesthetic ideals and democratic tendencies. During the classical period the regular planning of cities was developed; among the founders of this science was the architect Hippodamus. The order system of architecture practiced by Ictinus and Callicrates achieved a high degree of harmony and tectonic balance. Perfect human forms combining spiritual and physical beauty were created by the sculptors Myron, Polyclitus, Phidias, Scopas, and Praxiteles, as well as by Lysippus, whose creative work was also linked with the next historical stage. It is customary to divide the classical period into three subperiods: early classical, with a “severe style,” in the first half of the fifth century B.C.; high classical, in the second half of the fifth century B.C.; and late classical, 400–325 B.C.


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