John H. Oakley
This essay provides the first concise overview of the depiction of children in Greek archaic and classical art. The survey commences with a brief consideration of earlier Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Orientalizing Age images of children before turning to the rich supply of images of children in archaic art. The early examples are primarily mythological, but by the middle of the sixth century a wide variety of everyday scenes of children exists. Children at this time are primarily shown as small adults. This changes in the classical period, the heyday of picturing children in Greek art, when many children display the physiological forms appropriate for their age. Artists at this time have often carefully observed how children appear and act. New scenes of children at work and play are introduced. All these depictions of children provide a rich and unparalleled source for the study of children in antiquity.
This chapter examines Greek and Roman theories of art, paying particular attention to images, the notion of “ancient art theory,” the theory of mimesis, and the ideas of philosophers including Plato and Aristotle. Citing book 19 of the Odyssey, it explores the material nature of the products of artistic craft, their impact on viewers, and the function and contexts framing the use and reception of artifacts. It considers the reasons for the apparent absence of “theories of art” in ancient Greece and Rome and analyzes a number of objects and texts concerning objects. It also discusses the material and affective dimensions of ancient aesthetics, along with the representational (and epiphanic) nature of art and its capacity to access an invisible reality or ideal. Finally, the chapter looks at the artist’s role in fashioning the image and the sources of the “vision” or mental apprehension informing his work.
A. A. Donohue
This chapter focuses on the modern historiography of art and architecture in ancient Greece and Rome and its relationship with modern intellectual history. It begins with an analysis of two fundamental conditions that have shaped the modern historiography of the Greek and Roman visual arts: the fragmentary survival of the remains of the Classical past and the normative position of the Classical cultures in Western civilization. It then turns to Greek and Roman texts bearing on the historiography of the visual arts. The chapter concludes with a discussion of recent and current approaches to the historiography of Greek and Roman art and architecture.
More than any other ancient work of art, seals are intimate objects which are literally bound to their owners. In ancient societies, their primary purpose was to secure property—whether in the home or the public arena—and to assign responsibility by means of clay sealings impressed by a specific individual who is identified by the seal's impression. The study of Minoan seals began even before the discovery of Minoan civilization. Long before archaeologists arrived on the scene, Cretan women were wearing “milk stones”—brightly colored Minoan engraved gems—on their breasts or around the neck. These were believed to contain magical powers to ensure the milk of a nursing mother. When Arthur Evans first traveled to Crete in 1894 and visited Knossos he soon began collecting gemstones. Evans's trips to Crete led to the excavations at Knossos and the revelation of the Minoan world.
John G. Younger
After the introduction of a sealing system from the Near East into southern Greece in the Early Helladic period and the destruction of that culture, there is no demonstrable sign that seals were used on the Greek mainland until the sudden appearance of seals in the Mycenae Shaft Graves at the end of the Middle Helladic period. After the Shaft Grave period, seals are known on the Greek mainland, but there is almost no evidence that seals are being carved there. A stone mold for a gold ring found in a tomb at Eleusis constitutes the slim evidence for the making of seals Greece. Perhaps almost all seals used on the Greek mainland in the Late Bronze were made in Crete. After the fall of Knossos, Mycenaeans produced the Mainland Popular group, a series of beads in soft stones and glass that look like seals but were (almost) never used administratively.