Classical Age 450BCE-200CE
Greek Classic 450BCE  Parthenon, Doryphorus, Acropolis, Elgin Marbles
Roman Era 20BCE-125CE  Augustus of Prima Porta, Pantheon, Colosseum

Ways of analyzing: form, content, background

(1) : orderly method of arrangement (as in the presentation of ideas) : manner of coordinating elements (as of an artistic production or course of reasoning)

(2) : a particular kind or instance of such arrangement <the sonnet is a poetical form>

b : PATTERN, SCHEMA <arguments of the same logical form>

c : the structural element, plan, or design of a work of art --  visible and measurable unit defined by a contour : a bounded surface or volume

(3) The literal shape and mass of an object or figure.

(4) More general, the materials used to make a work of art, the ways in which these materials are used utilized in terms of the formal elements (medium, texture, rhythm, tempo, dynamic contrast, melody, line, light/contrast/value structure, color, texture, size and composition.)

formal analysis

Is the analysis of a work by discussing its form such as its medium, shape, lines, light, color, texture and composition.


Etymology: Medieval Latin iconographia, from Greek eikonographia sketch, description, from eikonographein to describe, from eikon- + graphein to write -- more at CARVE
Date: 1678
1 : pictorial material relating to or illustrating a subject
2 : the traditional or conventional images or symbols associated with a subject and especially a religious or legendary subject
3 : the imagery or symbolism of a work of art, an artist, or a body of art

Stockstad refers to this as content.  According to Stockstad:

"Content includes subject matter, which is quite simply is what is represented, even when that consists strictly of lines and formal elements-lines and color without recognizable subject matter, for example."

"The study of the "what" of subject matter is iconography.  Iconologyu has come to mean the study of the "why" of subject matter."

Kallikrates and Iktinos, 
Parthenon, Acropolis, Athens. 447-438BCE.
View from the West

View from the NW
Etymology: Middle English, weaving together of words, from Latin contextus connection of words, coherence, from contexere to weave
 together, from com- + texere to weave

1 : the parts of a discourse that surround a word or passage and can throw light on its meaning

 2 : the interrelated conditions in which something exists or occurs : ENVIRONMENT, SETTING

contextual analysis
Is the analysis of a work by discussing its history, culture and or background. Roughly close to conclusion in music.


The Athenian Age
  • 490–479 B.C. In the middle of the sixth century B. C., Cyrus the Great of Persia seized Lydia and Ionia. The advance of his son-in-law, Darius the Great, into Thrace led to the Persian Wars.
  • 490 First invasion of Greece, the Persians were defeated by the Athenians under Miltiades at Marathon Athenian leader Themistocles started construction of a great navy. 
  • 480 A second Persian invasion in led by Darius' son Xerxes. At the mountain pass of Thermopylae a vastly outnumbered force from Sparta, Thespiae, and Thebes made a heroic but futile stand against the Persians, who captured and burned Athens.
  • 480 B.C. The remaining Persians were defeated by forces under the Spartan commander Pausanias and the Athenians Xanthippus and Aristides. The historian Herodotus devoted his major work to an account of the Persian Wars.
  • 460 B.C. The statesman and orator Pericles became head of the Athenian democratic party.  He was virtual ruler of Athens for the next 30 years, Athens was a democracy; his authority rested on popular election and his program was carried out by act of the general assembly. Sparta, firmly under aristocratic rule, saw this democracy as a threat to its own system. It dominated the Delian League, an alliance of Aegean cities formed for mutual protection, and forced the members to pay tribute. Athens began expanding—to the east by sea, bringing it into conflict with Persia; and to the west on land, where it clashed with the Peloponnesian League, led by Sparta. Members of the Delian League revolted. Athens became involved in almost ceaseless war, but was able to win most of the battles. 
  • 448 B.C., a peace treaty was signed with Persia and in 445 a truce was made with Sparta. The warfare ended in 443, when Pericles reorganized the defeated Delian League and turned it into the Athenian Empire.


Jacques Louis David. The Death of Socrates. 1787 French Neoclassical Period/Style

Socrates b. c. 470 BC, Athens [Greece] d. 399, Athens
ancient Athenian philosopher. He was the first of the great trio of ancient Greeks--Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle--who laid the philosophical foundations of Western culture. As Cicero said, Socrates "brought down philosophy from heaven to earth"--i.e., from the nature speculation of the Ionian and Italian cosmologists to analyses of the character and conduct of human life, which he assessed in terms of an original theory of the soul. Living during the chaos of the Peloponnesian War, with its erosion of moral values, Socrates felt called to shore up the ethical dimensions of life by the admonition to "know thyself" and by the effort to explore the connotations of moral and humanistic terms.

Plato b. 428/427 BC, Athens, or Aegina, Greece d. 348/347, Athens
ancient Greek philosopher, the second of the great trio of ancient Greeks--Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle--who between them laid the philosophical foundations of Western culture. Building on the life and thought of Socrates, Plato developed a profound and wide-ranging system of philosophy. His thought has logical, epistemological, and metaphysical aspects; but its underlying motivation is ethical. It sometimes relies upon conjectures and myth, and it is occasionally mystical in tone; but fundamentally Plato is a rationalist, devoted to the proposition that reason must be followed wherever it leads. Thus the core of Plato's philosophy, resting upon a foundation of eternal Ideas, or Forms, is a rationalistic ethics.

Aristotle b. 384 BC, Stagira, Chalcidice, Greece d. 322, Chalcis, Euboea
Greek ARISTOTELES, ancient Greek philosopher and scientist, one of the two greatest intellectual figures produced by the Greeks (the other being Plato). He surveyed the whole of human knowledge as it was known in the Mediterranean world in his day.

More than any other thinker, Aristotle determined the orientation and the content of Western intellectual history. He was the author of a philosophical and scientific system that through the centuries became the support and vehicle for both medieval Christian and Islamic scholastic thought: until the end of the 17th century, Western culture was Aristotelian. Even after the intellectual revolutions of centuries to follow, Aristotelian concepts and ideas remained embedded in Western thinking.

Kallikrates and Iktinos, 
Parthenon, Acropolis, Athens. 447-438BCE.
View from the West

View from the NW
Main Entry: Py·thag·o·ras
 Pronunciation: p&-'tha-g&-r&s, pI-
circa 580-circa 500 B.C. Greek philosopher & mathematician; generally credited with theory of functional significance of numbers in the objective world and in music
 - Py·thag·o·re·an /p&-"tha-g&-'rE-&n/ adjective

symmetria ". . .derived from Pythagoreans, a belief that numbers underlie both physical and abstract phenomena served to anchor human experience and action in a stable and comprehensible universe.  Numbers reveal divine prescence in the human sphere."Art History's History by Vernon Hyde Minor

Iktinos and Kallikrates
The Parthenon c450 BCE
Athens, Greece


Battle of the Lapiths and the Centaurs
Apollonian/Dionysian Conflict

Polykleitos, Spear Bearer (Doryphoros)
Roman copy after the Greek original bronze of c.450-440 BCE,
Marble, height 6'6" (2 M) 
tree trunk and brace strut are Roman additions.
Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples Italy
Classic Greek

lost wax process (cire perdue)

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English, from Late Latin, from Latin, ruler, rule, model, standard, from Greek kanOn
Date: before 12th century
4 a : an accepted principle or rule b: a criterion or standard of judgment c : a body of principles, rules, standards, or norms
1 a : a regulation or dogma decreed by a church council b : a provision of canon law
2 [Middle English, prob. from Old French, from Late Latin, from Latin, model] : the most solemn and unvarying part of the Mass including the consecration of the bread and wine
3 [Middle English, from Late Latin, from Latin, standard] a : an authoritative list of books accepted as Holy Scripture b : the authentic works of a writer c: a sanctioned or accepted group or body of related works <the canon of great literature>
5 [Late Greek kanOn, from Greek, model] : a contrapuntal musical composition in two or more voice parts in which the melody is imitated exactly and completely by the successive voices though not always at the same pitch
synonym see LAW

Greek, Classic, Polykleitos, 
Doryphoros c450BCE
cire perdue (lost wax process)

Greek, Classic, Polykleitos, 
"Doryphoros" c450BCE

Young Warrior, (Riace Bronzes) found in the sea off Riace, Italy. 
c. 460-450 BCE. Bronze with bone and glass eyes, silver teeth, and copper lips and nipples, height 6'8" (2.03 m) Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Reggio Calabria, Italy

Laocoon and his sons, c1C BCE by
Hagesandros, Polydoros, and Athenadoros
of Rhodes, marble 8' tall
Vatican Museum, Rome

Homer's Iliad and Odyssey