Ancient Greek sculpture
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Ancient Greek sculpture is the sculpture of Ancient Greece. Modern scholarship identifies three major stages. They were used to depict the battles, mythology, and rulers of the land known as Ancient Greece.
Ancient Greek monumental sculpture was composed almost entirely of marble or bronze; with cast bronze becoming the favoured medium for major works by the early 5th century; many pieces of sculpture known only in marble copies made for the Roman market were originally made in bronze. Smaller works were in a great variety of materials, many of them precious, with a very large production of terracotta figurines. The territories of ancient Greece, except for Sicily and southern Italy, contained abundant supplies of fine marble, with Pentelic and Parian marble the most highly prized, along with that from modern Prilep in Macedonia, and various sources in modern Turkey. The ores for bronze were also relatively easy to obtain.〔Cook, 74-75〕 Marble was mostly found around the Parthenon and other major Greek buildings.
Both marble and bronze are fortunately easy to form and very durable; as in most ancient cultures there were no doubt also traditions of sculpture in wood about which we know very little, other than acrolithic sculptures, usually large, with the head and exposed flesh parts in marble but the clothed parts in wood. As bronze always had a significant scrap value very few original bronzes have survived, though in recent years marine archaeology or trawling has added a few spectacular finds, such as the Artemision Bronze and Riace bronzes, which have significantly extended modern understanding. Many copies of the Roman period are marble versions of works originally in bronze. Ordinary limestone was used in the Archaic period, but thereafter, except in areas of modern Italy with no local marble, only for architectural sculpture and decoration. Plaster or stucco was sometimes used for the hair only.〔Cook, 74-76〕
Chryselephantine sculptures, used for temple cult images and luxury works, used gold, most often in leaf form and ivory for all or parts (faces and hands) of the figure, and probably gems and other materials, but were much less common, and only fragments have survived. Many statues were given jewellery, as can be seen from the holes for attaching it, and held weapons or other objects in different materials.〔Cook, 75-76〕
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