What Is Classical Art?

What Is Classical Art?
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.37

     challenging words:    breastplate, busts, early-19th, elegance, frieze, mid-18th, neo-classical, peplos, reflection, villa, classic, rectangular, affected, probably, classical, original
     content words:    Golden Age, Pallas Athena

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What Is Classical Art?
By Colleen Messina

1     You have probably heard someone say, "That is a classic!" They might be talking about anything from soft drinks to jokes on T.V. But classical art means something special. It is the art of ancient Greece and Rome.
2     Some people like classical art so much that they compare every other style of art to it. The ancient Greeks excelled in painting, sculpture, and architecture. Their work was elegant. They were a refined people. They believed that man could be perfect. These ideas showed in their culture. Classical art reached a high point during the Golden Age of Greece.
3     Greek artists did lively murals. These usually showed pictures of their heroes and legends. Unfortunately, most Greek paintings have been lost. We know about them partly because the Romans copied them. One famous Roman wall painting was in a villa in Pompeii. It had bright red walls. The people in the pictures were as big as you, or bigger! Even though it looks faded today, it was once stunning.
4     Greek painting did survive on Greek pottery. Many huge bowls, plates, and tall jugs were decorated with people and designs. The Greeks stored wine, oil, grains, and perfume in these containers. Remember, long ago no one had plastic! The Greeks decorated their pottery with pictures of gods, goddesses, and heroes. At first, pots had a red clay background with black figures on it. Then, they switched and put red figures on a black background.
5     The Greeks were also excellent sculptors. Their statues looked alive! One sculptor thought that Athens should be the most beautiful city of all time. His name was Phidias. He lived from about 500 to 432 B.C. Phidias was in charge of the building of a temple in Athens. It was called the Parthenon. This rectangular temple was for Pallas Athena. She was the Greek goddess of wisdom.

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