Ancient Greek art is a conglomeration of neighboring artistic themes—throughout its history, we see examples hearkening back to Egyptian, Ancient Near Eastern and Aegean forms. In the Geometric period, artists created a plethora of finely crafted vases, with each shape serving a very specific purpose for daily life. A heavy emphasis is placed upon mythological themes, regardless of the medium. Grand temples sprang up all across the mainland, crafted originally with timber that eventually was replaced with marble, able to withstand the elements and resist fire. These temples start as bulky structures, but eventually give way to slender, elegant forms.


In the Classical period, artists begin to wholeheartedly embrace models based upon distinct mathematical proportions, believing that essence of beauty lies in correct ratios. Freestanding sculptures that originally display unnatural poise make way for marbles that spring to life, especially with the introduction of the chiastic pose. Even facial expressions begin to convey intense naturalism.


In the Hellenistic period, artists still strive for naturalism in their works, though they begin to emphasize playfulness and drama over refined expressions—we see this in both sculptures and architectural forms alike. Sculpted portraits of military figures and wealthy members of society begin to display increased individualism and personality, while cities and buildings take on new heights and scale.


Though few Greek wallpaintings have survived, the few left display an incredible amount of drama.