Prehistoric and Neolithic sculpture
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Prehistoric and Neolithic sculpture

Any chronological account of the origin and evolution of a sculpture should occupy several volumes, if not a whole library, respectively, its summary means that most of the historical facts will inevitably be omitted. Nevertheless, even such a far from complete excursion into the history of sculpture will be replete with wonderful stories of extraordinary masters who directed their talent to create marble, terracotta, bronze sculptures and reliefs. The works of sculptors do not lose relevance in our time.

Sculpture history
Prehistoric and Neolithic sculpture
The history of sculpture originates in the Stone Age. The earliest known works (for example, “Venus from Berekhat Rama” and “Venus from Tan-Tan”) date from about 230,000–200,000 BC.

Venus from Berehat Ram

The objects of prehistoric sculpture were various animals and human figures. The material for the works was mammoth bone, clay, various types of stone.

The Neolithic art of sculpture is primarily characterized by works of ceramics. The most impressive form of art of this period was sculpture in the Egyptian pyramids and tombs of the pharaohs: their decoration (with religious overtones) were various bas-reliefs and statues.

Venus from Tan Tan

The beginning of the Bronze Age, characterized by the development of cities and the architecture of public buildings, which was accompanied and facilitated by the creation and improvement of complex tools, caused an increase in demand for all types of fine art, including sculpture. New works reflected the power of the gods and earthly rulers.

Sculpture of classical antiquity (1100–100 BC)
The so-called “Dark Age” (1100–900 BC) in the history of Greek culture is characterized by a predominance of ceramic works. Greek sculpture in the form familiar to us appears from 650 BC. e. After this, Greek art develops in accordance with traditional chronology.

It is also worth mentioning the Celtic metal sculpture (400-100 BC). Its development and spread of influence was hindered by the disorganization of disparate Celtic tribes, which could not stand the competition with more organized and centralized states.

Celtic HoopCeltic Hoop

Archaic Greek sculpture (600-500 BC)
This period is characterized by a continuous series of experiments in the field of sculpture as a form of art. At this time, many works in the style of kuros, depicting naked athletes, were created.

Classical Greek sculpture (circa 500–323 BC)
The highest point of Greek creativity is the classical period, which presented to the plastic art sculptors such as Polyclet, Phidias, Miron from Elevfer, Skopas, Lysippus, Praxitel, etc. These masters reached a new level of realism, which was later taken as a basis and perfected by unsurpassed masters Renaissance.

Hellenistic Greek sculpture (circa 323–27 BC)
This period is characterized by the spread of Greek culture in almost the entire civilized world. Classical realism is replaced by greater heroism and expressionism.

Despite the crisis and collapse of Greek cities, the sculpture has maintained its high status in the hierarchy of arts. Subsequently, the Romans created many high-quality copies of works of Greek art, and it is thanks to them that we know many works of the classical and Hellenistic period. Statues and reliefs created by Greek sculptors had a strong influence on Renaissance and Baroque masters, after which they became the cornerstone of European art for many years.

Roman sculpture (around 200 B.C. – 200 C.E.)
For a long time, Roman sculpture was far from idealizing objects and realistic. Subsequently, Roman sculptors, when creating busts of emperors, dignitaries, historical reliefs and monuments, began to abuse heroization, creating more and more mediocre examples of sculpture.

Byzantine sculpture (330–1450)
Until the 4th century AD early Christian sculpture was mainly reliefs for graves and sarcophagi. The art of the Eastern Roman Empire was almost completely religious and, in addition to small works of ivory, as well as works in jewelry, did not contain voluminous sculptures.

Sculpture during the Dark Ages (about 500–800)
As the name of the period implies, this was not the best time for European sculptors. The church did not have significant power, cities were impoverished, and the level of culture was low.

Gothic sculpture (c. 1150–1300)
New architectural techniques and the development of demand for fine art in various forms at the end of the XII century formed the so-called “Gothic style”. The characteristic features of the Romanesque style (rounded arches, massive thick walls and small windows) were replaced by pointed arches, high ceilings, thin walls and huge stained glass windows.

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