The Art of Ancient Greek Theater considers the vibrant imprint that ancient Greek tragedy and comedy left on the visual arts of classical Greece. Theatrical performance as we know it originated in the mid-sixth century B.C. with choral dances held in honor of Dionysos, the Greek god of wine and patron of the theater. The great tragedies by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, as well as the comedies of Aristophanes and Menander are preserved as some of the world’s most renowned literature and have formed the basis for theater performance as it is still practiced. Beyond being popular in their day, these plays inspired an array of lively paintings and sculpture, and those works represent, in some cases, the only evidence we have of some of the plays from ancient Greece.
Over ninety of these objects—pottery vases, sculpture, reliefs, and masks—from museums across Europe and the United States are featured in this book. The nine insightful essays and over 130 illustrations reveal the Greek origins of theater and their multifaceted expression in the visual arts.
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