…and what we learn from it today. 

Although they were not the first to utilize art for its political functionality, the people of Ancient Greece quickly found their niche when it came to art as a form of “propaganda and self grandeur” as said by Any Leonard, co-founder of Classical Wisdom Weekly. In her article titled High Classical Greek Art: Political Patrons, she continues to discuss the ways in which the sculptors and painters of this time period thrived thanks to the commissions they received from the upper class. This allowed not only for the working artist class to rise on the social ladder, but it also promoted an artistic culture that eventually expanded into the philosophical and creatively driven society that we now know Classical Greece to have been. 

Subsequently, Winged Victory of Somothrace, a work of sculpted marble from Hellenistic Greece demonstrates advances that grecian artists had made in terms of detail and realism and collective skill. Proceeding these technical advancements, art began to take on a much more apparently political standpoint with pieces such as Augustus of Prima Porta and the Pantheon. The ways in which these pieces incorporate a sense of political approval in a positive aspect such as praising the personal attributes of political figures differs from the aggressive, negativity-focused climate of today’s political world. 

Today, artists such as Shirin Neshat embrace political activism in a way that does not attack other individuals but relies on the idea of promoting the good rather than pointing out the bad. As America’s political climate has spiked in aggressiveness in this past year, we see the issues that arise when attention is given to the negative. To avoid or repress this situation, I propose a turn back towards Grecian ideas of visually aesthetic and positive promotion of national leaders.

Photo Credit: distribution.arte.tv

Written by

Grace Wakeling

Grace Wakeling, junior, loves spending time with her friends and family. She is the Managing Editor for The OLu MUSE, and she enjoys writing very much. Her other interests include reading, drawing, and eating ice cream. Also, her favorite book is The Perks of being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.