The Archaic Period
During the archaic period (c.660–480 B.C.) sculpture emerged as a principal form of artistic expression. Dating from the beginning of this period are magnificent statues of nude walking youths, the kouroi, which suggest Egyptian prototypes but which are distinctive in stylization and tension of movement (e.g., Kouros, Metropolitan Mus.). Draped female sculptures from the archaic period suggest Middle Eastern influence (e.g., Hera of Samos, Louvre).
Vase painters depicted mythological scenes and, toward the end of the archaic period, many scenes from contemporary life. Outstanding was the Athenian school of black-figured vase painting led by the painter Execias. The appearance of the red-figured style of vase painting (c.525 B.C.) showed increased concern with the rendering of three-dimensional space and naturalistic detail. Euthymides and Euphronius were among the great early masters in this medium. About a generation later masterpieces were produced by the painters Brygos and Duris.
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