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This ceramic figure painting was the first sign of the enduring Greek fascination with the human body, as the noblest subject for a painter or sculptor: a fascination rekindled in the High Renaissance painting of Michelangelo and others.

Another ceramic style introduced by Corinth was black-figure pottery: figures were first drawn in black silhouette, then marked with incised detail. Favourite themes for black-figure imagery included: the revels of Dionysus and the Labours of Hercules.

The Archaic era was a period of gradual experimentation.

The Classical era then witnessed the flowering of mainland Greek power and artistic domination.

The Hellenistic Period, which opened with the death of Alexander the Great, witnessed the creation of "Greek-style art" throughout the region, as more and more centres/colonies of Greek culture were established in Greek-controlled lands.

The period also saw the decline and fall of Greece and the rise of Rome: in fact, it ends with the complete Roman conquest of the entire Mediterranean basin.

During the 15th century BCE, after a catastrophic earthquake, which destroyed most of her palaces, Crete was overrun by warlike Mycenean tribes from the Greek mainland.

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However, early forms of Greek art were largely confined to ceramic pottery, as the region suffered continued disruption from widespread famine, forced emigration (many Greeks left the mainland to colonize towns in Asia Minor and Italy), and social unrest.The Ionic order was used in buildings along the west coast of Turkey and other Aegean islands.Famous buildings of ancient Greece constructed or begun during the Archaic period include: the Temple of Hera (600), the Temple of Athena on the Acropolis (550), and the Temples at Paestum (550 onwards).There were three such orders in early Greek architecture: Doric, Ionic and Corinthian.The Doric style was used in mainland Greece and later Greek settlements in Italy.The new idiom featured a wider repertoire of motifs, such as curvilinear designs, as well as a host of composite creatures like sphinxes, griffins and chimeras.During the Archaic era itself, decoration became more and more figurative, as more animals, zoomorphs and then human figures themselves were included.Then, not long after launching the Trojan War (c.1194–1184), the city of Mycenae, along with its architecture and cultural possessions, was destroyed by a new set of maurauders, known as Dorians.At this point, most production of ancient art came to a standstill for about 400 years (1200-800), as the region descended into an era of warring kingdoms and chaos, known as the "Greek Dark Ages" (or the Geometric or Homeric Age).NOTE: It is important to note from the outset, apart from pottery, nearly all original art from Greek Antiquity - that is, sculpture, mural and panel paintings, mosaics, decorative art - has been lost, leaving us almost entirely dependent upon copies by Roman artists and a few written accounts.As a result, our knowledge of the chronology, evolution and extent of Greek visual culture is bound to be extremely sketchy, and should not be taken too seriously.

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