Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world. It is the period in which Greek and Roman society flourished and wielded great influence throughout Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Conventionally, it is taken to begin with the earliest-recorded Greek poetry of Homer (8th – 7th century BC), and continues through the emergence of Christianity and the decline of the Roman Empire (5th century AD). It ends with the dissolution of classical culture at the close of Late Antiquity (AD 300 – 600).
The culture of the ancient Greeks, together with a cross section of influences from the Orient, prevailed throughout classical antiquity as the basis of art, philosophy, society, and educational ideals. These ideals were preserved and imitated by the Romans, and it is this “Greco-Roman” cultural foundation that has been so immensely influential on the language, politics, educational systems, philosophy, science, art, and architecture of the modern world. Out of this sprang the ground-breaking art of the period, with its emphasis on symmetry, proportion, geometry, and a revolutionary blending of naturalism with idealism. “Classical Art,” in turn has dramatically impacted the way beauty, form, the spirit, and the human condition has been perceived, constructed, and contemplated ever since. Though its most quintessential and well known form of expression may be found in the marble sculpture of the time, classical art from glass, to bronze, to terracotta and beyond, masterfully expresses its philosophical underpinnings in any outlet. Seeking to dynamically express a perfect balance of harmony and proportion, of idealism and realism, of the beauty of nature with the highest talents of man, classical art conveys a unity of form and philosophy to achieve eternal beauty in a way no other style of art can. And whether if be the evocative terracotta pottery of ancient Greece, the profound portraiture of Roman marble, or the delicate glassware produced throughout the levant, the Barkat Gallery has items of every shape, size, and style from this legendary artistic tradition.