The formal vocabulary of ancient Greek architecture, particularly the classification of architectural style into three distinct orders: the Doric Order, the Ionic Order, and the Corinthian Order, was to have a significant impact on subsequent Western architecture. The styles were developed in mainland Greece between about 790 BC and 20 BC.
Greek art is known from many works of sculpture (including bronze statues), painting (including vases), and also from some surviving drawings and models. Although much has been lost due to destruction or theft over the years, enough remains to give an understanding of how Greek artists worked.
In terms of subject matter, early Greek art is quite diverse and includes representations of mythological subjects, military scenes, portraits, and others. But by about 500 BC there is evidence of a shift toward representing ordinary people doing ordinary things. This is known as the Geometric Age after the first important period of artistic development during this time.
The next major phase of art history begins around 450 BC and is called the Arcadian Age after the region in which it is found most prominent. Here artists began to use color more extensively in their work and to focus on religious themes. They also started to make sketches rather than just drawing directly from life.
Classical Greek architecture is divided into three orders: the Doric Order, the Ionic Order, and the Corinthian Order. All three styles had a significant effect on later Western architecture. The Doric order was primarily used for temples and other religious buildings; while the Ionic order was used for columns and capitals in public spaces such as markets and squares, it was also employed for private houses. The Corinthian order was mostly found on statues and decorative elements such as friezes.
Each of these orders is characterized by its own features. For example, the Doric order is known for its distinct rhythm of lines and shapes caused by its proportional design. Also, each block in a Doric building has a slightly different size and shape because they are cut from one single piece of stone.
The Ionic order is based on a simple geometric concept created by mathematicians of ancient Greece. They called this concept euodea which means "well done" or "good execution". The main idea behind Ionic design is that any two adjacent blocks have their angles shifted either 45 degrees or 90 degrees compared to each other. So if we look at a square with its corners rounded off, you can see that the middle angle is equal to 90 degrees and the outside angles are both equal to 45 degrees.
Ancient Greek architecture grew into three separate orders during its early ascent in the Classical period: the Doric, the Ionic, and the Corinthian. Each of these orders was distinguished by distinctive elements in its columns, which were used in formal, public structures like as stadiums and theaters. The Doric order was most common in southern Greece while the Ionic style was popular in Athens. The Corinthian order was developed in Corinth but is also found in other parts of Greece and on islands like Delos.
During the Hellenistic period, the influence of other cultures made their way into Greek architecture. For example, the Romans influenced the Greeks by adding additional orders to the original three (the Archaic Order has been reconstructed from archaeological evidence). Also, some Greek architects may have taken ideas about how a house should be built around the world, including Egypt, where many believed that Zeus had grown up.
Classical architecture experienced its greatest flowering under the Roman Empire when many cities throughout the empire became wealthy and powerful. Architects in Rome adapted the Doric and Ionic styles to create buildings with even more elaborate designs. They added various ornaments and decorations to drums (the horizontal part of a column) and shafts (the vertical part of a column), creating a more decorative appearance.
After the fall of Rome, medieval builders continued to use classical designs but they often modified them by adding windows and other features associated with Christianity.