Classical Tattoos

Gallery of classical tattoos that can be filtered by subject, body part and size.

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Classical tattoos refer to designs inspired by the art, architecture and culture of Ancient Greece and Rome (circa 800 BC - 450 AD).

Classical art is about balance, harmony and precision. These traits emerged as the Mediterranean region calmed down politically and started recovering economically, following centuries of war and instability.

Three main stages characterize Ancient Greek art: the Archaic Period (650-480 BC), Classical Period (380-323 BC) and Hellenistic Period (323-27 BC).

The Classical Period was the most cohesive and focused of the three, and commonly believed to be the most influential period in Greek art history. It鈥檚 important to note that Ancient Greek art is studied almost entirely through the lens of Italian recreations and some written descriptions. Nearly all original art from Greek antiquity has been lost.

The Archaic Period was a gradual series of experiments. Pottery started focusing on symmetry and geometric patterns. Architecture followed in suit, creating new design rules dependent on mathematical ratios. There was a renewed interest in figure drawings and accurate depictions of the human form.

The Classical Period followed a Greek victory over Persia, solidifying Athens as the strongest city-state. Philosophers and sculptors thrived during this time. Moving away from rigid realism, sculptures started to project larger-than-life narratives and god-like representations of human perfection. These works set a standard for symmetry and physical proportionality that continue to impact western beauty ideals to this day.

The Hellenistic Period was ushered in by the decentralization of the Greek empire. Creative influences from Egypt, Syria and Persia blended with new Greek art. Naturalism came into fashion, with more ordinary people and animals as subjects. Ancient Rome slowly started rising as the new empirical headquarters, continuing to emulate Greek craftsmanship but with more drama and expressive flair.

Flash forward more than 2,000 years. Contemporary tattooers join the long list of artisans who are inspired by Classical art, usually adding a touch of their own voice to each design.

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