What Ancient Civilization Made Art for Art’s Sake?

Art has been an integral part of human civilization since the beginning of time. Each culture and civilization across the world has its unique artistic expressions, styles, and techniques.

While many ancient civilizations created art for religious or political purposes, some created art simply for the sake of art. But which ancient civilization made art for art’s sake? Let’s explore.

Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece is often considered the birthplace of Western art and culture. Greek artists were known for their attention to detail and their love for aesthetics. They were among the first to create art just for the sake of it.

In fact, Greek philosophers such as Plato believed that art was a means to express beauty, harmony, and balance, and that it should be created solely for its own sake. This belief led to the creation of some of the most exquisite artworks in history, including sculptures like Venus de Milo and paintings like The Acropolis.

Ancient Rome

Like their Greek predecessors, Roman artists also created works of art simply for its own intrinsic value. However, Roman artists were also known for their realism and attention to detail.

One great example is the Augustus prima porta statue – a life-size sculpture made entirely out of marble. It depicts Augustus Caesar in full armor with realistic facial features and intricate details on his clothing.


It is hard to pinpoint exactly which ancient civilization made art purely for its own sake as many cultures throughout history have produced works that stand out as beautiful creations simply meant to be admired.

However, Ancient Greece is often credited with pioneering this concept through their philosophical beliefs about beauty and aesthetics in which they believed that true beauty could only be found in works created solely for beauty’s own sake.

Regardless of which civilization was responsible for creating art purely as an expression or celebration of beauty rather than function or religion – one thing’s certain – the world of art wouldn’t be the same without it.