Macedonia, which was geographically isolated and had to deal with frequent incursions of barbarian tribes, acquired a traceable artistic output only in the 6th century BC. The rural Macedonian society, with limited requirements in sculpture, was influenced by the Cycladic and Ionic art of the coastal colonies as well as by that of the islands (through trade), and created its own northern-Ionic style.
In the aftermath of the Persian Wars, because of the dynamic presence of Athens in the northern Aegean, local Macedonian workshops started copying Attic grave stelai. In Classical times, Cycladic and Ionic art, combined with Athenian Parthenon and post-Parthenon styles, contributed the conditions under which artists invited to the Macedonian court from southern Greece created the avant-garde trends of Hellenistic sculpture.
Thus, early Hellenistic art was forged in this new artistic center of Greece, which was to become the artistic nucleus for the Hellenistic kingdoms. Miniature sculpture on ivory was particularly advanced, and was used to adorn luxury objects placed in the tombs of the rulers.
The Roman occupation denuded Macedonia of her works of art, meanwhile producing, in accordance with the spirit of the new age, both representative and idealized imperial portraits, as well as statues of private persons, which stood in the sanctuaries, public areas and funerary monuments.