Aegean Art: Chapter 4


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  • BULL LEAPING Wall painting with areas of modern reconstruction, from the palace complex, Knossos, Crete. Late Minoan period, c. 1450-1375 BCE . Height approx. 24-1/2" (62.3 cm). Archaeological Museum, Iraklion, Crete. [Fig. 04-07]
  • FIGURE OF A WOMAN WITH A DRAWING SHOWING EVIDENCE OF ORIGINAL PAINTING AND OUTLINING DESIGN SCHEME Cyclades. c. 2600-2400 BCE . Marble, height 24-3/4" (62.8 cm). Figure: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Gift of Christos G. Bastis (68.148). Drawing: Elizabeth Hendrix. [Fig. 04-02a]
  • FIGURE OF A WOMAN WITH A DRAWING SHOWING EVIDENCE OF ORIGINAL PAINTING AND OUTLINING DESIGN SCHEME Cyclades. c. 2600-2400 BCE . Marble, height 24-3/4" (62.8 cm). Figure: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Gift of Christos G. Bastis (68.148). Drawing: Elizabeth Hendrix. [Fig. 04-02b]
  • HEAD WITH REMAINS OF PAINTED DECORATION Cyclades. c. 2500-2200 BCE . Marble and red pigment, height 9-11/16" (24.6 cm). National Museum, Copenhagen. (4697) [Fig. 04-03]
  • RECONSTRUCTION DRAWING OF THE "PALACE" COMPLEX, KNOSSOS, CRETE As it would have appeared during the New Palace period. Site occupied since the Neolithic period; the Minoan complex of the Old Palace period (c. 1900-1700 BCE ) was rebuilt during New Palace period (c. 1700-1450 BCE ) after earthquakes and fires; final destruction c. 1375 BCE . [Fig. 04-05]
  • EAST WING STAIRWELL "Palace" complex, Knossos, Crete. New Palace period, c. 1700-1450 BCE . [Fig. 04-06]
  • LANDSCAPE ("SPRING FRESCO") Wall painting with areas of modern reconstruction, from Akrotiri, Thera, Cyclades. Before 1630 BCE . National Archaeological Museum, Athens. [Fig. 04-14]
  • GIRL GATHERING SAFFRON CROCUS FLOWERS Detail of wall painting, Room 3 of House Xeste 3, Akrotiri, Thera, Cyclades. Before 1630 BCE . Thera Foundation, Petros M. Nomikos, Greece. [Fig. 04-01]
  • A CLOSER LOOK: The "Flotilla Fresco" from Akrotiri Detail of the left part of a mural from Room 5 of West House, Akrotiri, Thera. New Palace period, c. 1650 BCE . Height 14 5/16" (44 cm). National Archaeological Museum, Athens.
  • KAMARES WARE JUG From Phaistos, Crete. Old Palace period, c. 2000-1900 BCE . Ceramic, height 10-5/8" (27 cm). Archaeological Museum, Iraklion, Crete. [Fig. 04-04]
  • OCTOPUS FLASK From Palaikastro, Crete. New Palace period, c. 1500-1450 BCE . Marine-style ceramic, height 11" (28 cm). Archaeological Museum, Iraklion, Crete. [Fig. 04-11]
  • TWO VIEWS OF THE HARVESTER RHYTON From Hagia Triada, Crete. New Palace period, c. 1650-1450 BCE . Steatite, greatest diameter 4-1/2" (11.3 cm). Archaeological Museum, Iraklion, Crete. [Fig. 04-09a]
  • EXTERIOR VIEW OF THOLOS, THE SO-CALLED TREASURY OF ATREUS Mycenae, Greece. c. 1300-1200 BCE . [Fig. 04-23]
  • CORBEL VAULT, INTERIOR OF THOLOS, THE SO-CALLED TREASURY OF ATREUS Limestone vault, height approx. 43' (13 m), diameter 47'6" (14.48 m). [Fig. 04-24]
  • LION GATE, MYCENAE c. 1250 BCE . Historic photo showing Heinrich and Sophia Schliemann. [Fig. 04-17]
  • MASK OF AGAMEMNON Funerary mask, from Shaft Grave v, Grave Circle A, Mycenae, Greece. c. 1600-1550 BCE . Gold, height approx. 12" (35 cm). National Archaeological Museum, Athens. [Fig. 04-20]
  • Aegean Art: Chapter 4

    1. 1. AEGEAN ART •Once upon a time, at the height of the Bronze Age, three successful civilizations arose in what is today southern Greece…
    2. 2. Cycladic: 3000-1600 BCE (Cycladic islands in the Aegean Sea) *Produced stylized statuettes of nude standing females and nude males playing musical instruments Minoan: 1900-1375 BCE (Island of Crete) *Built mixed-use palaces with complex ground plans Mycenaean: 1600-1100 BCE (Greece) *Built massive citadels marked by cyclopean masonry and corbelled vaulting Aegean art’s three main civilizations:
    3. 3. The Cycladic Islands
    4. 4. THE ANCIENT AEGEAN WORLD [Map 04-01]
    5. 5. Heinrich Schliemann 1822 - 1890 Arthur Evans (1851 - 1941 Who found all this stuff?
    6. 6. Sir Arthur Evans with a dandy find Evans (from England) and Schliemann (from Germany) dug through the ancient ruins of ancient Greece and the Greek Islands to find stuff They say these men did more harm than good in the way they uncovered the sites (not very careful) However, their names are still recorded as pioneering archaeologists
    8. 8. ARCHITECTURE: •Used CYCLOPEAN MASONRY: placed minimally cut blocks of stone atop one another to create walls and buildings without mortar. •Excelled at the CORBELLED ARCH: a type of vaulted space in which the blocks of stone are gradually placed closer together as the building rises, forming an inverted V-shaped roof. CORBELLED ARCH cyclopean masonry (no mortar)
    9. 9. PAINTING •Back in Egypt, artists painted on a dry wall (“fresco secco”- dry fresco) •Fresco secco is not permanent = chipping paint •Aegean artists used BUON FRESCO technique (“true fresco”) •Buon fresco = paint applied to fresh plaster = long lasting and durable •Buon fresco: requires quick brushwork and spontaneous work. This gives Aegean painting fluidity (not rigid like Egypt)
    11. 11. SCULPTURE •Used REPOUSSE technique: fitting a thin sheet of metal (gold or bronze) onto a surface •The metal is shaped with small hammers from the backside •A design is beaten on the inside of the object, leaving a raised surface on the exterior (made in reverse pretty much) •Working the metal from the front is called CHASING
    12. 12. Vapheio Cup c. 1650 – 1450 BCE
    13. 13. Now let’s talk about the individual civilizations…..
    14. 14. CYCLADIC ART •Found in grave sites on the Greek islands •Figurines placed by the dead •Women: always carved standing and nude •Men: carved playing harps •Men and women have heads tilted back •Rendered in simple geometric shapes, which make them look modern •Small traces of paint found on the figurines Major works of Cycladic Art…
    15. 15. CYCLADIC FEMALE 2500 BCE, marble •highly stylized nude woman •arms folded around waist •thin figure, prominent head •feet too small to support the sculpture •Meant to be placed on their straight backs, lying down, next to the deceased •Wedge-shaped pelvis and body
    16. 16. •triangular groin area •modest breasts (nothing like Venus!) •painted facial features •head tilted back •found in graves •varied in size from large to small
    17. 17. HEAD WITH REMAINS OF PAINTED DECORATION Cyclades. c. 2500-2200 BCE. Marble and red pigment About 10” high
    18. 18. Harpist, c. 2500, marble •Male figures •Simple geometric shapes •Large flat planes •Head tilted back •Not playing harp- holding it
    19. 19. Lyre Player c. 2000 BCE •In the round sculpture •Tubular •Basic geometric forms •Negative space
    20. 20. MINOAN
    21. 21. MINOAN ART • Fluidity in figures (unique in art history at this point) • Figures not “stuck” on ground line; they enjoy free movement and dynamic vigor • Curved lines dominate compositions • Slow, S-shaped curves very common • Figures have small waists, frontal shoulders, profile bodies • Men painted darker than women • Introduced pure landscape- lush vegetation with no human presence
    22. 22. MINOAN ARCHITECTURE •Unusual, complicated ground plan •Rooms stretching out next to long corridors •Spacious courtyards •MEGARON= main audience chamber in Minoan palace •Megaron has wooden columns that taper inward as they go down •Columns painted red or white (to look nice, and to preserve wood) •Capitals are bulbous and painted black
    23. 23. PALACE AT KNOSSOS, c. 1700-1400 BCE, CRETE
    25. 25. Aerial view of Knossos today
    26. 26. •Low ceilings, intimate rooms •Terraces and open galleries •Capitals painted black sit like cushions on top of columns •Central courtyard with rooms attached around it •Open-air chambers flood interior with light •Labyrinth-like ground plan •wood columns painted mostly red or white •Columns smaller at bottom than at top
    27. 27. Palace at Knossos was also a center for… •business •religion •trade •manufacturing •politics “restorations” have obscured some of the original design
    28. 28. MINOAN PAINTING: •Murals done in FRESCO technique •Large gaps filled in by modern restorers •Extremely curvilinear and lyrical line •Vibrant colors, smooth lines and sense of nature
    29. 29. Toreador Fresco, c. 1400 BCE, fresco
    30. 30. •Possibly a ritual showing two women and a man jumping over a bull •Woman on left grabs horns •Man jumping over bull •Woman on right has just landed (ta da!) •Man darker than women •Extremely thin waists •Groundbreaking! – figures in profile! Not frontal torso like earlier art, but still looks like Egyptian Amarna style •Figures have floating quality- no ground lines •Sweeping curved lines •S-shaped curve of bull’s body and tail •Bull appears decorative and non -threatening
    31. 31. "SPRING FRESCO” (Landscape), c. 1650 BCE, fresco How would you describe the subject matter?
    32. 32. *Joyful patterns of undulating lines and fanciful plant forms dominate composition *Cheerful application of color *Geometrically simplified swallows fly through the air One of the earliest pure landscapes in existence next time you’re in Athens, go to the museum and check it out
    33. 33. GIRL GATHERING SAFFRON CROCUS FLOWERS, 1630 BCE. •Buon fresco •In room dedicated to women’s initiation ceremonies •Young woman picks saffron plant- used for dye, food, and medicine •Girl wears typical Minoan flounced skirt •Short sleeve shirt •Jewelry •Hairstyle of a child •Light blue color of scalp shows childhood shaved head is growing out
    34. 34. Images of The "Flotilla Fresco" from Akrotiri c. 1650 BCE.
    35. 35. Buon fresco Minoans lived on the island of Crete. Thus, sea life was a popular theme
    36. 36. gone fishin’
    37. 37. Plant designs. Minoans love landscape!
    38. 38. Alphone Mucha, from Europe c. 1900 Minoan Influences?
    39. 39. ….and let’s see some Minoan sculpture…
    40. 40. SNAKE GODDESS, c. 1600 BCE, gold and ivory •Goddess? Fertility image? Assistant to the goddess? •Minoan thin waist, exposed breasts •Flounced skirt in layers •Apron layered on top •Wide-eyed, astonished expression •Cat image on head dress (crazy cat lady!) •Holds snake in each hand •Frontal, symmetrical •No visible legs
    41. 41. and she’s not the only one! This one was made with the “faience” technique. Remember how they used that in Egypt too? from Egypt
    42. 42. Navajo Pottery KAMARES WARE JUG c. 2000 BCE, ceramic Connection?
    43. 43. Kamares Ware Jug *Introduction of potter’s wheel in early 2000’s BCE! *Extremely thin walls *Graceful, stylized, painted decoration *Beaked pouring spout *Rounded contours compliment bold, curving plant forms painted on
    44. 44. OCTOPUS FLASK c. 1500-1450 BCE. Marine-style ceramic, height 11” •“Marine Style” •Depictions of sea life on surface •Celebrates the sea •Floating creatures •Grace and energy of natural forms •Stylized design in harmony with vessel’s spherical shape
    45. 45. Harvester Vase c. 1650-1450 BCE 4 ½ -inch diameter! •Made of steatite (stone) •a RHYTON (vessel used for pouring liquids) •Egg-shaped •May have been covered in gold leaf (sheets of hammered gold, oooo!) •Rowdy procession of 27 men •Emotion shows in faces •March and chant to beat of rattle
    46. 46. Look at this guy singing his heart out! Men have large, coarse features Muscular bodies with ribs sticking out Festival? Religious procession? Dance? Warriors? Laborers? Who knows!
    47. 47. Carved in low relief – note overlapping
    48. 48. Bull’s Head Rhyton, c.1550-1450 BCE, Steatite with shell, rock crystal, and red jasper. Gilt-wood horns restored, 12” high •Incised lines •Found in Palace of Knossos •Like an animal portrait •Lightly engraved lines filled with white powder to make them stand out •Short curly hair on top of head, shaggy strands on sides, circular patterns on neck •Shell outlines nostrils. Rock crystal and red jasper for eyes •Horns- wood covered in gold leaf •Liquid poured into hold in neck and flows out mouth, cool!
    49. 49. MYCENEAN ART •CYCLOPEAN MASONRY and CORBELLED ARCHES are key characteristics •Influenced by Minoan painting- figures have narrow waists and broad shoulders •Overall movement away from delicate Minoan forms to a more realistic concept
    50. 50. CORBELLED GALLERY c. 1400-1200 BCE •Cyclopean masonry, looks powerful •Corbel vault •Walls have massive appearance but hallway is claustrophobic
    51. 51. TREASURY OF ATREUS EXTERIOR VIEW c. 1300 BCE Long entranceway Let’s go inside!!!
    52. 52. TREASURY OF ATREUS Interior View, c. 1300 BCE 43’ high, limestone *Misnamed in the belief it was storage for treasures (probably originally a tomb for THOLOS) *Corbel vaulted *Largest interior domed space until the Romans *Precision cutting of stone
    53. 53. LION GATE, c. 1300 BCE, limestone
    54. 54. • Triangular group over doorway • An early PEDIMENT on a post- and-lintel gate • Minoan column between two lions (heads fell off, oops!) • Heads were turned to face observer • Narrow, tall passageway leading to gate, built for defensive purposes- protected entrance of a Mycenean citadel. • Stones grooved into place, no mortar • CORBELLED VAULT
    55. 55. LION GATE, MYCENAE Historic photo showing Heinrich and Sophia Schliemann.
    56. 56. LION GATE from the other side
    57. 57. MASK OF AGAMEMNON Funerary mask Mycenae, Greece. c. 1600 BCE. Gold •Gold, worked in REPOUSSE •Found in royal shaft grave •Mask placed on the deceased’s face (like Egyptian burial) •Curlicue ears •Eyes rendered as slits •Hair detailed with long, thin incised marks Let’s not forget sculpture….
    58. 58. Vapheio Cup c. 1650 – 1450 BCE
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