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Minoan and Mycenaean Art: A View into the Ancient Agaean

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Bryce Walsh

on 31 October 2012

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Transcript of Minoan and Mycenaean Art: A View into the Ancient Agaean

By: Bryce Walsh, Rose Zilla-Ba, Allie Gray, Emma Richardson Minoan and Mycenaean Art Introduction to the Ancient Aegean Cultures The Cycladic culture, 3000-2000 BCE, was the first culture to emerge after the neolithic era in Europe. The culture eventually faded and gave birth to the Minoans and the Mycenaeans, which are the two cultures that we will focus on. The Minoan culture was located on the isle of Crete from c. 1700-1400 BCE. However, the Mycenaeans occupied main land Greece, and eventually Crete, c. 1700-1200 BCE. Introduction To Minoan Culture The Minoan civilization started c. 1700 BCE on the island of Crete. The civilization was named after the mythological king of Crete, Minos. Due to Crete's accessibility to the Mediterranean, Minoan trade flourished. Some places that were important to the Minoan civilization were the island of Thera (Santorini) and Knossos. The Minoan civilization started to crumble after an unknown natural disaster hit c. 1500 BCE. The Minoans were officially destroyed c. 1400 BCE. Agia Triada Sarcophagus Fresco Chronology: 1450-1400 BCE
Provenance: Agia Triada, Crete (Herakleion Musuem of Architecture : Herakleion, Crete)
Material: Limestone
Patron:The family of a deceased prince.
Purpose: To serve as a decoration for the coffin of the deceased. Introduction to Mycenae Culture The Mycenaean civilization began c. 1700 BCE, in what is today main-land Greece, and after conquering all of the Greek islands, including Crete, ended in 1200 BCE. The Mycenaeans were a strong and military based culture that was extremely prosperous. Later, Homer goes on to describe the Mycenaeans as "rich in gold". Formal Analysis: Minoan Iconography: The fresco depicts the procession of a sacrifice. The scene is set into two vertical friezes and four horizontal friezes. Second from the top of the horizontal friezes, the depiction of the sacrifice is shown. On the left side of the frieze, two priestesses (due to the white skin) pour libations onto an altar while another woman with a lyre follows. Of the women, the central one is accented with two baskets over the shoulder and a crown; while the one on the right is tanned and is plucking her lyre. All three women are accented with wings that are connected their hips. To the right of the tanned lyre player, three priests are shown in procession carrying dogs (left,central) and a horn (right) towards a fully clothed priest. The men are placed in front of a dark background and are all exactly identical.
Perspective: Four of the figures are shown in profile perspective which include all the priestesses and the priest farthest to the right. The other three priests are shown in twisted perspective. The faces and legs are shown in profile while the torsos and arms are shown in partial-frontal perspective.
Movement: All the figures are shown is some kind of movement except for the priest farthest to the right. The priestesses are all showed in action, and their limbs are curved. Though the priests to the right of the piece are all still, the repetition the artist used in order to depict the priests creates a sense of motion. The continuous use of curved lines gives a sense of motion as well.
Body Language: Though the contour of the people are fluid and curved, the body language of the figures is very rigid, formal, and stoic. Warrior Vase From Mycenae Chronology: Late Helladic III C Period: 1200 BC
Provenance: Mycenae, Greece
Material: Ceramic
Purpose: Krater: a large ceramic bowl used for mixing water and wine, possibly a grave good because of state it was found in, broken in lower citadel by Schliemann Formal Analysis: Mycenae Iconography- Long bodies, narrow waist and athletic build, warriors/spearmen wearing helmets, shields and leg amour but no armor, 2 different actions and 2 different types of helmets (feather helmet and horned helmet)
Perspective- Twisted/ Composite men (legs and head in profile with left foot before right, and torsos in frontal), Ducks or geese in profile, Bull in frontal
Body Language- All in same perspective, faces blank looking forward, bodies in a single line, but doing different things
Rhythm- Orderly and intense, symmetric We can assume that the Minoan culture was centered around religion and sacrifice. The lines and colors used give a sense of surrealism; thus, the style represents a fascination with the unrealistic and magical. Finally, through the analysis of the figures, there was a strong connection between the Minoans and the ancient Egyptians, as there are similarities between the two styles of depicting people. The volcano had just erupted c. 1500 BCE and the Minoans were struggling. The Minoans used a local material for this piece. The limestone caused the contents of the coffin to rapidly disintegrate, thus giving it the name Sarcophagus; meaning "flesh-eating". The hills of Argos from Mycenae Mwahahaha!
I am going to eat you! Better find your way out quick! Mycenaean Warrior Vase Chronology- 1200 BC
Period: Late Helladic III C
Provenance- Mycenae, Greece
Material- Ceramic
Purpose- Krater: a large ceramic bowl used for mixing water and wine, possibly a grave good because of state it was found in, broken in lower citadel by Schliemann Minoan Mycenae Both Comparing and Contrasting the Minoans and Mycenaeans At the end of Mycenaean rule, in Helladic III period many ceramic pieces were made for trading. Towards end of the period, the ceramic began to fall apart. Most pottery was as used not for art, but more practical everyday things. Good Job!
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Mycenaeans were fighters, took over Crete between 1400-1200, launched Trojan war, and through this piece we know they were organized/ambitious fighters. These helmets are typically worn by warriors (Feather helmet same as Egyptians)

Same perspective as Egyptians, orderly fighting, the Bull handles are thought by Historians to be from 8th century BC because many bull handles were used then, Ducks in Mycenaean time were

Not many paintings/frescos of time mostly giant corbelled vaults and architecture with a focus of defense, and we see that through the images on vase (Focus= fighting and nothing else)

There is a plan to the fighting going on.
Bright and Bold colors
Religion
Both Men and Women
Curved lines
Geometric paterns
Lines that are elongated and unrealistic
Egyptian
Resources
Women and religion Neutral colors
War
Men
Rigid lines
Few patterns
Limbs are realistic and fluid
Mesopotamian influence
Politics
Limited resources
Realism Long bodies
Athletic Builds and pinched waists
Both cultures put importance on death as the items were treasures for graves
May both have a use for deceased/ graves
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