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The Aegean: Cycladic, Minoan, and Mycenaean Art

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Shealie Jenkins

on 4 December 2011

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Transcript of The Aegean: Cycladic, Minoan, and Mycenaean Art

The Aegean: Cycladic, Minoan, and Mycenaen Art Homer
-Wrote the Iliad
-1870 discounted as a historian
-Site of Homer's Troy discovered in 1870 at Hissarlik
-Troy = found in vast tell

Tell (n.)-- a hill or a mound, usually an ancient site of habitation. Mycenae Agamemnon and Achilles
-Massive fortress-palaces, elaborate tombs, quanities of gold, etc.
-Valued dead and afterlife simiar to Egyptians showing growth of humanity as a whole Minos King of Crete
-Told about in Greek legend
-Was to be fed to the Minotaur
-Minotaur = half bull and half man
-Minotaur housed in Labyrinth
-Similar to Khorsabad's Lamassu Civilization of the Coasts & Islands
-Same time as Egypt and Mesopotamia river valleys
-little contact = emerged at the same time on their own
-Forerunner of 1st European civilization, Greece
-Mycenaean culture classified under Late Helladic (circa 1550-1100 B.C.) The Scripts of Crete
-Two earliest = inspired by Egyptian hieroglyphs
-The inscribtions are in a pre-Homeric form of Greek
-Represent inventories and tallies of objects The Early Minoan Period Important Art and Styles
-Handmade clay pots with incised geometric patterns (triangles, rectangles, ovals, cylinders, etc.)
-Change from organic forms
Products of the Early Bronze Age
-Marble statuettes from the Cyclades (Female)
"Plank Idols" highly schematized decendants of the Neolithic mother goddess
Use of gemotric figures clear as well as female figure
Example: Cycladic idol, Syros c. 25-2000 B.C.
-Marble statuettes from the Cyclades (Male)
Usually musicians
More 3-dimensional quality
part of funerary rituals (death obssesion)
Example: The Lyre Player c. 2000 B.C. may have been contemporary with Cretan places The Middle Minoan Period
2000 B.C. Shift in Valued Architecture
-No emphasis on tombs, temples, or fortresses
-Instead focus was on palaces with towns formed around them World Changing Technological Advancement
-Invention of the potter's wheel
-Took place in the Old Palace Period
-Permitted throwing of vessels and thinner walls and subter shapes which led to the development of a thriving industry The Late Minoan Period The New Palace Period
-Between 1600 and 1500 B.C. (begining), end 1400 B.C.
-Palaces were destroyed and then rebuilt and Crete's golden age began producing the first great Western civilization Architecture Palaces
-The largest palace was the Palace at Knossos
-It is a rambling structure build against the upper slopes and across the top of a low hill that rises from a fertile plain The Palace at Knossos
-Magazines used to store wine, grain, and honey in large jars called pithoi
-Contained a large "arena"
This "arena" looked theatrical having two sides with steps serving as seats
However use is still unclear
Possible new form of entertainment (plays)
Possibly a forerunner of the Greek theater The Palace of Knosses Religious Significance
-Minoan columns on lower level show strong evidence of religious significance for the Cretans
The base of one of the columns on the lower level is surrounded by a trough that was used for libations Painting Paintings in Royal Places
-The Queen's Megaron
Elaborate decorations (typical)
Plastered walls painted with frescos
Frescos depicted much of Cretan life
Famous Frescos
-The Cupbearer
preserved in a sequence
shown in 2 registers
may have contained over 500 figures
shows blend of 4 different cultures: Cretan, Minonan, Egyptian, and Mesopotamian
-The Toreador Fresco
shows importance of the bull in several ancient societies

Vocab. Rhyton (n.)--An Ancient Greek ceremonial drinking vessel with a base usually in the form of the head of an animal, a woman, or a mythological creature More Significant Frescos
-La Parisienne
Cosmetic prettiness causes her to resemble a sophisticated, modern day woman/girl
Painting was the first of its kind
Artist did a fantastic job of matching the painting and the style which was a newly explored concept/technique
Read paragragh concerning prophetic of great changes in people's outlook on nature Santorini (Ancient Thera)
-sense and skill found in ruins of the volcanic island
-devestation dating back to 1800 B.C.
-volcanic activity perserved the city
The Springtime Fresco
-first of its kind (change)
-landscape painting
-artist celebrates the breezy rythms of spring
-forerunner of Greek and Roman landscape The Flotilla Fresco
-Combined seascape and landscape
Animals: dolphins & lion chasing deer
-Vivid details of ship design = artist knew ships well
Details: placements of steersmen, supercargoes, sailors, rowers, and passengers
New: casual arrangement of figures and variation of pose according to the role being played
The Young Fisherman Fresco
-Second example of focus on natural appearances Pottery and Sculpture The Octopus Jar
-shift from abstract spiral forms, scrolls, whorls to naturalism in decoration (particularly sea life)
-Octupus jar = great example
-Change from light forms on dark ground to dark forms on light ground (this style lasted: 1600-1500 B.C.)
Three -handled Jar With Papyrus Decoration
-1425 B.C. new style (stiff and abstract)
-Change from naturalism to formalism & abstraction
The Harvester Vase
-Increased self-awareness = humans represent themselves as they are (more conditions/situations, less restrictions to tradition
-gives a glance of man in his usual context
-large crowd of olive harvesters, singing and shouting led by a man who carries a sistrum, or rattle
-matching the mood to the subject The Snake Goddessesss
-not much sculpture in the round nor monuments of gods, kings, monsters = lack of value in religion (formal religion)
-tiny, found in palace at Knossos, possibly represented mother goddess worshiped by Cretans
-exibit rigid conventions, including the frontal pose (found in Egypt and Mesopotamia)
-arms are held forward making it look more active = new! End of Minoan Civilization
-Mycenaens took over without much resistense and ruled for about 1/2 century used parts of the palace at Knossos
-Final destruction of the palace by Droinans 1200 B.C.
-Importance as cultural center faded soon after 1400 B.C. and focus shifted from the Aegean world to the Greek Mainland Mycenaean Art Greek Mainland
-People influenced by Crete
-Mainlanders developed and held many cultural features of their own
-Mycenaen power developed in the palmy days of the new palaces on Crete = new splendid culture was flourishing in Greece
700 years later Homer gave the epithet "rich in gold" to this culture Mycenaean Culture
-allied with Crete and Egypt against Hittites
-awakening of Mycenaean world = resuld of 3-way route of influence
-immigrants from Crete emerged
palaces destroyed
Heroes/battles used by Homer in epics Iliad and Odyssey Famous Citadels
-Most impresive Mycenaen remains
Fortified palaces at Tiryns and Mycenae build circa 1400 B.C. Citadel of Tiryns
-heavy walls (20 ft. thick!)
-had actual plan vs. Cretan palaces with no plan
-contained megaron
-the megaron = rectangular with central hearth and 4 columns Citadel of Tiryans
-believed to have been built by cyclopes (Greeks)
-rough appearance not found in sophisticated architectural styles Malata
-many megalithic structures
-include: monuments, temples, tombs
-constructed of great stones The Lion Gate
-outer gateway of the stronghold
-protected on sides
-formed of two great monoliths capped with huge lintel
-triangular opening
-two lions carved in high relief
-sacred to Minoans
-heads = lost but made of different material
-similar to the Mesopotamian heraldic composition Inside the Lion Gate
-grave circle
an enclosure containing a number of simple shaft graves, covered and marked by stele
serve as king his family's tombs
1600-1500 B.C. Treasury of Athens
-Shaft graves replaced by beehive tombs which preserved "Treasury of Athens"
-dromos and tholos
-achieved by corbeled courses of stone latid on a circular base, but to curve the wall, ending in a lofty dome coverd with earth
-no interior supports largest unified space until the Roman Pantheon

Shaft Graves
contained riches
bronze daggers inlaid with gold and electrum = show Minoan figure-style and influence -- subject = Mesopotamian derivation, Cretan costumes, strength/spring of lions (Minoan)
Repousse (beaten gold) masks
Gold played a large part in culture Mycenae's productions
-famous cups from Vaphio (found in beehive tomb)
2, each made of two plates of gold
fagtened together, Minoan subject & related to the bull leaping ritual
scenes mompose a complete narrative
both contain people, trees, animals, rocks, and clouds The Warrior Vase
-represents Mycenaean soldiers different in costume and physiognomy from Cretan figures
-maybe last Mycenaean warriors who met invaders or internal enemies
-carry iron weapons
-success illustrates the historical common place superior technology can overcome -Aegean culture influenced and was forerunner for Greeks and their gods, through their artwork such as craft arts, metalwork, pottery, gems and ornaments in gold
-Classical Greek art decended from Mycenaean art The End
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