Saturday, September 26, 2020

The colorful vases as well as pots of the Ancient Greeks have survived in huge numbers as well as are right now extremely prized as collector items. Ancient Greeks produced pottery for everyday use, not for display. The trophies won at games such as the Panathenaic amphorae (utilised for storage), are the exception.

The painted decoration has become the primary source of information about the development of Greek pictorial art. It was made in a variety of sizes and shapes, according to its intended use; large vessels were used for storage and transportation of liquids (wine, olive oil, water), smaller pots for perfumes and unguents.

We could say that it all started with Minoan pottery. Pots that contained oils and ointments, exported from 18th century BC from Crete, and have been found at sites through the Aegean islands and mainland Greece, on Cyprus, along the coastal Syria and in Egypt, showing the wide trading contacts of the Minoans. The extremely fine palace pottery called Kamares ware, and the Late Minoan all-over patterned "Marine style" are the high points of the Minoan pottery tradition.

This period was followed by Mycenaean, the last phase of the Bronze Age in Ancient Greece (ca. 1600–1100 BC). It takes its name from the archaeological site of Mycenae in Argolis, Peloponnese, Southern Greece.

The earliest style, known as the Geometric style (с 1000–700 BC), features geometric patterns and, eventually, narrative scenes with stylized figures.

We can separate to:

period (c. 1050 - 900 BC), which represents the return of craft production after the collapse of the Mycenaean Palace culture and the ensuing Greek dark ages. The style is confined to the rendering of circles, triangles, wavy lines and arcs, but placed with evident consideration and notable dexterity. And,

, art which flourished in the 9th and 8th centuries BC. It was characterized by new motifs, breaking with the iconography of the Minoan and Mycenaean periods: meanders, triangles and other geometrical decoration (from whence the name of the style) as distinct from the predominantly circular figures of the previous style

From the late 8th to the early 7th century BC, a growing Eastern influence resulted in the "Orientalizing" of motifs (e.g., sphinx, Siren, Griffin, Gorgon, Chimaera), notably in pieces made in Corinth (с 700 BC), where the painters developed the Black figure pottery.

The black-figure technique was an ancient Greek pottery decoration, which consisted of the figures with glossy black on the pale depth of the clay. The figures are contoured and internal incised details. This is one of the most important aspects of ancient Greek art and was the main way of decorating pottery of the Archaic period..

Athenians adopted the black-figure style and from 600 BC on became the dominant manufacturers of Greek pottery, eventually exporting its ware throughout the Mediterranean world.

. It was during this period that the practice of signing of pots by potters and painters first became common. Athenian pottery of the 6th century BC often features narrative scenes composed of black figures painted on a light inset background panel, while the surrounding vase surface is a deep, lustrous black. The method by which this distinctive color was achieved, involving a complicated three-stage process of firing, has been successfully analyzed and reproduced in the 20th century..

Then Athenians invented Red figure pottery 530 BC. is just the reverse of the black-figure style in that the reddish figures appear light against the black background of the pot surface. Details of the figures such as eyes and interior lines were painted on in black, the brush allowing more subtle characterization than did an incising tool. The red-figure technique allowed a more naturalistic and aesthetically appealing treatment of human figures. The red hues mimicked the color and tone of sun-bronzed skin and dramatically spotlighted the figures against the dark background.

By the 4th century BC the figured decoration of pottery had declined, and by the end of the century it had died out in Athens.

Closing, we could not omit a short reference to a prior period which laid the foundations for the formation of all of these styles. This is the Cycladic period, or Cycladic Culture.

The name Cyclades was used by ancient Greek writers to describe the dense cluster of small islands in the middle of the Aegean Sea, which seem to form an invisible circle around the island sanctuary and place of worship of Apollo , Delos . These islands were the birthplace of an important civilization , known Cycladic civilization that flourished in the 3rd millennium BC

The islanders , mostly sailors, developed not only trade but also the arts. The abundant and of excellent quality white marble gave feedstock to the sculptors, who carved up the utensils and small items , and the famous Cycladic figurines. The height of figurines is about 25-30 cm , but there are figurines with height up to 153 cm usually depict naked women , standing with severe frontal and hands on chest , long neck, feet sideways, with incised few details. The formatting of the human body varies. Found violin-shaped figurines, with body that is more reminiscent of a violin, but also some prominent with developed motion, such as " Pro- pinon " which raises his hand in a toast , "The Piper " who plays a double flute , and "The harpist ".
They are all now in museums , but also in many private collections around the world


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