unit 3: aegean

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  • 1.Chapter 4 Minos & the Heroes of Homer Art of the Prehistoric Aegean 3000 -1200 BCE

2. The Prehistoric Aegean 3.

  • Heinrich Schliemann (1870) dug into vast mound on northwestern coast of Turkeyand found number of fortified cities, scholars belief one was Troy.He also excavated Mycenae on Greek mainland and discovered massive fortress-palace.
  • Arthur Evans (1900) uncovered palace at Knossos (King Minos) and named the people that erected it Minoans after their mythological king.He also excavated sites at Phaistos, Hagia Triada and Gournia.
  • Humans inhabited Greece as far back as Lower Paleolithic period and village life was established in Greece in Neolithic times.
  • Heyday of ancient Aegean was second millennium BCE
  • Sea-dominated geography: commercial crossroads of Mediterranean made prosperous, sea as natural defense
  • Three geographic areas:
  • Cycladic art- art Cycladic Islands (circle around Delos)
  • Minoan art- art of Crete
  • Helladic art- art of the Greek mainland (Hellas in Greek)
  • Three periods: early, middle and late (art of Late Helladic period designated Mycenaean after Agamemnons great citadel at Mycenae)

4. ..00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 Early Cycladic Art from the Cycladic Islands (circle around Delos)/ marble/ abstract forms/ Figurine of a Woman-almost flat, arms folded over abdomen,triangles dominate, parts were colored, funerary offerings- placed on graves/ Male Lyre Player-simple geometric shapes, flat planes 5.

  • Minoan Art: the art of Crete
  • Large palaces constructed on Crete (Middle Minoan) and around 1700 BCE they were destroyed (earthquake)
  • New Palace (Late Minoan) is the golden age of Crete- 1 stgreat Western civilization emerged
  • Rebuilt palaces and were key administrative, commercial and religious centers of Minoan life
  • Principle palace sites on Crete- Knossos (largest palace- figures 4-3 and 4-4), Phaistos, Mallia, Kato, Zakro, Khania
  • Palace at Knossos:Labyrinth-like structure/fieldstones embedded in clay/ashlar masonry/terracotta pipes/interior staircases- light and air wells/columns- painted (red shafts & black capitals), wood, bulbous cushion-like capitals, shafts tamper from wide top to narrower base

6. Minoan -Bull-Leaping, from the palace of Knossos/1450-1400 BCE/true fresco/women= fair skin, male youth= dark skin/ ceremony of bull-leaping/ elongated bulls shape to express charge of the animal/ movement, energy/stylized shapes/pinched waists/profile pose with full-view eye/curving lines= living and moving being 7. Landscape with swallows (Spring Fresco), Thera (Cyclades), ca. 1650 BCE, fresco, 76 high Cycladic Art nature is the sole subject, captures the landscapes essence and expresses joy in the surroundings/ 1 stknown example of pure landscape painting, no narrative element 8.

  • Minoan
  • Kamares Ware jar, Crete/ ca. 1800-1700 BCE
  • Middle Minoan period: potters wheel introduced
  • Sophisticated shapes, polychromatic style- creamy white, reddish-brown, black background
  • Sea life design compliments the shape of the vessel


  • Minoan
  • Marine Style Octopus Jar, Crete/ ca. 1500 BCE
  • Late Minoan: relation between vessels decoration and its shape
  • Dark shapes on light background

10. MINOAN - Harvester Vase,Crete/ ca. 1500 BCE/ steatite/ finest surviving example of Minoan relief sculpture/ energy, movement/ riotous crowd singing and shouting as return from fields/ muscular & skeletal structure of human body shown, animation on human face (firsts) 11. MINOAN Left:Young god(?), Crete, ca. 1500-1475 BCE/Ivory, gold, serpentine, rock crystal/ early example of chryselephantine (gold and ivory) sculpture (costly)/ left foot advances/fine detail shows muscles and veins- skilled artist/ god rather than mortal/ blackened state because of fireRight:Snake Goddess, Crete, ca. 1600 BCE, faience (glazed earthenware), 11 high/ may be mortal attendant or deity/ snakes and leopard-like feline= power over animal world/ costume distinctly Minoan/ exposed breasts= fertility image= divinity 12. MYCENAEAN (Helladic) Art and Architecture:Greek mainland/ citadel at Tiryns, Greece/ ca. 1400-1200 BCE/defensive walls (20 ft. thick) were made of huge, roughly cut stone blocks= cyclopean masonry (believed humans could not have built, only Cyclopes!/most important element in plan was the reception hall of king = megaron 13. Three methods of spanning a passageway: (a) post and lintel (b) corbeled arch (c) arch MYCENAEAN ARCHITECTURE Corbeled gallery in the walls of the citadel, Tiryns, Greece, ca. 1400-1200 BCE. Gallery covered by corbeled vault, cantilevered blocks lean inward and met at pointed arch, no mortar used, smaller stones used as wedges and clay fills some empty spaces 14. MYCENAEAN ARCHITECTURE Lion Gate, Mycenae, Greece, ca. 1300-1250 BCE, limestone, relief panel, 96 high Outer gateway:post and lintel doorway with corbeled arch above lintel = relieving triangle (two lions, high relief)/ guardian figures like Assyrian lamassu 15. MYCENAEAN -Treasury of Atreus, Greece/ca. 1300-1250 BCE/ wealthy buried outside of citadel walls in tholos tombs (beehive-shaped tombs covered with earthen mound)/ dead buried in grave shafts/ dromos (long passageway)/ circular base and dome/ relieving triangle/ largest known vaulted space without interior supports to this point in time Vault of the tholos of the Treasury of Atreus, Greece, ca. 1300-1250 BCE/ 43 feet high/no interior supports 16. MYCENAEAN-laid their dead to rest on the floors of deep shafts with masks covering their faces (like Egyptians). Men buried with weapons and golden cups, women with jewelry. Below, Left:Funerary mask, Mycenae, Greece/ca. 1600-1500 BCE/beaten gold, repousse/ more primitive, life-size, mature face= king Below:Female head, Mycenae, Greece, ca. 1300-1250 BCE, painted plaster, 6 1/2 high White flesh tone, facial paint or tatoos = female, might be example of monumental cult statue 17. CHAPTER 15 South from the Sahara: Early African Art 18. AFRICA BEFORE 1800 19. AFRICA

  • Geography: deserts, mountains, great rivers (Niger, Congo, Nile), lush valleys
  • Hundreds of ethnic, cultural and linguistic groups
  • Councils of elders governed smaller groups/ centralized state under king for larger populations
  • Share core beliefs and practices: honoring ancestors, worshiping nature deities, blood sacrifice, elevate rulers to sacred status
  • Decorate own bodies to express their identity and status
  • Art helps define and create culture

20. Prehistoric African Art -Rock art mostly found in what is now dry desert regions -Rock artists were more often hunter- gathers or herders not farmers -Record of environment, human activity and animal species -Central Saharan painting/ shows movement, detail/ ritualistic body painting/ superimpositions of images make dating difficult -Overall meaning: references to ideas and rituals about the origin, survival, health and continuity of human populations. 21.

  • NOK ART (500-200 BCE)
  • Earliest African sculpture in the round found in Central Sudan
  • Fragment of full sculpture
  • -Nok Style: expressive face/ large alert eyes/ flaring nostrils/ parted lips/ pierced eyes, mouth and ear holes (helped equalize heating of clay during firing process)
  • -Most likely ritual context
  • -May have been woman artist:
  • ceramist and clay sculptors across continent mostly women

22. Lydenburg Art Southern Africa - Nearly life-size -Inverted pot shape -Features created by adding clay -Scarification marks -Bands around neck: symbol of beauty -Most likely ritual function 23. Igbo-Ukwu Art Lower Niger Regionfly-whisk handle / bronze-casting tradition (lost-wax) developed in this area/ figure seated on animal, lower area embellished with beaded and threadlike patterns, facial stripes represent marks of titled status 24. African Art, ca. 1000-1800 Inland Niger Delta Art (Western Sudan) Jenne Terracottas -Jenne-Jeno (walled town) 800 CE -Hundreds of these sculptures are dated 1000-1500 from the Jenne region -Children here are really adults -Metaphorical or legendary mother/ group is not a commo