Proto-geometric Amphora

Proto-geometric Amphora


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Protogeometric style

The Protogeometric style (or "Proto-Geometric") is a style of Ancient Greek pottery led by Athens produced between roughly 1030 and 900 BCE, [1] in the first period of the Greek Dark Ages. [2] After the collapse of the Mycenaean-Minoan Palace culture and the ensuing Greek Dark Ages, the Protogeometric style emerged around the mid 11th century BCE as the first expression of a reviving civilization. Following on from the development of a faster potter's wheel, vases of this period are markedly more technically accomplished than earlier Dark Age examples. The decoration of these pots is restricted to purely abstract elements and very often includes broad horizontal bands about the neck and belly and concentric circles applied with compass and multiple brush. Many other simple motifs can be found, but unlike many pieces in the following Geometric style, typically much of the surface is left plain. [3]

Like many pieces, the example illustrated includes a colour change in the main band, arising from a firing fault. Both the red and black colour use the same clay, differently levigated and fired. As the Greeks learnt to control this variation, the path to their distinctive three-phase firing technique opened.

Some of the innovations included some new Mycenean influenced shapes, such as the belly-handled amphora, the neck handled amphora, the krater, and the lekythos. Attic artists redesigned these vessels using the fast wheel to increase the height and therefore the area available for decoration.


Sculpture in the Greek Geometric Period

Although derived from geometric shapes, the Ancient Greek sculptures of the Geometric Period show some artistic observation of nature. The ancient Greek sculptures of the Geometric Period, although derived from geometric shapes, bear evidence of an artistic observation of nature in some circumstances. Small-scale sculptures, usually made of bronze, terra cotta , or ivory, were commonly produced during this time. Bronzes were made using the lost-wax technique , probably introduced from Syria, and were often left as votive offerings at sanctuaries such as Delphi and Olympia.

Human Figures

The human figures are made of a triangle as a torso that supports a bulbous head with a triangular chin and nose. Their arms are cylindrical, and only their legs have a slightly more naturalistic shape. These attributes can be seen in a small sculpture of a seated man drinking from a cup that displays the typical modelling figures as simple, linear forms that enclose open space. Especially noteworthy are his elongated arms that mirror the dimensions of his legs.

A relatively naturalistic rendering of human legs is also evident in Man and Centaur, also known as Heracles and Nessos (c. 750–730 BCE). Without the equine back and hind legs, the centaur portion of the sculpture is a shorter man with human legs.

Like the seated man above, the two figures feature elongated arms, with the right arm of the centaur forming one continuous line with the left arm of the man. While the seated man appears to be clean-shaven, the figures in Man and Centaur wear beards, which usually symbolized maturity. The hollow eye sockets of the figure of the man probably once held inlay for a more realistic appearance.

Animal Figures

Animals, including bulls, deer, horses, and birds, were also based on geometry. Horse figurines were commonly used as offerings to the gods. The animals themselves became symbols of wealth and status due to the high cost of keeping them. Equine bodies may be described as rectangles pinched in the middle with rectangular legs and tails which are similar in shape to deer or bulls.

The heads of these mammals are more distinctive, as the horse’s neck arches, while the bull and deer have cylindrical faces distinguished by horns or ears. While the animals and people are based on basic geometric shapes, the artists clearly observed their subjects in order to highlight these distinguishing characters.

  • The Geometric Period marked the end of Greece’s Dark Age and lasted from 900 to 700 BCE.
  • The Geometric Period derives its name from the dominance of geometric motifs in vase painting.
  • Monumental kraters and amphorae were made and decorated as grave markers. These vessels are characteristic of Geometric vase painting during this period.
  • The most famous vessels from this period use a technique called horror vacui, in which every space of the surface is filled with imagery.
  • Geometric sculptures are primarily small scale and made of bronze, terra cotta, or ivory.
  • The bronze figures were produced using the lost-wax method of casting.
  • The human and animal figures produced during this period have geometric features, although the legs on humans appear relatively naturalistic.
  • Geometric bronzes were typically left as votive offerings at shrines and sanctuaries, such as those at Delphi and Olympia.
  • Horses came to symbolize wealth due to the high costs of their upkeep.

Adapted from “Boundless Art History” https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-arthistory/chapter/the-geometric-period/ License: CC BY-SA: Attribution-ShareAlike

An era of abstract and stylized motifs in ancient Greek vase painting and sculpture. The period was centred in Athens and flourished from 900 to 700 BCE.

An ancient Greek vessel for mixing water and wine.

A type of clay that is brownish-red in colour. An Italian term, meaning "baked earth".

The most common method of using molten metal to make hollow, one-of-a-kind sculptures. When heat is applied to the clay mould, the wax layer within melts and forms channels, which the artist then fills with molten metal.


Proto-geometric Amphora - History

Fallen Warrior, Temple of Aphaia, Aegina (Image from ANU).

The Iliad is a great poem, but also one which presents a number of difficulties for the first-time reader. This page is designed to be a jumping-off point to help you overcome some of the common difficulties readers have with Homer's Iliad, and also to provide tools to enhance and deepen your reading of the poem.

Click on any of the following topics to explore them further.

4. English and Greek texts of the Iliad for word searching.

6. Archaeological Sites of interest to the Iliad.

7. Some commonly asked questions when reading the Iliad for the first time.



1. Homeric Geography.

We are not sure where all of the places mentioned in the Iliad and Odyssey were located, but later tradition and modern archaeological excavations have helped us gain knowledge of the sites. Here is a map listing some of the more important sites and a few of the heroes and heroines who were associated with them. Names of Greek sites and people are in purple, Trojan in red.


Map developed by Daphne Kleps.

To look up other sites mentioned in the Iliad, you can try searching the atlas provided by the Perseus Project at Tufts University.

There is also an excellent Glossary in the back of the Lattimore translation of the Iliad which includes place names.


2. Basic Chronology of the Homeric Epics
(all dates BC)

c. 1800-1250 Troy VI
c. 1500-1120 Mycenaean Civilization
c. 1250 possible date of the historical fall of Troy VI
1183 traditional date of the fall of Troy

c. 1100-750 Stories of the fall of Troy passed down in oral form
c. 1100 Doric Invasion of Greece
c. 1050-950 Greek colonization of Asia Minor (western coast of Turkey)
c. 900 Beginning of the rise of the polis (city-state)

c. 800-700 Rise of the aristocracies
776 Olympic Games established
c. 750 Greek colonization of Southern Italy and Sicily begins
c. 750 Introduction of a new alphabet writing gradually introduced
c. 720 Homer, Iliad
c. 700 Hesiod, Theogony and Works and Days
c. 680 Homer, Odyssey Archilochus (lyric poet)
c. 650 Greek colonization around the Black Sea begins
c. 600 Sappho (lyric poet) Thales (philosopher)
594-593 Archonship of Solon in Athens
545-510 Tyranny of the Peisistratids in Athens
c. 540 Singing of Homeric poems begins at Panathenaic festival
533 Thespis wins first tragedy competition at Athens
508 Cleisthenes reforms the Athenian Constitution

490-479 Persian War
458 Aeschylus, Oresteia
461-429 Pericles dominant in Athenian politics the "Periclean Age"
c. 450-420 Herodotus composes his Histories about the Persian War.
447 Parthenon begun in Athens
431-404 Peloponnesian War (Athens and allies vs. Sparta and allies)
c. 428 Sophocles, Oedipus the King
c. 424-400 Thucydides composes his History of the Peloponnesian War
404 Athens loses Peloponnesian War to Sparta
399 Trial and death of Socrates



3. Outline of the Iliad

The Iliad is a very long poem, and it is hard to keep all of the people, places, and events straight. This outline provides a summary of the action in each of the 24 Books. Use it to review what happens in each book, or to locate a particular scene.Outline


4. English and Greek texts of the Iliad for word searching.

This page allows you to find passages in the Iliad in either Greek or English. It also allows you to search for words in the English or Greek text.

A. The English text of the Iliad from the Perseus Project.

B. The Greek text of the Iliad from the Perseus Project.

C. Search for English word in the Iliad.

D. Search for Greek word in the Iliad.


5. Homer and Art

The Iliad and Odyssey were composed in a culture in which art played a central role. The poems themselves refer to artistic productions, most famously the elaborately decorated shield which Hephaistos makes for Achilles in Iliad 18. In addition, many of the heroes and episodes described in the Homeric poems became popular subjects for sculpture and painting. Here is a chart listing the major periods of Greek art, along with examples from two of the periods and descriptions of some of the major features as they relate to the Homeric poems. More examples will be added as they become available.

1. Mycenaean period (1600-1200)

This is the time contemporary to the "historical" events described in the Iliad and Odyssey.
2. Proto-Geometric and Geometric periods (1050-750)

Dipylon Amphora (Saskia JGCO330.GIF)

This amphora, now in the Athens National Museum, dates to about 760 BC, the time when the Iliad and Odyssey were taking shape. This piece is typical of large (5 foot tall) geometric amphorae which were used as tomb markers in the cemeteries just outside Athens. Most of the vase is decorated with intricate geometric designs, except for two bands of stylized animals on the neck, and the central mourning scene between the two handles. The central scene depicts the part of a Greek funeral known as the prothesis, or laying out of the body. The corpse is shown lying on a funeral bed, surrounded by mourners who are lamenting and tearing out their hair. The scene may depict a contemporary funeral, or that of a hero from the mythic past.

The next two images show details from the amphora.

3. Orientalizing period (720-620)


4. Archaic period (620-480)

Achilles and Ajax Playing a Board Game.

This Attic black figure vase in the Vatican Museum was produced by Exekias in Athens about 530 BC. It depicts Achilles and Ajax playing a board game during a lull in the fighting around Troy.

5. Classical period (480-323)



6. Archaeological Sites of interest to the Iliad.

Archaeologists have done much in the last century to increase our knowledge about a number of sites mentioned in the Iliad and Odyssey. Useful accounts of what we know about some of these sites are provided by the Perseus Project. Perseus provides brief geographical and physical descriptions, lists modern archaeological excavations done at the sites, notes the architectural remains, and gives (for some sites) a site plan with arrows that you can "click" on to see views from specific locations at the sites. It is thus possible to "walk around" the remains of Agamemnon's Mycenae or Nestor's Pylos on your own! Here is a list of the sites from Perseus which are of most interest to reader's of Homer.


7. Some commonly asked "factual" questions when reading the Iliad for the first time.

No one knows. Even the ancient Greeks were not able to agree about when and where Homer lived. One popular account was that he was born some time in the 8th century BC in Smyrna in Asia Minor, lived on the island of Chios, and died on the small island of Ios. Greek writers also claimed that he was blind, that his real name was Melesigines, and that his father was the river Meles and his mother a nymph named Kretheis.

Though they could not agree about the details of his life, ancient Greeks did not doubt that there was a poet named Homer who had written the Iliad, the Odyssey, and possibly a number of other poems. Many modern scholars dispute even this. Scholars in the last two hundred years have established that the Iliad and Odyssey are products of a long oral tradition which became fixed sometime in the eighth century BC. How exactly the poems took their final shape (Was it the work of one person or several? Did the process involve writing?) is still a matter of speculation.

2. Is the Iliad historically accurate?

It depends on what you mean by "historically accurate." Modern historians generally agree that the Iliad reflects a set of historical events, but disagree about the relationship of the Iliad to those events. Most historians accept that at some point around 1250-1200 BC the city of Troy was destroyed by a raiding party from the Greek mainland. Most also believe that the poem, while probably wrong in most of its historical details, reflects some historical realities from the Late Bronze Age and Dark Ages (1200 - 900 BC) which are consistent with the archaeological record.

3. How do you keep all of the names of people, places, and gods straight?

It is hard at first. There is a good glossary in the back of the Lattimore translation, and is also helpful to keep your own list of people who occur more than once.


Lexic.us

Below you will find example usage of this term as found in modern and/or classical literature:

1. Hellenistic Pottery and Terracottas by Homer A. Thompson, Dorothy Burr Thompson (1987)
"5t, pi. IV Ath. Mitt. XXVI, 1901, p. Ml, Xo. 31'!. For protogeometric . Our growing knowledge of Attic protogeometric (a fabric of which we as yet know . "

2. Ceramicus Redivivus: The Early Iron Age Potters' Field in the Area of the by John K. Papadopoulos (2003)
"PG IV represents Late protogeometric. In addition to protogeometric I-IV, she discerned a phase that others would call . "

3. A Sanctuary of Zeus on Mount Hymettos by Merle K. Langdon (1976)
"Late protogeometric. 195. Base of a krater. H 597. PH 0.09 m. . Late protogeometric. EARLY GEOMETRIC 197. Neck of an amphora. PI. 18. H465. PH 0.146m. . "

4. The Art of Antiquity: Piet de Jong and the Athenian Agora by John K. Papadopoulos, Piet De Jong (2007)
"285, 55) Late protogeometric Cinerary urns in tombs C 9:13 and E 12:1 Height: P 8041: 0.347 P 3169: 0.255 P 8041: Unpublished mentioned in Desborough 1952 . "

5. The Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore: Topography and Architecture by Nancy Bookidis (1997)
"600 BC The earliest objects excavated on the Middle Terrace are a few sherds of the Mycenaean, protogeometric, and Geometric periods. . "

6. Studies in Attic Epigraphy, History, and Topography by Eugene Vanderpool (1982)
"The second is based on the thesis, still accepted, that the protogeometric style of pottery was an Athenian invention of the mid-llth century BC and that . "

7. Corinth: The Centenary, 1896-1996 by Charles K. Williams, Nancy Bookidis (2003)
". Williams has identified a series of sherds, chiefly deriving from cups, that extends from the protogeometric period down into Archaic times. . "


Protogeometric Amphora.

Protogeometric amphora., c. 975-950 BCE.

In the Geometric period that followed, figures once more became present on the vessel. The period lasted from 900 to 700 BCE and marked the end of the Greek Dark Ages. A new Greek culture emerged during this time. The population grew, trade began once more, and the Greeks adopted the Phoenician alphabet for writing. Unlike the Mycenaeans, this culture was more focused on the people of the polis, which is reflected in the art of this period. The period gets its name from the reliance on geometric shapes and patterns and even their use in depicting both human and animal figures.

The city of Athens became the center for pottery production. A potter's quarter in the section of the city known as the Kerameikos was located on either side of the Dipylon Gate, one of the city's west gates. The potters lived and work inside the gate in the city, while outside the gate, along the road, was a large cemetery. In the Geometric period, monumental sized kraters and amphorae up to six feet tall were used as grave markers for the burials just outside the gate. Kraters marked male graves, while amphorae marked female graves.

The Dipylon Master, an unknown painter whose hand is recognized on many different vessels, displays the great expertise required when decorating these funerary markers. The vessels were first thrown a wheel, an important technological development at the time, before painting began. Both the Diplyon Krater and Dipylon Amphora demonstrate the main characteristics of painting during this time. For one, the entire vessel is decorated in a style known as horror vacui, a style in which the entire surface of the medium is filled with imagery. On the lip of the krater and on many registers of the amphora, is a decorative meander. This geometric motif is constructed from a single, continuous line in a repeated shape or motif.

The main scene is depicted on the widest part of the pot's body. These scenes relate to the funerary aspect of the pot and may depict mourners, a prothesis (a ritual of laying the body out and mourning), or even funerary games and processions. On the Dipylon Krater, two registers depict a processional scene, an ekphora, (the transportation of the body to the cemetery) and the prothesis . The dead man of the prothesis scene is seen on the upper register. He is laid out on a bier and mourners, distinguished by their hands tearing at their hair, surround the body. Above the body is a shroud, which the artist depicts above and not over the body in order to allow the viewer to see the entirety of the scene. On the register below, chariots and soldiers form a funerary procession. The soldiers are identified by their uniquely shaped shields. The Dipylon Amphora depicts just a prothesis in a wide a register around the pot. In both vessels, men and women are distinguished by protruding triangles on their chest or waist to represent breasts or a penis. Every empty space in these scenes is filled with geometric shapes—M's, diamonds, starbursts—demonstrating the Geometric painter's horror vacui.


This article is adapted from Ms. Aptaker’s lectures in Art History at the New York Institute of Technology

Let’s face it, step into a museum gallery of ancient Greek statuary and painted vases and you could get the impression that for about five hundred years from around 600 BCE (this article will use the newer designation of BCE, Before the Common Era) the male population of Greece lived life undressed. 1 There are athletes in the nude soldiers in the nude handsome young men who were famous for merely being handsome in the nude. By contrast, the Pharaohs, nobles and aristocratic men of ancient Egypt wouldn’t be caught dead in representations of themselves without a skirt or drape of some kind that indicated their rank or stature in society. Ditto for the men of Mesopotamia. Later Romans, though they mimicked the nude statuary of Greece, just as often commissioned statues of themselves in warriors’ armor or aristocratic drapery to call attention to their military heroism or political importance.

So why was the attitude of the ancient Greeks so different from other ancient cultures regarding nudity? Blame it on math.

If that answer seems facile, consider this: the great fifth century BCE sculptor Polykleitos wrote a treatise called The Canon, or The Canon of Proportion, which dictated specific mathematical proportions and relationships for all parts of the human body. Polykleitos based his formulae on work attributed to the sixth century BCE mathematician Pythagoras, whose noted theorem is still in use today.

But Polykleitos’ Canon, brilliant as it was and is, simply codified a way of thinking, a way of expressing beauty, which had been evolving in Greece for centuries. We can actually see the beginning of that way of thinking, and we can marvel that it appeared at a time when chaos and violence left Greek civilization hanging by a thread.

The fall of the Mycenaean civilization on mainland Greece, beginning around 1200 BCE, ushered in The Greek Dark Age. Invaders from the north and from Ionia in the east overran the once splendid Bronze Age heroic civilization and replaced it with the violence of constant warfare and the displacement of whole populations of sacked towns and villages. This miserable situation lasted over two hundred years, but around 1000 BCE things slowly started to settle down. Daily life was still bleak and dangerous, violence continued, but here and there a revitalizing culture started to take root, mainly through items of daily necessity after all, even if your community no longer needs palaces, your little hut still need cups and jars and bowls. It is in early Greek pottery that we see the beginnings of a way of thinking that eventually became the ancient world’s most sophisticated expression of the beauty of the human figure, particularly the male nude.


Fig. 1 - Proto-geometric amphora, ca. 950 BCE,
terra cotta, 13 ¾” high. British Museum, London

This amphora (Fig.1) dates from about 950 BCE. The style, called Proto-geometric, is simple and strictly utilitarian: lines and shapes moving around the surface of the pot. The Proto-geometric period, roughly the tenth century BCE, sets the foundation for everything to come in Greek art. 2 In this pot and others of the period, we see the beginnings of the Greek fascination with rational mathematics, especially geometry. It all started with everyday utensils decorated with simple lines.

Though other ancient cultures also decorated their pottery with similar lines and shapes, what’s new here, and what’s uniquely Greek, is a consciously harmonious relationship between the shape of the vase and the surface decoration. Each facet of the decoration occupies a specific part of the structure and is meant to delineate the volumes, which are themselves in harmonious proportion to one another:

-the solid black of the tall neck with an encircling checkered pattern positioned like a necklace

-the solid bands on the shoulder

-the undulating wave around the belly and the swelling shape of the belly contained by another solid band below

-the empty “reserved” space above the foot giving everything above a visual lightness, a weightlessness

-the whole thing resting comfortably and securely on the solid band of the foot.

Note that I’ve used the names of human body parts for the parts of the vase: neck, shoulder, belly, foot. The Greeks believed that the organic structure of pottery is analogous to the organic, balanced structure of human form and that both could be explained by the principles of geometry.

Though mathematics and geometry are rational, for the Greeks, even as early as the Proto-geometric period, mathematics and geometry are not cold. The Greeks gave a philosophical warmth to mathematics, marrying the principles of rationality to the spirit of philosophy, which they eventually developed into the Classical idea of Humanism.

During the centuries prior to the Athenian development of democracy in 508 BCE, the city-states of Greece, like all other ancient civilizations, were ruled by Kings. The Egyptian Pharaoh, for example, was considered a living god on earth. But the Greek relationship with even their most powerful or despotic leaders was quite different from that of other kingdoms. The Greek kings regarded themselves human beings, mere mortals, not gods on earth. If the Greek kings had a divine connection to any of their gods it was because their human mother or father mated with a god or goddess and the resulting child was at best a half-god, called a demi-god, and only because of the human process of sexual relations and childbearing (the gods, among themselves, could reproduce parthenogenically). This great difference in outlook, that human beings, not the gods, were, as the Greek philosopher Protagoras wrote, “the measure of all things” on earth, is what enabled the Greeks to unite the rationality of mathematics to the warmth of humanist philosophy and, by extension, to an appreciation of the human body as an ideal evocation of that unity.


Fig. 2A


Fig. 2B

Figs. 2A and 2B-Dipylon Krater, from the Dipylon cemetery,
Athens, ca. 740 BCE.
3’ 4 1/2” height Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

By the eighth century BCE, a full blown Geometric style was ascendant, as we see in this monumental krater from the Dipylon cemetery in Athens (Fig 2A). This enormous pot, standing nearly three and a half feet tall, was not for household use but served as a grave marker, much as a headstone is used today. The painted scenes represent the funeral service and mourning (upper register of figures) and funeral procession or military parade (lower register of figures) honoring the deceased gentleman we see lying atop the funeral bier (Fig. 2B, center). The rational properties of geometry informed the physical proportions of the vase (which are in perfect balance here) and to rendering the figures, which are expressed in a purely geometric language: ovals for heads triangles for the upper body lozenge shapes for hips and legs rectangles or lines for arms. The upraised arms of the female mourners (who are tearing out their hair in grief) on either side of the funeral bier bend at pure right angles to form rectangles and near-squares.

Though this use of everyday shapes to render human (and animal) form may seem simplistic, a century or so of drawing in this manner gave Greek artists a deep understanding of the properties of shape and the proportional relationships between parts of the human body. This confidence, together with the Greek belief that human beings and human experience are the central issues of daily existence, that the “here and now” is more immediately relevant than eternity, which was the province of the immortal gods in any event and about which human beings had little or no say, gave Greek artists the skills and state of mind to make the next leap in their remarkable development of the nude figure.


Fig. 3-Kouros, ca. 590 BCE Marble, 6’ ½” height
Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

While it’s fair to say that the development of Greek art and its emphasis on the human and not the godly was unique in the ancient world, it must also be acknowledged that Greek artists did not develop in isolation. Though this kouros (Fig. 3), meaning a statue of a nude male youth, exhibits those values we can identify as uniquely Greek, it also exhibits the influence of Egypt, the dominant power and culture through much of ancient history. Like Egyptian statuary, 3 this kouros stands in a rigid frontal pose, his hands clenched at his sides and with one leg forward.

But the similarity ends there. Unlike Egyptian figures, which were meant to express an unchanging eternal, this kouros makes visible the Greek philosophy of male beauty, harmonious of face and body, and above all active and athletic.

To begin with, the young man is nude, whereas Egyptian figures were clothed. Moreover, Egyptian standing figures were anchored to a supporting block of stone, 4 but this kouros is free standing. This achievement is not only technical, it represents a philosophical expression as well.

Dealing first with the technical aspect, the balance necessary to achieve a free standing figure of stone was a result of the Greeks’ deep understanding of geometry and its properties. From the lessons inherent in the tectonics of pottery to the painted geometric shapes which earlier expressed human form, by the sixth century BCE, the Archaic period, Greek sculptors were prepared to produce life-sized figures that stood as confidently on their feet as did living human beings.

Aesthetically, the kouros in Figure 3 is purely and utterly Greek. It is created through geometric forms: we still see the oval for the head a triangular torso and lozenges to form the legs. And philosophically it is Greek, expressing an idea of youthful maleness not as godly or heroic but as beautiful. This beauty is an expression of the ideal of harmony and balance, two attributes of rational mathematics which the Greeks believed contributed to the beauty of all things, including thought itself.

By the beginning of the Classical period, when Greek cultural confidence was at its height and no longer under the restraining influence of Egypt, Greek philosophy and art achieved a sophistication—and in art, the technical ability—which enabled philosophers and artists to address that most human of experiences, sensuality.

Fig. 4-Kritios Boy ca. 480 BCE, Athens,
Marble, 2’ 10” height. Acropolis Museum, Athens

This early Classical figure called the Kritios Boy, dating to about 480 BCE, shares the one leg forward/frontal stance of his kouros predecessors, but here the geometry of the assembled shapes is more relaxed, more natural. Kritios Boy is believed to be the first sculpted human figure to employ contrapposto, meaning “shifting of weight.” The sculptor understood that human beings do not stand in rigid poses (except when at “attention” like soldiers) real human beings shift their weight and their body, positioning themselves along the vertical axis of the spine.

The contrapposto of the Kritios Boy is created by:

-the slight dip of his right hip as he balances his weight on his left (rear) leg

-the bend of his forward leg at the knee, at ease

-his head turned slightly to his right, unlike the stiff-necked Archaic kouroi.

This more natural posture, derived from the rational application of mathematics to achieve a balance of proportion, gives Kritios Boy not just a more natural appearance but a sensual one. What is being celebrated here isn’t heroism or power what’s being celebrated is beauty of form and flesh beauty as a philosophical ideal of life expressed through harmonious proportions, ease of posture, calmness of expression.

Only about thirty years after the unknown sculptor created the Kritios Boy, Polykleitos himself brought the spirit of Greek art to full magnificence with a series of sculptures that are masterpieces of his Canon of Proportion. In his Doryphoros (Spear Carrier) (Fig. 5), Polykleitos expressed harmony, balance and beauty through strict adherence to his mathematical formulae for the proportions and geometric masses of the nude figure. 5 With mathematics as his absolute foundation, he was then able to create a contrapposto that is assertive, giving the figure the graceful S-curve that would become iconic in Greek sculpture. Polykleitos further enhanced the grace of the contrapposto with the harmony of “cross balance”: the bent arm is diagonally opposite the straight leg, while the straight arm is diagonal to the bent leg.

Polykleitos’ Canon would remain the standard for Greek sculpture through its Classical and Hellenistic periods and into the art of Rome. The grace and sensuality celebrated by the Classical nude influenced later masters such as Michelangelo, whose monumental David (1501-1504) is a sensual descendent 6 of Polykleitos’ contrapposto and cross balance. And though figurative art is less dominant today, the human need for sensual expression never dies. Who would have thought it could be expressed in math?

_______________
1. Female figures in Greek art were more often clothed.

2. Technical advances in pottery manufacture developed during the Proto- geometric period are further described in Richter, Gisela M.A., A Handbook of Greek Art A Survey of the Visual Arts of Ancient Greece, Seventh Edition, Phaidon Press Ltd., London, 1974 Boardman, John, Early Greek Vase Painting, Thames and Hudson, London, 1998 and others.

3. The period of Egyptian art and history referred to encompasses the Old Kingdom, ca. 2574-2134 BCE through the New Kingdom, ca. 1550-1070 BCE, which, with the exception of the Amarna period, ca. 1353-1335 BCE, essentially set the form which was maintained throughout most of Egyptian art until the Ptolemaic period, ca. 305 BCE-6 BCE. The Ptolemaic rulers, being Greek (after the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great), brought Greek influence into late Egyptian art. The defeat of Egypt by the Romans in 6 BCE, further Classicized Egyptian art.

4. Egyptian figures sculpted of wood or smaller than life-size figures in stone were often free-standing. The distribution and balance of weight of life-size and monumental stone figures in Egypt, however, usually necessitated an anchoring block.

5. This figure is a later copy, in marble, made in Rome for the Palestra athletic stadium in Pompeii. The original Greek statue was created cast in bronze. This situation is true of a considerable number of Greek statues, many of them originally bronze, since lost to time. Nevertheless, as far as we know, the ancient Roman sculptors were entirely faithful in their reproductions of the original Greek. Without these Roman copies, we would not know as much about the remarkable development of Greek sculpture. We are especially certain of the Romans’ accuracy of Polykleitos’ works because Roman sculptors strictly followed Polykleitos’ instructions, as written in his Canon.


6. Though the David is clearly influenced by Classical sculpture, and in particular by Polykleitos, Michelangelo had no taste for the mathematical approach to human form. His David is reflective of his belief that organic form already exists within a block of stone and it is the sculptor’s art to bring it out. The proportions of the David, therefore, are not mathematically accurate, though the visual effect is certainly natural to the eye.


This article is adapted from Ms. Aptaker’s lectures in Art History at the New York Institute of Technology

Let’s face it, step into a museum gallery of ancient Greek statuary and painted vases and you could get the impression that for about five hundred years from around 600 BCE (this article will use the newer designation of BCE, Before the Common Era) the male population of Greece lived life undressed. 1 There are athletes in the nude soldiers in the nude handsome young men who were famous for merely being handsome in the nude. By contrast, the Pharaohs, nobles and aristocratic men of ancient Egypt wouldn’t be caught dead in representations of themselves without a skirt or drape of some kind that indicated their rank or stature in society. Ditto for the men of Mesopotamia. Later Romans, though they mimicked the nude statuary of Greece, just as often commissioned statues of themselves in warriors’ armor or aristocratic drapery to call attention to their military heroism or political importance.

So why was the attitude of the ancient Greeks so different from other ancient cultures regarding nudity? Blame it on math.

If that answer seems facile, consider this: the great fifth century BCE sculptor Polykleitos wrote a treatise called The Canon, or The Canon of Proportion, which dictated specific mathematical proportions and relationships for all parts of the human body. Polykleitos based his formulae on work attributed to the sixth century BCE mathematician Pythagoras, whose noted theorem is still in use today.

But Polykleitos’ Canon, brilliant as it was and is, simply codified a way of thinking, a way of expressing beauty, which had been evolving in Greece for centuries. We can actually see the beginning of that way of thinking, and we can marvel that it appeared at a time when chaos and violence left Greek civilization hanging by a thread.

The fall of the Mycenaean civilization on mainland Greece, beginning around 1200 BCE, ushered in The Greek Dark Age. Invaders from the north and from Ionia in the east overran the once splendid Bronze Age heroic civilization and replaced it with the violence of constant warfare and the displacement of whole populations of sacked towns and villages. This miserable situation lasted over two hundred years, but around 1000 BCE things slowly started to settle down. Daily life was still bleak and dangerous, violence continued, but here and there a revitalizing culture started to take root, mainly through items of daily necessity after all, even if your community no longer needs palaces, your little hut still need cups and jars and bowls. It is in early Greek pottery that we see the beginnings of a way of thinking that eventually became the ancient world’s most sophisticated expression of the beauty of the human figure, particularly the male nude.


Fig. 1 - Proto-geometric amphora, ca. 950 BCE,
terra cotta, 13 ¾” high. British Museum, London

This amphora (Fig.1) dates from about 950 BCE. The style, called Proto-geometric, is simple and strictly utilitarian: lines and shapes moving around the surface of the pot. The Proto-geometric period, roughly the tenth century BCE, sets the foundation for everything to come in Greek art. 2 In this pot and others of the period, we see the beginnings of the Greek fascination with rational mathematics, especially geometry. It all started with everyday utensils decorated with simple lines.

Though other ancient cultures also decorated their pottery with similar lines and shapes, what’s new here, and what’s uniquely Greek, is a consciously harmonious relationship between the shape of the vase and the surface decoration. Each facet of the decoration occupies a specific part of the structure and is meant to delineate the volumes, which are themselves in harmonious proportion to one another:

-the solid black of the tall neck with an encircling checkered pattern positioned like a necklace

-the solid bands on the shoulder

-the undulating wave around the belly and the swelling shape of the belly contained by another solid band below

-the empty “reserved” space above the foot giving everything above a visual lightness, a weightlessness

-the whole thing resting comfortably and securely on the solid band of the foot.

Note that I’ve used the names of human body parts for the parts of the vase: neck, shoulder, belly, foot. The Greeks believed that the organic structure of pottery is analogous to the organic, balanced structure of human form and that both could be explained by the principles of geometry.

Though mathematics and geometry are rational, for the Greeks, even as early as the Proto-geometric period, mathematics and geometry are not cold. The Greeks gave a philosophical warmth to mathematics, marrying the principles of rationality to the spirit of philosophy, which they eventually developed into the Classical idea of Humanism.

During the centuries prior to the Athenian development of democracy in 508 BCE, the city-states of Greece, like all other ancient civilizations, were ruled by Kings. The Egyptian Pharaoh, for example, was considered a living god on earth. But the Greek relationship with even their most powerful or despotic leaders was quite different from that of other kingdoms. The Greek kings regarded themselves human beings, mere mortals, not gods on earth. If the Greek kings had a divine connection to any of their gods it was because their human mother or father mated with a god or goddess and the resulting child was at best a half-god, called a demi-god, and only because of the human process of sexual relations and childbearing (the gods, among themselves, could reproduce parthenogenically). This great difference in outlook, that human beings, not the gods, were, as the Greek philosopher Protagoras wrote, “the measure of all things” on earth, is what enabled the Greeks to unite the rationality of mathematics to the warmth of humanist philosophy and, by extension, to an appreciation of the human body as an ideal evocation of that unity.


Fig. 2A


Fig. 2B

Figs. 2A and 2B-Dipylon Krater, from the Dipylon cemetery,
Athens, ca. 740 BCE.
3’ 4 1/2” height Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

By the eighth century BCE, a full blown Geometric style was ascendant, as we see in this monumental krater from the Dipylon cemetery in Athens (Fig 2A). This enormous pot, standing nearly three and a half feet tall, was not for household use but served as a grave marker, much as a headstone is used today. The painted scenes represent the funeral service and mourning (upper register of figures) and funeral procession or military parade (lower register of figures) honoring the deceased gentleman we see lying atop the funeral bier (Fig. 2B, center). The rational properties of geometry informed the physical proportions of the vase (which are in perfect balance here) and to rendering the figures, which are expressed in a purely geometric language: ovals for heads triangles for the upper body lozenge shapes for hips and legs rectangles or lines for arms. The upraised arms of the female mourners (who are tearing out their hair in grief) on either side of the funeral bier bend at pure right angles to form rectangles and near-squares.

Though this use of everyday shapes to render human (and animal) form may seem simplistic, a century or so of drawing in this manner gave Greek artists a deep understanding of the properties of shape and the proportional relationships between parts of the human body. This confidence, together with the Greek belief that human beings and human experience are the central issues of daily existence, that the “here and now” is more immediately relevant than eternity, which was the province of the immortal gods in any event and about which human beings had little or no say, gave Greek artists the skills and state of mind to make the next leap in their remarkable development of the nude figure.


Fig. 3-Kouros, ca. 590 BCE Marble, 6’ ½” height
Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

While it’s fair to say that the development of Greek art and its emphasis on the human and not the godly was unique in the ancient world, it must also be acknowledged that Greek artists did not develop in isolation. Though this kouros (Fig. 3), meaning a statue of a nude male youth, exhibits those values we can identify as uniquely Greek, it also exhibits the influence of Egypt, the dominant power and culture through much of ancient history. Like Egyptian statuary, 3 this kouros stands in a rigid frontal pose, his hands clenched at his sides and with one leg forward.

But the similarity ends there. Unlike Egyptian figures, which were meant to express an unchanging eternal, this kouros makes visible the Greek philosophy of male beauty, harmonious of face and body, and above all active and athletic.

To begin with, the young man is nude, whereas Egyptian figures were clothed. Moreover, Egyptian standing figures were anchored to a supporting block of stone, 4 but this kouros is free standing. This achievement is not only technical, it represents a philosophical expression as well.

Dealing first with the technical aspect, the balance necessary to achieve a free standing figure of stone was a result of the Greeks’ deep understanding of geometry and its properties. From the lessons inherent in the tectonics of pottery to the painted geometric shapes which earlier expressed human form, by the sixth century BCE, the Archaic period, Greek sculptors were prepared to produce life-sized figures that stood as confidently on their feet as did living human beings.

Aesthetically, the kouros in Figure 3 is purely and utterly Greek. It is created through geometric forms: we still see the oval for the head a triangular torso and lozenges to form the legs. And philosophically it is Greek, expressing an idea of youthful maleness not as godly or heroic but as beautiful. This beauty is an expression of the ideal of harmony and balance, two attributes of rational mathematics which the Greeks believed contributed to the beauty of all things, including thought itself.

By the beginning of the Classical period, when Greek cultural confidence was at its height and no longer under the restraining influence of Egypt, Greek philosophy and art achieved a sophistication—and in art, the technical ability—which enabled philosophers and artists to address that most human of experiences, sensuality.

Fig. 4-Kritios Boy ca. 480 BCE, Athens,
Marble, 2’ 10” height. Acropolis Museum, Athens

This early Classical figure called the Kritios Boy, dating to about 480 BCE, shares the one leg forward/frontal stance of his kouros predecessors, but here the geometry of the assembled shapes is more relaxed, more natural. Kritios Boy is believed to be the first sculpted human figure to employ contrapposto, meaning “shifting of weight.” The sculptor understood that human beings do not stand in rigid poses (except when at “attention” like soldiers) real human beings shift their weight and their body, positioning themselves along the vertical axis of the spine.

The contrapposto of the Kritios Boy is created by:

-the slight dip of his right hip as he balances his weight on his left (rear) leg

-the bend of his forward leg at the knee, at ease

-his head turned slightly to his right, unlike the stiff-necked Archaic kouroi.

This more natural posture, derived from the rational application of mathematics to achieve a balance of proportion, gives Kritios Boy not just a more natural appearance but a sensual one. What is being celebrated here isn’t heroism or power what’s being celebrated is beauty of form and flesh beauty as a philosophical ideal of life expressed through harmonious proportions, ease of posture, calmness of expression.

Only about thirty years after the unknown sculptor created the Kritios Boy, Polykleitos himself brought the spirit of Greek art to full magnificence with a series of sculptures that are masterpieces of his Canon of Proportion. In his Doryphoros (Spear Carrier) (Fig. 5), Polykleitos expressed harmony, balance and beauty through strict adherence to his mathematical formulae for the proportions and geometric masses of the nude figure. 5 With mathematics as his absolute foundation, he was then able to create a contrapposto that is assertive, giving the figure the graceful S-curve that would become iconic in Greek sculpture. Polykleitos further enhanced the grace of the contrapposto with the harmony of “cross balance”: the bent arm is diagonally opposite the straight leg, while the straight arm is diagonal to the bent leg.

Polykleitos’ Canon would remain the standard for Greek sculpture through its Classical and Hellenistic periods and into the art of Rome. The grace and sensuality celebrated by the Classical nude influenced later masters such as Michelangelo, whose monumental David (1501-1504) is a sensual descendent 6 of Polykleitos’ contrapposto and cross balance. And though figurative art is less dominant today, the human need for sensual expression never dies. Who would have thought it could be expressed in math?

_______________
1. Female figures in Greek art were more often clothed.

2. Technical advances in pottery manufacture developed during the Proto- geometric period are further described in Richter, Gisela M.A., A Handbook of Greek Art A Survey of the Visual Arts of Ancient Greece, Seventh Edition, Phaidon Press Ltd., London, 1974 Boardman, John, Early Greek Vase Painting, Thames and Hudson, London, 1998 and others.

3. The period of Egyptian art and history referred to encompasses the Old Kingdom, ca. 2574-2134 BCE through the New Kingdom, ca. 1550-1070 BCE, which, with the exception of the Amarna period, ca. 1353-1335 BCE, essentially set the form which was maintained throughout most of Egyptian art until the Ptolemaic period, ca. 305 BCE-6 BCE. The Ptolemaic rulers, being Greek (after the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great), brought Greek influence into late Egyptian art. The defeat of Egypt by the Romans in 6 BCE, further Classicized Egyptian art.

4. Egyptian figures sculpted of wood or smaller than life-size figures in stone were often free-standing. The distribution and balance of weight of life-size and monumental stone figures in Egypt, however, usually necessitated an anchoring block.

5. This figure is a later copy, in marble, made in Rome for the Palestra athletic stadium in Pompeii. The original Greek statue was created cast in bronze. This situation is true of a considerable number of Greek statues, many of them originally bronze, since lost to time. Nevertheless, as far as we know, the ancient Roman sculptors were entirely faithful in their reproductions of the original Greek. Without these Roman copies, we would not know as much about the remarkable development of Greek sculpture. We are especially certain of the Romans’ accuracy of Polykleitos’ works because Roman sculptors strictly followed Polykleitos’ instructions, as written in his Canon.


6. Though the David is clearly influenced by Classical sculpture, and in particular by Polykleitos, Michelangelo had no taste for the mathematical approach to human form. His David is reflective of his belief that organic form already exists within a block of stone and it is the sculptor’s art to bring it out. The proportions of the David, therefore, are not mathematically accurate, though the visual effect is certainly natural to the eye.


Greek ceramics – Chapter 1

This short article does not aim to be an extensive presentation but rather a brief description over the history of greek ceramic in order to answer to the most common questions. In this first chapter we will begin with a global classification per style, then a typological [1] Study of the shapes approach of this ceramic before finishing with a few specific uses.

First we must acknowledge the five main styles of ceramic, which evolve with time as well as their geographical locations. We typically spread these five styles from 1050 B.C [2] Mycenian period, heroic age of the Illiad and the Odisseyr to 146 B.C [3] Fall of Corinth against Rome, Last independant greek kingdom

Proto-geometric (1050-900 B.C)

This style is usually imputed to the mycenaean civilization, which, since the adorn the vases of black varnish patterns and turns the pottery bronze age, on a potter’s wheel rather than manually. These are typically decorated with simplistic and geometric patterns, such as strip and circles.

Geometric style (900-700 B.C)

In continuity with the proto-geometric style, ceramics bedeck themselves with meander, “greek” triangles and other geometric patterns. In this style stand the ancient geometric (900-850 B.C) with only geometric patterns, then the middle geometric (850-770 B.C) with the emergence of figurative adornment (mostly animals) and space saturation, and finally, the moder

geometric (770-700 B.C) with human figure. A great number of those vases were found in one the athenian burial ground, the Dipylon, which will gave its factitious name to the “Dipylon Master”, a vase painter active around 760-750 B.C. Other schools appear all over Greece, in Corinth, Boeotia, Argos, Crete (also in a sterner geometric style) and Cyclades.

Orientalizing Style (725-625 B.C)

As its name states it, this ceramic is influenced by the oriental design, which drains its inspiration from nature, the animal world and mythology. We see the appearances of sphinx, griffins, lions, et caetera, with way more realism than under the geometric style. It firstly emerge in Corinth, who then exported the techniques to Athens, which modifies it according to its own influence: developing the first marks of polychromy, white, black and red, intertwine to give live to the depictions.

Though black figures exist since the 7th century in Corinth and other regions of Greece, it is Athens which carries it to its pinnacle during the archaic period. It presents black figures designs upon a clay background, therefore on red background in Athens case. Figured vases become more common and are no more confined to a ceremonial use, but also everyday life.

Red figures are popularized by attic ceramic from Athens, with a production of industrial scale and monopolizing the market as the only school of

technique. According to the legend, the first to use this style is Andokides. It is a reversal of the black figure, in its initial stage there even are occurences of bilingual vases, combining black and red figures. This style allows an evolution and a refinement of the designs, the potter and painter Euphronios specialized in the representation of the body muscles. Due to the destruction of Athenian workshop during the second greco-persian war, the production of black figures are abandoned to the profit of the red, which take over the stylistic landscape. Designs are further sophisticated, representing mythological scenes, battles and everyday life representations. Space saturation will slowly come back, floral patterns veiling voids, as well as polychromy with touches of white. During the hellenistic period the technique simplifies itself, with simple settings and even paintings after the baking process.

Far from Athens, in Magna Grecia the apulian region stands outwith its own ceramic technique, of equivalent quality to the athenian’s one, and will last during the hellenistic period thanks to the painter Darius who represents contemporary of Alexender the Great. With its own italic style the apulian ceramic is exported in Greece as well as the whole mediterranean basin. It usually identified by its saturation of icon of heroic theme, numerous details, and for the armament enthusiast the representation of apulo-corinthian helmet. A last subtype, the red figure on white background, typically in the mortuary field, especially upon lekythos which contain perfumes. However if red figures predominates, black figures are used on occasion on honorific vases, such as panathenaic amphora

Bernard Holtzmann et Alain Pasquier, Histoire de l’art antique : l’art grec, écoles du Louvre, Paris, 1998.


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Ancient Greek Art #1: geometric to archaic
• GEOMETRIC= 900-700 BC (end of the dark age, the human figure reappears)
• ORIENTALIZING= 700-600 BC (renewed contact with the outside world)
• ARCHAIC= 600-480 BC (old fashioned period, golden age of painting on pottery (black
figure and red figure pottery)
• Hellenic Period= 900-323 BC (part 1)
o Major trends: interest in depicting the human figure convincingly, idealism
(striving to depict the UNIVERSAL and the PERFECT)
o Familiar forms/conventions= gloss slip, twisted perspective, composite creatures,
painted sculpture, sculptures in poses borrowed from Egypt
• Etruscans were very fond of Greek pottery
• WARRIOR VASE (krater) (from Mycenae, 1200 BC) ! used as a giant punchbowl for
mixing strong wine with water
o Not painted with true paint, painted with GLOSS SLIP (liquid clay, mixed water
with clay and let coarse grains settle, remove them, repeat until the slip is of a nice
smooth consistency)
o Use of BANDING (paint around while pot is still on the wheel)
• STIRRUP JAR W/ OCTOPUS (1200-1100 BC, Mycenae) ! banding, painted with gloss
slip
• NOW AFTER THE FALL OF MYCENAE
• PROTO-GEOMETRIC AMPHORA (10th Century BC) ! probable source of style=
surviving Mycenaean folk traditions, very crisp concentric circles
• GEOMETRIC KRATER (from the Dipylon Cemetery, Athens, 740 BC) ! about 4 feet tall,
in the shape of a Krater but never was used as one, instead was used as a grave marker
for an aristocratic man, symbolic of dinner parties
o PROTHESIS: body laying on side, whole scene
o BEIRCLOTH: cloth over a dead body
o Procession at the bottom of the pot, horses, figure 8 shields (borrowed from the
Minoans)(connection between the age or heroes and their own time)
o In ancient Greece people were VERY aware of their lineage
o Figure 8 shields and war chariots were obsolete in the geometric period (used
round shields)
• ORIENTALIZING PERIOD: 700-600 BC
• CORINTHIAN BLACK-FIGURE AMPHORA W/ ANIMAL FRIEZES (624-600 BC)! lions
in heraldic symmetry, SIREN (human head on a bird’s body, tempts sailors), banding,
different colored slip, scratched away slip for detail
• MANTIKLOS APOLLO (from Thebes, 700-680 BC) ! inscription on thighs, bronze young
man, example of a HEROIC NUDE (to distinguish the Greeks from the barbarians)(effort
with perfection, trying to show a perfect person), swelling of the pectoral muscles,
triangular face, very small forehead, very stylized powerful thighs, NICE BUTT
• LADY OF AUXERRE (650-625 BC) ! triangular face, Egyptian style hair, cape and belt
(typical of Crete), small forehead, hand to chest in what is thought to be adoration, was
originally painted

ARTIST PAINTING A STATUE OF HERKALES (360-350 BC) ! shows a painter using
ENCAUSTIC PAINT (powdered pigments held together with very hot wax)
• KOUROS: young man, statues were idealized
• ARCHAIC SMILE: can refer to vitality (life) or is a convention of when artists started to
explore the structure of the face, shows that lips are wrapped around teeth
• ARCHAIC PERIOD: 600-480 BC
• NEW YORK KOUROS (600 BC)! Oldest surviving kouros that is fully preserved, stands
at about 6 feet tall, very neat, Egyptian style hair, Egyptian style pose (very stiff), FIRST
FREE STANDING STONE FIGURES
• KRIUSIS KOUROS (530 BC)! much more accurate than the NY Kouros when it comes
to human anatomy, used as a grave marker (other Kouros used as a grave offering), 6’4”
tall, very large, archaic smile, traces of paint
• PEPLOS KORE (530 BC)! from the acropolis in Athens (PEPLOS= very simple dress),
lovely smile and hair, originally painted
• PHRASIKLEIA FROM MERENDA (540 BC) ! Attica, funerary movement, clothed
• THE GREEKS NOT ONLY TOLD “WHAT HAPPENED” BUT, “HOW IT HAPPENED”
• DEATH OF SARPADON (515 BC)!calyx krater by Euphronos (painter) and Euxitheos
(potter), Attic, sarpedon= son of Minos, Euphronos tried to use FORESHORTENING
• KITHARA PLAYER (490 BC) !amphora attributed to the Berlin painter, attic,
magnificent painting, young man completely lost in his music

Ancient Greek Art #2: classical to Hellenistic
• Hellenic (900-323 BC) ! confined to Greece, idealism, CLASSICAL: (480-323 BC)
moderation, restraint, harmony between parts, universality
• Hellenistic (323-31 BC) ! Greek culture spreads, realism, interest in the dramatic, the
artist’s inventiveness, individual differences

• CLASSICAL PERIOD: 480-323 BC
• ARTEMIS AND APOLLO SLAYING THE CHILDREN OF NIOBE (450 BC) ! attic red
figure calyx krater, niobid painter
o Myth of Niobe: tale to warn against hubris (excessive arrogance), really proud of
all her pretty children, gods get mad, kill her kids
o Imitated the conventions of wall painting (figures floating on a black background),
painter didn’t pay attention to the shape of the pot
• KYLIX= wide, shallow drinking cup, eyes painted on bottom
• DANCING MAENAD (490 BC) ! white ground Kylix (pot made of red clay, interior
painted with black and white slip, used mainly for funerary art because white clay will
chip), MAENAD= female follower of Dionysis, can tell because of her THYRSOS and
because of big cat
o Very limited color scheme
• PHILOXENOS OF ERETRIA (310 BC) ! battle of Issus, Roman copy, battle of Alexander
the great, horses shown with proper foreshortening, enemy watching himself die in his
polished shield
o Alexander the great is calm, looking straight ahead, no beard
• EARLY CLASSICAL= 480-450 BC

Delphi, sacred to Apollo, “bellybutton of the world”.
CHARIOTEER OF DELPHI (470 BC) ! man presenting his chariot to the masses after
winning the race, demonstrates restraint and moderation, IDEAL MASK= reason
governing the emotions, no expression, thick jaw and almost straight line from forehead
to the tip of nose (standard of beauty)
o Anatomically stunning feet, probably cast from a real person
o APOLLO’S SANCTUARY AT DELPHI: lots of mini temples for offerings, theater,
many bronze statues, earthquakes eventually destroyed the temple
o PITHEA= mouthpiece of Apollo, would sit above volcanic fumes and mumble
o PITHEON GAMES= chariot racing, who was it that the god Apollo was smiling on,
charioteer of Delphi= thank offering to Apollo for victory
BATTLE OF THE LAPITHS AND THE CENTAURS (460 BC)! from the west pediment of
Zeus at Olympia
o Considered to be among the greatest groups of Greek sculptures in Marble (may
have been made by a group of sculptors led by Phidias as a young man)
o Tells the story of drunk centaurs kidnapping young bride and her bridesmaids,
Greeks fight them, CIVILIZED vs
.
THEY COULD SHOW
CONVINCINGLY THE HUMAN BODY IN MOTION
WARRIOR (460-450 BC) ! Riace Warrior A, found in the sea, classical, standing in the
contrapposto stance, mature man, copper lips, silver teeth, inlaid eyes, heroic/ideal
nudity
HELLENISTIC ART: 323-31 BC
EPIGONOS (?), Gallic Chieftan, killing himself and his wife (roman marble copy after a
bronze original from Pergamon), Turkey, 230-220 BC)
o Celts believed in reincarnation, death for them was just an inconvenience, made
them very scary fighters
o Sculptures were thank offerings for victory against the Gauls, people in the
sculpture didn’t look Greek at all (REALISM), shown as noble enemies

TEMPLES: 4 main temples, ¾ are doric, temple to hera 1, temple to hera 2 and the
Parthenon)


Watch the video: Geometric: Dipylon Amphora


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