ARH131 – Q
Visual Analysis Paper
The Dark Age of Greece refers to a period of time where all knowledge of Mycenae construction, painting, sculpture, reading and writing disintegrated due to Dorian invasion. One form of art that continued through the period of the Mycenaean downfall was the art of pottery. Pottery, more specifically vase painting, was the beginning of an illustrative development in Greek art and was considered a durable form of art because it ensured the survival of artifacts for long periods of time unlike other forms of art. The emergence of independent city-states within Greece took place around the 8th century, which in turn led to the formation of colonies to facilitate trade activities between Greece, the near East and Egypt. The integration with different cultures was vital to Greek art and the transformation in art styles and techniques became apparent and noticeable in pottery made throughout the different time periods. In this paper, I will be analyzing the similarities and differences in certain pieces of art from the Geometric, Orientalizing, Archaic, and Classical periods with emphasis on how different styles and techniques used such as black and red figure technique were developed due to cultural interaction with neighboring civilizations. The first style of vase painting to come about started in the Geometric period (c.750 BCE). The name of this period virtually represents the style used in early vase paintings. The “Heron Class Olla” pictured on the left is a food storage jar that was made in Eutruria by Greek artists who settled there to work for wealthy Eutruscan patrons. Although it is very simple, you can recognize Greek culture within the schematic design and patterns utilized on the vase. There are distinct lines running as bands around the vase in different widths, with the thicker lines at the neck and base of the vase. This is a very apparent style in the geometric period because it implemented the use of registers to dividing the vase into different sections. In-addition, the equal spacing between the lines suggests a geometric style, along with the checkered squares on the top register. Besides being decorative, another prominent feature in the style of early geometric work is the use of silhouettes to depict animal life. You begin to see a shift from the Greek culture to the Etruscan culture with the bird-like silhouettes painted in the middle register which I figure to be herons, a particularly unique characteristic of Etruscan pottery decor. The decorative short vertical lines presented right below the herons could be symbolic of plant life, playing with two- dimensional representations. On the top register you see a horse-like silhouette feeding on what I believe could be shrubbery, but what is interesting about the horse is its very thin torso area. The same technique was used on a sculpture in the geometric period called the “Bronze Horse” pictured on the right. As you can see, this horse was also sculpted with a very thin torso showing the relationship between artists and sculptors in their similar ideology. One way the geometric period stood out was the use of bright hues in their painting and more importantly, the use of human form did not show up till later in the geometric period. The first use of human form in paintings was very geometric in shape, almost like stick figures with triangular bodies. You can see this in the Geometric funerary amphora pictured on the left which was discovered in the Dipylon cemetery. The scene in the middle register portrays humans mourning a deceased man who is laid out on his resting bed. Although humans are shown on this vase, it is still considered a geometric piece because their bodies are triangular in shape and the artist still utilizes the use of registers and lines/bands around the vase, and within those lines are random key patterns and more fine decorative lines and shapes. This...
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