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MINOAN ART

THE ISLAND OF ORIGIN OF THE GREEKS CRETE


INTRODUCTION Period: 1700 – 1400 B.C GEOGRAPHY Crete is a mountainous island with natural harbors located midway between Turkey, Egypt and Greece. On the island, the climate is comfortable and the soil fertile; as an island, it was isolated from the mainland of Asia Minor, the Middle East, and Egypt . Vocabulary Harbors: porti


MINOAN CIVILIZATION Around 1700 BC, a highly sophisticated culture grew up on Crete: the Minoans. What they thought, what stories they told, how they narrated their history, are all lost to us. All we have left are their palaces, their incredibly developed visual art, and their records. TheMinoan civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that arose on the island of Crete.

Toreador Fresco" from Knossos c. 1450-1400B.C.


MINOAN PALACES THE PALACE AT KNOSSO The most famous palace is the palace of Knosso. The palace was built over a previous Neolithic town.

THE PALACE AT KNOSSOS "U" SHAPE PLAN WITH A CENTRAL COURTYARD

Construction on the palace at Knossos, according to legend the palace of King Minos, was begun perhaps as early as 2000 B.C., and by 1900 BC, it was fairly close to its final form a large single building with a central courtyard. RUINS


THE PALACE AT KNOSSO

Vocabulary hallways: corridoi Storage rooms: ripostigli

On the east side of the court there was a grand staircase passing through the many levels of the palace, added for the royal residents. On the west side of the court, the throne room, a modest room with a ceiling some two meters high, can be found along with the frescoes that were decorating the walls of the hallways and storage rooms.


THE PALACE AT KNOSSO

Columns wider at the top Timber framing Rubble masonry

Aerial view of the palace at knossos


THE PALACE AT KNOSSO 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

6

4

Central courtyard West entrance Monumental hall Warehouses verandas North entrance

1 2

3

5

Plan

Vocabulary Warehouses: magazzini


The building occupied a large surface area: it was 6 km wide and it was composed of about 1300 environments articulated around courtyards, hanging gardens and passages on various levels.


FRESCOES The "cup bearer" fresco, from Knossos,  Heraklion, Crete, Greece


QUEEN'S MEGARON - FROM KNOSSOS.


"KING'S THRONE" FROM THE PALACE OF KNOSSOS


MINOAN ART

Vocabulary Squid: calamari Lilies: gigli

The Minoans, however, not only decorated their palaces, they decorated them with art. To walk through a Minoan palace was to walk through room after room of splendid, wall-sized paintings. Minoan art frequently involves unimportant, trivial details of everyday life, such as a cat hunting a bird, or an octopus, or representations of sports events (rather than battles, or political events). The Minoan art is generally in the form of frescoes and ceramics. Ceramics were characterized by linear patterns of spirals, triangles, curved lines, crosses, fishbone motifs, and like. In the Middle Minoan period naturalistic designs such as fish, squid, birds, and lilies were common.


FRESCOES


CERAMICS


The "cup bearer" fresco, from Knossos,  Heraklion, Crete, Greece

Line

solid black lines that softly follow the contours of the figures. The lines can simply emerge from the contrast from different colors

Color

Vivid, bright and uniform, there are no shades. Objects and people appear flat

Sensation

sense of joy and vitality

Composition

The composition follows the rules of stylization: the subjects are arranged symmetrically or, as in this case, following a rhythm which indicates a slow ceremonial proceeding.


MINOAN ARCHITECTURE and SCULPTURES The Minoan cities were connected with stone-paved roads, formed from blocks cut with bronze saws. Streets were drained and water and sewer facilities were available to the upper class, through claypipes.


Minoan buildings often had flat tiled roofs; plaster, wood or flagstone floors, and stood two to three stories high. Typically the lower walls were constructed of stone and rubble, and the upper walls of mudbrick. The materials used in construction varied; could include sandstone, gypsum, or limestone. Equally, building techniques could also vary between different constructions; some palaces used ashlar masonry while others used roughly hewn megalithic blocks. Vocabulary Tiled: di tegole Flagstone: lastricato gypsum: gesso Ashlar masonry: muratura a conci


The palaces and towns of the Cretans seem to have only minor defensive structures or forts. The presence of only a small amount of defensive works in the archaeological record leads us to a tentative conclusion: the Minoans throughout much of their history were relatively secure from attack. This conclusion helps to explain every other aspect of Minoan history: their concentration of economic resources on mercantilism, their generous distribution of wealth among their people, and, unfortunately, their downfall.


THOLOS TOMBS For centuries the Minoans used Tholos Tombs and sacred caves, along with pithoi(storage jars) and larnakes(ash-chest) for burial of their dead. An example is the Agamemnon's Tomb, made of stone, high and large almost 14 meters.

Burial Chamber (sarcophagus)

tholos

Entrance to the treasure of Atreus (Agamemnon’s tomb) at  Miycenae

dròmos

Tholos = circular structure, often a temple Dromòs = an entrance or passageway to a building or temple


Agamemnon was the great Greek Hero of Homer’s Iliad

Mask of Agamemnon is a gold funeral mask. It was made using the repousse (a metal is shaped by hammering from the reverse side)

Treasure of Atreus - Tholos

Larnakes

Pithoi


Bull-leaping sport, diagram.

Bull from Phaestos. Terra-cotta. 1200 BC

Bull's-head rhyton the palace of Kato Zakro. 1700-1450 BC.

Mycenaen rhyton, head of a bull. 16th cent. BC. Gold leaf and silver.

Minoan sacred symbols include the Bull, Bull's Horns of Consecration, Double Axe, Pillar, Snakes, Sun, and Tree.

Profile for Gaia Gemignani

History of Art - Minoan Art  

History of Art - Minoan Art  

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