Ancient Greek History

Geometric Art – Distinct Style of the Ancient Athenians

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Ancient Greece produced some of the most legendary examples of artwork and artistic expression in world history. The artistic achievements of the ancient Athenians during the Golden Age of Athens are some of the most notable that ancient Greece produced. Some of these amazing achievements are still on display for modern-day people to view when they visit the ruins of the Acropolis in current day Athens.

There were also many other notable phases of artwork during the timeline of ancient Greece. Of these, one of the most notable was the Geometric Period. This was a period of art that is characteristically identified by the geometric motifs that were painted on pottery. Vases are the pottery style associated with these geometric motifs and they were primarily used for funerary purposes. Here’s more information about this period of art in Ancient Greece:

Timeline of Geometric Art

The Geometric Period of art in Ancient Greece covers roughly the years of 900 to 700 B.C. and overlaps with the later years of the era known as the Greek Dark Ages. The Geometric Period was directly proceeded by what scholars have dubbed as the Protogeometric Period. Taking place from a beginning around 1050 B.C. and carrying on until around 900 B.C., it is an artistic period during the Greek Dark Ages that shows a steady movement toward the later Geometric Period.

The Geometric Period itself is generally divided into three sub-periods. These are the early period running from roughly 900 to 850 B.C., the middle running from roughly 850 to 760 B.C., and the late period which finished out the timeline for the art style.

Applications of the Geometric Style

Funerary vases were where the geometric decoration technique of the Geometric Period was primarily applied. Proper burial was of tremendous importance to the ancient Greeks and these funerary vases were considered an important part of this.

The vases were decorated with funerary scenes and were utilized as grave markers. They often were used to hold the ashes of the deceased. The geometric decorations of the Geometric Period also appear on symposium vases that were used to hold liquids such as wine. These vases would be decorated with scenes such as that of the god Dionysus.

Geometric Art in Athens

Though the Golden Age of Athens is one of the most recognized periods for Greek exceptionalism in art, the city was also a center of significance during the Geometric Period. Athens is notable as a site of significance concerning the production of pottery in the Geometric Style. Funerary markers are also a notable feature in Athens during the period and many vessels that survive bear the recognizable touch of a master artist who has been dubbed the Dipylon Master.

The Geometric Period of art in Ancient Greece was an emergent time as the region was just coming out of a dark age. Some of the most iconic examples of Greek pottery are dated to the period that coincided with a reawakening of culture and learning in Greece.


Wikipedia – Geometric Art

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