Geometric Art

Geometric Art

Geometric Art is a phase of Greek art, characterised largely by geometric motifs in vase painting, that flourished towards the end of the Greek Dark Ages, circa 900 BCE to 800 BCE. Its centre was in Athens, and it was diffused amongst the trading cities of the Aegean.

Geometric motives

Vases in the Geometric style are characterized by many horizontal bands about the circumference covering the entire vase. Between these lines the geometric artist used a number of other decorative motifs such as the zigzag, the triangle, the meander and the swastika. Besides abstract elements, painters of this era introduced stylized depictions of humans and animals which marks a significant departure from the earlier Protogeometric Art. Many of the surviving objects of this period are funerary objects, a particularly important class of which are the amphorae that acted as grave markers for aristocratic graves, principally the Dipylon Amphora by the Dipylon Master.

Linear designs were the principal motif used in this period. The meander pattern was often placed in bands and used to frame the now larger panels of decoration. The areas most used for decoration by potters on shapes such as the amphorae and lekythoi were the neck and belly, which not only offered the greatest liberty for decoration but also emphasised the taller dimensions of the vessels.

Human depictions

The first human figures appeared around 770 BCE on the handles of vases. The male was depicted with a triangular torso, an ovoid head with a blob for a nose and long cylindrical thighs and calves. Female figures were also abstract. Their long hair was depicted as a series of lines, as were their breasts, which appeared as strokes under the armpit.

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