Greece neolithic pottery products
where decorated with geometrical shapes (ceramics of Sesklo and
Dimini from Thessaly), and in many vessels of the Minoan and
what distinguishes the Greek geometric art is not the finding of
new subjects but the method of their arrangement in the surface
of the vessel. While in the previous ages the geometric patterns
were instinctive linear symbols of a powerful and
incomprehensible nature in a continuous and uncontrolled flow,
geometric art controled them with harmony and created a rhythm
with them, where prevails orderliness and reasonable natural
balance, and not the power of random. This is the first known
outbreak of the great intellectual leap of Greece, from which
was born the subsequent Greek thought and art.
During this period alongside the clay vases
decorated with geometric motifs, superb bronze-works were produced as well. The
bronze figurines - male and female, of animals and birds -are initially clumsy
and spare in appearance. As time passed, however, the art was developed in such
way that the identity of the figures (warrior, charioteer, etc.) and different
styles and workshops (Corinthian. Argive, Laconian, Attic, etc ) can be
distinguished. Characteristic examples are the figurines of horses, single or in
compositions, which are frequently represented on open work or solid bases. Many
of the bases have patterns on the underside and were perhaps used as seals.
Pieces of jewellery especially pendants, fibulae (safety pins), pins, and
bracelets are found in various types.
Apart from the minor works, which are found as grave offerings and as exvotos
in sanctuaries, from the 9th century BC tripod cauldrons were also dedicated in
cult sites. The cauldrons, large bronze vessels, have round handles decorated
with figurines of nude male figures, warriors, charioteers and animals,
especially horses. They also have three high legs bearing geometric ornaments
(zigzag lines, circles linked by tangents, running spiral, etc).
Many theories have been expressed
about the origin of the Greek geometric art. A theory interprets
it as a development of the Mycenaean art, another accepts that
had a popular backround origin, while others argue that was
developed due to Doric effects, but still has not given a
satisfactory solution to the problem.
The geometric ceramics appeared with local variations in many
parts of eastern Greece from Thessaly to Laconia, in Cyclades,
Crete, Rhodes but the main development center was in Attica,
where found the most important samples, funeral gifts of tombs
and the huge funerary vases of the Dipylon cemetery in Athens.
The geometric decoration of the vases is almost always written,
with a glossy black or brown color on the yellowish surface of
the clay, and characterized by the geometric, usually straight
designs (crooked lines, triangles, squares, rhombi, crosses,
swastikas, maianders, concentric cycles or semicircles)
decorating the horizontal surrounding strips of the vase.
The plastic of Geometric period
is known from the small-scale statues. Certainly, larger sacred
statues of the gods existed inside the temples, but the wood
from which they were constructed prevented their maintenance, so
no one has been saved. Artifacts of the 8th century are five
ivory naked female figurines from a grave of Dipylon with their
hands joined to the buttocks and their legs together.
A similar to the ceramics geometrical attitude, characterizes
the sculpture of this period, with the strict division of the
parts of the body and the triangular performance of the chest,
at the most warrior figurines and animals, especially clay or
bronze horses, which had a movement illusion.
Other findings of geometric period are bronze tripods, bronze
engraved buckles, some hammered sheets- casings of small wooden
larnakes for storing the ashes of the dead, and a wonderful
bronze armor, unique of its kind, from the end of the 8th
century. which found in Argos and adorns the museum. With the
clarity of it's plastic form, this work gives a sign about the
sculpture of the Archaic ages.
The Greek geometric art, while in previous seasons had
identified as primitive and barbarically, is admired today for
the achievements in ceramic art, where emerged the concept of
the pure forms and the ways of the monumental composition, and
were given original solutions to the problem of placing
three-dimensional forms on the two-dimensional space of the
The monochrome performance of the subjects, the display of
bodies and objects, not from one certain angle, but from the
most visible and easily understood side, the presentation of an
art form from different sides simultaneously (torso in front
side, head and feet in profile), and the whole organization work
with more reasonable and spiritual criteria rather than
aesthetic, are principles that the art of the 20th century
discovered and assessed again, while in the same concepts have
based some of the modern art waves, particularly the Analytical
and Synthetic Cubism and the Geometric Abstract Art trends.