Systems of concentric circles or semicircles, groups of oblique, parallel lines,
hatched triangles and lozenges. rows of solid triangles, etc., are the main
motifs of the period. The horse also makes its first appearance as a pictorial
motif at this time.
EARLY GEOMETRIC PERIOD (900-850 BC)
In the Early Geometric period (900-850 BC) almost
the entire surface of the vase is covered by black glaze and the decorative
motifs are set in panels and zones on the neck,shoulder and belly. Curvilinear
motifs are no longer popular. Triangles and zigzags are the dominant ornaments
during this period, and the meander.
the predominant motif of the Geometric period make its appearance.
The height of the vessels has been increased,
while the decoration is limited around the neck until the middle of the body of
the vessel. The remaining surface is covered by a thin layer of clay, which
during the cooking takes a dark, shiny, metallic color.
As to the
previous period, there are
occasional representations of animals such as the horse,which is rendered
according to Geometric perceptions and in silhouette.
MIDDLE GEOMETRIC PERIOD (850-760 BC)
The Middle Geometric period (850-760 BC) is
characterised by the rapid development of trade and the revival of contacts both
with the East and between different Greek city-states. The characteristic
feature of the Attic vases of this period is the complete harmony between shape
The decorative zones appear multiplied by
creating a laced mesh, while the meander dominates and is placed in the most
important area, in the metope which is arranged between the handles.
The decoration tends to cover the entire surface of the vase in zones separated
from each other by vertical groups of fines, creating panels. Animals, such as
horses and water birds, are now painted more frequently. and the human figure
becomes an established motif. The first narrative scenes make their appearance
during the Middle Geometric II period (800-760 BC).
LATE GEOMETRIC PERIOD (760-700 BC)
The late phase of the Geometric style is
characterised mainly by monumental funerary vases. Huge imposing amphorae and
kraters stood as grave markers in the Dipylon Cemetery. Their robust tectonic
shape is emphasised by ornaments set in geometrically constructed zones. They
usually depict scenes of a body lying in state (prothesis) or being carried out
to the grave in a funeral procession (ekphora).
Vases are adorned by multifigural scenes of everyday life, such as naval and
land battles hunting, and dances at religious ceremonies, confined within zones
or panels. Geometric motifs are still found, of course, amongst them chequer-board
pattern, lozenges, complex meanders, leaves, and rosettes, arranged vertically
People and animals depicting geometrically in a
dark glossy color, while the remaining vessel is covered by strict zones of
meanders, crooked lines, circles, swastikas, in the same graphical concept.
Later, the main tragic theme of the wail declined, the compositions eased, the
geometric shapes have become more freely, and areas with animals, birds, scenes
of shipwrecks, hunting scenes, themes from mythology or the Homeric epics led
geometric pottery into more naturalistic expressions.
In the final years of the 8th c. BC can be observed a relaxation of the strict
discipline and symmetry characteristic of Geometric pottery, with respect to
both shapes and decoration.
Amphorae of smaller size, with vertical handles on the shoulders and decorated
with relief snakes, replace imposing monumental vases as grave markers. The
geometric patterns that had hitherto been predominant are now limited in numbers
and adorn only secondary zones, while pictorial scenes of chariot races,
battles, dances, cult scenes and mythological representations become prominent.
One of the characteristic examples of the Late
geometric style, is an oldest surviving signed work of a Greek potter
Aristonothos (or Aristonophos) (7th century BC). The vase was found at Cerveteri
in Italy and illustrates the blindness of Polyphemus by the Odysseus and his
companions. From the mid of 8th century BC, the closer contact between Greece
and the East enriched the ceramic art with new subjects such as lions, panthers,
imaginary beings, rosettes, palmettes, lotus flowers etc. - that led to oriental
rythm, in which the pottery style of Corinth distinguished.