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                                      THE ART OF THE GEOMETRIC PERIOD 
geometric amphora Conventional name for the period of the ancient Greek art which is set approximately between 1,050 and 700 BC, and took it's name from the geometric decoration of the ceramic vases, which are the main surviving works of the art of this era.
However, the geometric shapes did not appear for the first time in art in this period. Lines, circles, spirals, rhombi, triangles and squares used in previous cultures, such as the pottery of Mesopotamia during the 5th and 4th millennium BC where even naturalistic subjects, landscapes and animals, attributed with geometric schematization.
Similar figures were adopted in other areas of West Asia and Asia Minor (Cappadocia ceramics). Also in central Europe and
Greece neolithic pottery products where decorated with geometrical shapes (ceramics of Sesklo and Dimini from Thessaly), and in many vessels of the Minoan and Mycenaean civilization.


But 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 painting surface.

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.




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