GUIDE 5 Unit 1 AEGEAN ARTo The Cycladeso Creteo MycenaeSee metaphor of Teacher as Ariadne (end) The palace at Knossos – one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. It was here that King Minos supposedly had his labyrinth. THE AEGEAN WORLD These three civilizations are unified under one name – Aegean civilizations. The Cyclades 2500 – 2000 B.C. Crete / Minoan culture 2000 – 1200 B.C. Mycenae 1400 – 1200 B.C. All we know about these civilizations – we know from archaeological excavations. None of the Aegean civilizations left any literary sources but only myths. Geography and development of civilizations Compare three great ancient cultures. (In one line) Egypt -* Mesopotamia -* Aegean -* When & how was the Aegean world discovered? – * What were the contributions of these outstanding men into the history of archaeology?Heinrich Schliemann -* Arthur Evans –* In your book you have this expression: “The Bronze Age civilizations of pre-Hellenic Greece…”What could it mean? Pre-Hellenic -* [explain the term]Bronze Age – * Please note that all three Aegean civilizations laid the foundation for Greece [Hellenic Greece]. All together they made the beginning of the Greek civilization. Unfortunately, in the book Aegean and Greek sections are placed in two different chapters, and I also had to “cut” Greece – between two units. Just for you to know – we are already in ancient Greece! ===================== The Cyclades===================== * [dates, peak of flourishing] [Pronunciation: SEE’-kla-DEEZ’]Where are the Cycladic islands located? [Find on the map, do not just rewrite from the text]In which sea – * Close to which coast? – * Name the major ones – * Where has most of survived art culled from * * [What is the general name for this type of marble figurines?] What do they represent? – * (based on your book suggestions)Head -* [Describe their appearance]Torso(body) – * The Cycladic Idol from the VMFA in Richmond. You may be able to see it when you go on your museum trip. As a matter of fact, some scholars disagree with the theory of “fertility goddess”. Can you see that in the Cycladic idol all sexual features are downplayed as opposed to the Palaeolithic Venuses (remember Venus of Willendorf?). The Cycladic figures look very ‘girlish’. Besides, all of them were found in the graves. All we can guess is that they, being linked with burial rituals, most likely had a religious function. Male figures of musicians are also mentioned in your textbook. Here is one of them… Seated harp player ca. 2800–2700 B.C. Marble; H. with harp 11 1/2 in. Image credit: Metropolitan museum ==============Crete / Minoan Civilization============== Dates: * [Take dates from above] On what island did the Minoan civilization emerge? – * Why the Cretan culture is called Minoan? – * This is where the word labyrinth came from as well (supposedly). Labyrinth –* [the modern-day meaning] I am going to tell you the myth of the Minotaur in more detail that it is told in your book. Not only because it is a fascinating story but also to show you how popular the myths were as a source of inspiration for many – from the ancient vase-painters to Picasso. Image credit: altreligion.about.com This is how it happened and why the Aegean sea received its name “Aegean”… The Minotaur was a monster, half bull, half human, the offspring of Minos’ wife and a wonderfully beautiful bull. Poseidon (God of Sea) had given this bull to Minos in order that he should sacrifice it to him, but Minos could not bear to slay it and had kept it for himself. To punish him, Poseidon had made Pasiphae fall madly in love with it. When the Minotaur was born Minos did not kill him. He ordered to build the Labyrinth, famous throughout the world. Once inside, one would go endlessly along its twisting paths without ever finding the exit. To this place the young Athenians were each year taken and left to the Minotaur. There was no possible way to escape. In whatever direction they ran they might be running straight to the monster; if they stood still he might at any moment emerge from the maze. Such was a doom that awaited fourteen Athenian youths and maidens. Pablo Picasso. Minotaur Caressing the Hand of a Sleeping Girl (1933). © 2007 Estate of Pablo Picasso At once Theseus came forward and offered to be one of the victims. He told his father that if he succeeded, he would change the black sail (that this ship carried because of its cargo of misery) to a white one, so that Aegeus could know long before the ship came to land that his son was safe.Park Sculpture; Image credit: altreligion.about.com When the young victims arrived in Crete …Minos daughter Ariadne was among the spectators and she fell in love with Theseus at first sight as he marched past her. She told Theseus that she would bring about his escape if he would promise to take her back to Athens and marry her. As may be imagined, he made no difficulty about that, and she gave him a ball of thread, which he was to fasten at the door. This he did and, certain that he could retrace his steps whenever he choose; he walked boldly into a maze looking for the Minotaur. He came upon him asleep and fell upon him, pinning him to the ground; and with his fists – he had no other weapon – he battered the monster to death… All stories agree that when they drew near to Athens he forgot to hoist the white sail (Ah children-children!…). The black sail was seen by his father, King Aegeus, from the Acropolis, where for days he had watched the sea with straining eyes. It was for him the sign of his son’s death and he threw himself down from a rocky height into the sea, and was killed. The sea into which he fell was called the Aegean ever after. (Short version from Edith Hamilton’s book “Timeless Tales on Gods and Heroes”) Gabriel Rossetti, 19th century. Image credit:altreligion.about.com So, you have just learned from this myth a few names and facts. I hope this will help you to remember them. Please sum up here “Who is who” King Minos -* Minotaur – * Labyrinth -* Aegeus -* Now let us get back to the book. There were3 periodsin the history ofMinoancivilization: 1. * 2. * 3. *We will be studying the last two – Middle Minoan & Late Minoan periods. The Middle Minoan Period or the period of the “… “ or * [second name for this period]What was the major art form in architecture? (… tomb, pyramid or shrine, palace) * What did you learn about development of a new form of writing? – * Which one was an early form of Greek? – * Toreador Frescofrom the palace at Knossos. Middle Minoan, c. 1500. Although the work is referred to as the Toreador Fresco, it is pretty much agreed that it is not at all a bullfight but something more along the lines of a bull dance. Unfortunately, the picture of this remarkable wall painting was taken out from the last edition. Yet, I want you to know this world famous work of art. “ … a trio of acrobats performs daring feats. Why are they doing it? Perhaps the dance is part of a ceremony of religious ritual, particularly because the bull was commonly worshiped in ancient Crete?………Are these the children who might have been “devoured” by the beast? Was the notorious labyrinth of Greek myths actually the palace of Knossos, with its maze like floor plan?” ~ “Understanding Art”, Rathus-Fichner, 7th edition, p. 279 Palace at Knossos – Give the most spectacular characteristics of the palace. One of theses features gave birth to the myth of Labyrinth. [Try to keep one characteristic – one line]* * * Date: *Columns –* [Anything unusual about their form?] Terms Magazine –* Rosette–* By the way, in Russia the stores and shops are called “magazines.” I guess, this term came to Russian language from Greek along with many other words. Here is one more room in the palace at Knossos. This particular fresco ismentioned in your book but there is no picture. I thought it would be nice if you could see how it looks. “… delicately painted dolphins swim across the surface of the wall, giving one impression of looking into a vast aquarium.” Many years ago, when I was travelling around the Mediterranean Sea, I visited the fish market abundant with of all kinds of sea creatures. But it was a lovely little octopus that attracted my attention. The octopus’ tentacles formed a design that looked strikingly familiar. Looking at it I thought: “Wait …It looks like a popular motif in Minoan art…” Please take a look at the mural above (wall painting).Do you see the design on the left side of the horizontal frieze?Don’t you think my theory is plausible? When the art historians talk about the marine life, being a source of artistic inspiration for the Minoans, they mean, in the first place, the numerous renditions of the fish, dolphins and other sea animals. Yet, it was exciting to discover on my own the probable origin of the abstract design. I was thinking about some anonymous artist living long-long time ago and how one day he noticed the gracious rhythm of the octopus’ tentacles, and how he must be excited to put it in paint as a decorative pattern. Or could it be just my imagination? In any case, the octopus did fascinate the imagination of ancient Minoans. Take a look at this vase… Palace-Style Pithos (Storage Jar) with Octopus Design Late Minoan Period II (ca. 1450 B.C.) From the Palace of Minos at Knossos, Crete Baked clay; H. 74.5 cm; 1911.608©The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology/Oxford, UK Well, I hope my story gave you an excuse to take a closer look at some decorative designs of Minoan art. =====================Mycenae==================== Dates:* [Indicate the peak of Mycenaean supremacy] Heinrich Schliemann, a German archaeologist, in the end of the 19th century made a sensational discovery of Troy and Mycenae. When did the Mycenaeans come to the Greek mainland? – * What language did they speak? – *What arts were they versatile in? – * How long was the peak of their supremacy last? – * [dates?]How did it end? – * In what way the Mycenaeans had been related to the beginning of the Greek people? – * Why is the Mycenaean architecture presented mostly by the fortifications? *E.g., the citadels in the major cities of *_ and *___ [Find them on map in your book] The citadels (fortresses) were strictly functional. Still they say about the Mycenaeans that “they had not lost their aesthetic sense.” Explain how you understand this statement.* *..… [name]Describe this construction* Use and explain the terms:lintel – * pillars – * beveled(stone) – * Tholos or * [write down the second name of this type of tomb].Shaft-grave – * [what could you tell about this type of tomb?] Which type came to be used first? – * *__ [name] * [Why such a name?] Dromos – * Tholos – * Pay attention at domed ceiling and how it was made [Describe]. * In the picture you see a different tholos. Yet the principle of construction is the same. Image credit: AICT What was the Homer’s favourite epithet for Mycenae? – “ * ”Why so? – * Funeral Golden Mask from the tomb at* *___ [date] What was a technique of producing such masks? – * What was the end of the Mycenaean civilization? – * What does the last phrase in your book state? – * Now, please check yourself whether you have put correctly the dates at the beginning of this guide. The Cyclades 2500 – 2000 B.C. Crete / Minoan culture 2000 – 1400 B.C. Mycenae 1400 – 1200 B.C. Take one more last look at the map. Find the sites of all three civilizations.
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