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The Geometric Period was an era in Ancient Greece from 1200-750 BCE used to describe the general qualities and attributes of the arts in that time, which was better known as the Homeric Age, which lasted from 1100-750 BCE.[1]

During the Homeric Age, the Greek civilization had gone into collapse due to the fall of the Mycenaeans. There was no form of writing during this time. The wealthy controlled most of the land, so the poor were forced to migrate away from the Greek mainland. Several people migrated to Ionia, a region on Asia Minor across the Aegean Sea. Eventually, the Phoenician Alphabet was developed, consisting of 24 characters. The stories about the Mycenaeans and Greeks during the Mycenaean Age from the oral tradition were solidified by documentation. A blind poet named Homer finally documented the stories of the Trojan War in epic poetry in his two works, the Iliad and the Odyssey.[2]

The art of the Homeric Age was mostly pottery, specifically kraters, which often depicted scenes of the funerals of warriors. The designs on the pottery were very basic, consiting of several geometric shapes that when combined, appeared to be certain objects or people. The figures were very angular and far-fetched from what the true human body appeared like.[3]


Geometric Art of the Metropolitan MuseumEdit

IMG 3625

Geometric Period Terracotta Larnax (Coffin), 1200-1100 BCE

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Geometric Period Terracotta Vase in the shape of a pomegranate, 800-750 BCE

The photograph directly on the right is of a "larnax," or coffin, from the Geometric Period. It was crafted from terracotta in the mid 12th century, BCE (1200-1100). The larnax reflects the ideals of Geometric Art because its designs are primitive and uncomplicated. The four ellipses in the center of the larnax as depicted in the image do not feature any complex patterns or designs around them, just outlines of the ellipse. The designs and actual artwork on Geometric art forms such as pottery was often simplistic, and sometimes dull, like the designs on the larnax.

The photograph directly to the right is of a small vase in the shape of a pomegranate, also from the Geometric Period. However, this vase was created towards the end of the Geometric Period, circa 800-750 BCE. It was crafted from terracotta. Both the designs on the pomegranate vase and the stand are geometrical figures and patterns that are very intricate, especially those on the pomegranate. The topmost pattern on the stand of the vase is entirely composed of repeating triangles. The pomegranate vase is definitely an art form from the Geometric Period due to its simple, angular patterns that consists mostly of Geometric shapes. Compared to the larnax, the pomegranate vase is much more complex and intricately desiged. The decoration on the larnax is much more spaced apart, while all the designs are packed together in the pomegranate, as if the designs completely cover it. The difference in decoration between the larnax and pomegranate is most likely because the larnax was crafted in the early Geometric Period (1200-1100 BCE) while the pomegranate was crafted towards the end (800-750 BCE).

Though both the larnax and pomegranate retain the general characteristics of Geometric Art, they differ from each other greatly. The difference between the two demonstrates how within the Geometric Period itself, the art style evolved and became more advanced and more.

CitationsEdit

  1. Gloria Fiero, The Humanistic Tradition(New York: McGraw Hill, 2011), 116.
  2. The Civilization of the Greeks, 59-60.
  3. Gloria Fiero, The Humanistic Tradition(New York: McGraw Hill, 2011), 116.

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