Outline the Main Characteristics of the Geometric Period in Art

The Geometric Menses in Greece, which lasted from approximately 900 to 700 B.C.East., is named after the geometric patterns and motifs that were prevalent on pottery at this time. Scholars subdivide the Geometric Period into 3 basic segments: Early Geometric (900-850 B.C.Eastward.), Middle Geometric (850-760 B.C.E.), and Late Geometric (760-700 B.C.Eastward.) (one). This chronological sequence is based on Cranium Geometric pottery, which seems to have set the footstep for Geometric pottery in the rest of the Greek world (2). It is important to note, however, that non-Cranium vases identified as Geometric do not necessarily fall inside these aforementioned chronological ranges and are more difficult to date based on way.

The predominant form of art during the Geometric Menstruum seems to accept been painted pottery (3) and the vast majority of Geometric vases are institute in cemeteries and other burial contexts in Greece. A well-known instance of 1 such burial, the Tomb of the Rich Athenian Lady, included a variety of Geometric pottery. Archaeologists must base their interpretations on the fabric remains from these burials, every bit few written documents survive from this period (4). Our knowledge of this period, then, is restricted primarily to burial customs (five).

Vases performed several dissimilar functions in Geometric funerary practices. Some monumental amphorae and kraters acted as grave markers, as was the case with the so-chosen Dipylon amphora, which stands approximately five feet (one.55 meters) tall. Other vases, usually amphorae, acted equally urns that held the ashes of cremated individuals, every bit was the case with the Tomb of the Rich Athenian Lady (above). A Boeotian amphora dated to c. 700 B.C.E. in the CU Art Museum’southward drove may exist one such vessel. Still other types of vases were placed in graves as offerings to the deceased (seven).

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Both the shapes of vases in this period and their decoration derive from an earlier period called the Protogeometric period, which lasted from approximately 1,050-900 B.C.E. The Protogeometric style is characterized by vase shapes like the amphora, the krater, the oinochoe, and a range of cup shapes (8). Protogeometric decoration includes concentric circles and semicircles, checkerboard patterns, zig-zags, wavy lines, and lozenges in the class of triangles or diamonds. Minimal figural ornamentation adorns Protogeometric pottery; when it does occur information technology is, with few exceptions, in the form of animal motifs rather than depictions of human figures.

Vases from the Geometric Flow tend to exist of the same shapes as those of the Protogeometric, though they are usually taller and slimmer in form (9). The decoration on Geometric vases, even so, suggests a substantial shift from the Protogeometric mode, especially during the Middle and Late Geometric periods. In those after stages of the Geometric Period at that place appears to accept been a growing interest in figural representation (10) and more multifariousness in non-figural motifs, such every bit meanders and new forms of lozenges (11). These motifs usually form bands, or registers, of decoration and by and large comprehend the vases from foot to rim.

One of the most significant changes in pottery decoration during this period is new interest in depicting the human form on vases, as on an Cranium Geometric amphora at the University of Pennsylvania (12). Human figures on Geometric Period vases are depicted in a very stylized — indeed, a geometric — grade. That is, they are conceptual rather than representational. In the earlier phases of the Geometric Period, man figures are shown every bit silhouettes and in a perspective that combines frontal and profile views, much like what we come across in Egyptian figural representation. Additionally, figural decoration on surviving Geometric Menstruum vases typically depict funerary scenes. Two well-known examples of this phenomenon are the Dipylon amphora, discussed above, which shows mourners surrounding a body lying in land in what is chosen the prothesis, and the Hirschfeld krater, as well called the Dipylon krater, which shows a funeral procession, or ekphora. Both of these vases were found in a cemetery about the and so-called Dipylon Gate in Athens. As the Geometric Period progressed, man figures were represented in more item and a greater sense of realism (13), although geometric elements remained prevalent in the portrayal of the human form.

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Some scholars take argued that Geometric pottery exhibits “archaic” (14) or under-developed creative characteristics or that Geometric art is “not very complicated” (fifteen). Information technology is important to note, nonetheless, that these types of value judgments can undermine the greater concepts suggested in the images and the extent to which pottery as an art form had progressed past this period.


  1. Dates from William R. Biers,The Archaeology of Greece(Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1996): 110; John Boardman,Early Greek Vase Painting (New York and London: Thames & Hudson, 1998): 23; and John G. Pedley, Greek Fine art and Archaeology (Upper Saddle River, NJ : Prentice Hall, 2002): 118-24.
  2. Boardman,Early Greek Vase Painting: 23.
  3. J.Northward. Coldstream,Greek Geometric Pottery: A Survey of Ten Local Styles and Their Chronology (London: Methuen, 1968): one.
  4. Coldstream,Greek Geometric Pottery: 332.
  5. J.Northward. Coldstream, “The Geometric style: birth of the flick,” in eds. Tom Rasmussen and Nigel Spivey,
    Looking at Greek Vases (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991): 37-56.
  6. Pedley, Greek Art and Archæology: 121; Biers,The Archaeology of Hellenic republic: 123; Boardman,Early Greek Vase Painting: 25-half-dozen.
  7. Emily Vermeule,Aspects of Decease in Early Greek Fine art and Poetry (Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 1979).
  8. Pedley, Greek Art and Archeology​: 118.
  9. Biers,The Archaeology of Hellenic republic​: 121.
  10. Boardman,Early Greek Vase Painting: 24.
  11. Pedley, Greek Art and Archaeology​: 118.
  12. Biers,The Archaeology of Greece​: 125.
  13. Biers,The Archaeology of Greece​: 125.
  14. Bernhard Schweitzer,Greek Geometric Art (New York: Phaidon, 1971): 16.
  15. Anna Roes,Greek Geometric Art: Its Symbolism and Its Origin (Haarlem, Netherlands: H.D. Tjeenk Willink & Zoon, 1933): nine.
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Outline the Main Characteristics of the Geometric Period in Art

Source: https://www.colorado.edu/classics/2018/06/14/geometric-period-pottery-and-its-decoration

Originally posted 2022-08-02 06:26:12.

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