(Dipylon Cemetery, Athens. c.750-700 BCE. Ceramic, height 42 5/8")
The Greek style of vase painting originated in the Geometric period. Originating in approximately 1050 BCE, this style greatly varied from the previous Minoan and Mycenaean approaches. Being in the Geometric period, these vases started using different shapes, such as spirals, and diamonds, which the previous are styles were not accustomed to. Last week I wrote on the Octopus Flask, which showed the techniques of the Minoan’s vase art. This marine style ceramic illustrated sea life of the time, with only animal shapes. It is a sharp contrast to the Greek’s Geometric period.
Looking at the funerary vase, there are many intricate geometric details that give layers and dimension to the ceramic. In addition to using geometric shapes for the first time in ceramics, it was also the first time that humans were put into a narrative (Stokstad, 112). Knowing this, one can assume that these vases, used as grave markers, must have depicted part of the soul’s life that grave it marked (generally the funerary act itself). The top scene depicted on the vase shows a body, lined on either side with figures. On the bottom portion of the vase, there are chariots and horses, which we most likely part of a procession for the dead. This incredibly detailed vase is an astonishing piece of art, which truly demonstrates the Greek artists’ work ethic of always striving for perfection.
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