greek vase painting Essay

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Greek Vase Painting

In modern society, Greek pottery is considered an art which is regarded as much for its aesthetic splendor as its historical significance. However, the role of pottery in ancient Greek culture was far more functional as its primary use was for the transportation and storage of such liquids as water and wine (Encyclopedia Britannica). Due to the durability of the fired clay material, Greek pottery is the only remaining art form that allows us to explore the evolution of this ancient culture. Through that examination, three distinct stylistic periods have been unveiled: Geometric, Orientalizing and Archaic. This analysis will detail these distinct periods as well as three design techniques prevalently used: black
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Processions of animals, both real and legendary (sphinxes, griffins, and sirens), would typically serve as the focal point in the main frieze of an Orientalizing piece (Chamoux, 21-24). While artists took inspiration from more natural resources such as lotus flowers, palmettes, and rosettes and incorporated them into surrounding images of their work to create a serene background.

(The British Museum, London)

In contrast to the previous vase from the Geometric period, this pitcher has much more curvilinear elements and more negative space, two elements prominent to the Orientalizing period.

The third and final period, the Archaic period (c. 600-480 BCE), exemplifies the contrast of the art of that time and the art of the following period (Classical). During the Archaic period, Athens became the center for pottery manufacturing and trade in Greece. Artists were now commissioned to produce fine pottery and vessels which lead to the now common practice of an artist signing their name on their works (Stokestad, 152 -172). Throughout the evolution of Greek pottery, the number of bands on the vases decreased until only one large central image was depicted; this is a key design element of the Archaic period.

(Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Red-figure pottery was invented in Athens in the latter part of this period in 530…