Uploaded by greg333 on Jan 09, 2005
The pottery of the ancient Greeks are important for the styles of decoration and for the information it gives about Greek art (Sparkes 4). Because fired clay pottery is highly durable, few or no Greek art works that were made in wood, textile, or wall painting have survived (Sparkes 7). The painted decoration of pottery has become the main source of information about how the Greeks used pottery to solve many problems because in that time period other materials where either unknown or too expensive (Sparkes 13). The Greeks used pottery mainly to store, transport, and drink liquids such as wine and water. Smaller pots were used for containers that held perfumes and spices (Sparkes 16).
Greek pottery was first developed from a Mycenaean tradition, copying the pot styles and decoration (Walters 3). The earliest stylistic period is the Geometric (a pattern of regular lines and shapes), which lasted from about 1000 to 700 BC (Walters 13). In this period the surface of the pot was completely covered with an arrangement of fine patterns of circles and arcs which were the main style. This abstract style was later improved by meanders (winding pattern), checkers, triangles, herringbones (zigzag pattern), and swastikas. Most of the pottery had a geometric style that had the appearance of animal and human figures. Figures were always shown from the side, in outline (Walters 26). The pots that where made in this time period were the earliest in Greek art to show narrative scenes from popular myths, especially about Heracles (Walters 30).
Greatly expanded Greek trading activities, during the late 8th and early 7th centuries BC, led to a growth of influence on Eastern Greek pottery painters (Cook 2). This “oriental” phase is first seen in works made in the city of Corinth in about 700 BC. At this time Oriental images found their way onto all makes of Greek pots (Cook 6). Curvilinear patterns (curved lines) replaced the older rectilinear ones. New subjects appear, especially monsters such as the sphinx, siren, griffin, and gorgon, as well as exotic animals such as the lion (Cook 9). The Corinthian painters created a silhouette technique where figures painted in the black glaze were cut in the surface to show detail (Cook 11).
Athenian painters used black-figure pottery style around 630 BC using human figures instead of Oriental animal images for their themes (Sparkes 4). The high quality of their clay,...