Ancient Greece Art – Cycladic Sculptures in the Greek Islands

October 12, 2023
Timeline of Ancient Greek Art & Architecture

Cycladic sculptures are thousands of years old and yet look eerily modern. A face with no facial features, except the nose, is not exactly how we think of ancient greek art. Cycladic art came to prominence during the twentieth century. Unfortunately  ศิลปะกรีก that started a period of looting, which destroyed the possibility of putting the sculptures in any kind of location or archeological context. To this day we know very little about Cycladic art. A measure of its growing importance is the existence of the Cycladic Museum located in the heart of Athens, Greece.

The Greek islands of the Cyclades are located to the south East of Greece and to the North of Crete in the Aegean Sea. There are more than two hundred islands approximating a circle around the most significant island Delos, the birthplace of Apollo, Greek God of music and light from Greek mythology and of Artemis, the huntress. The Greek name for the Cyclades is Kyklades, an obvious reference to a circle.

During the period between 3200 and 2000 B. C. the small Cycladic islands in the Aegean became home to a flourishing culture. The most prominent craft in Cycladic culture was stone-cutting, especially marble sculpture. The abundance of high quality white marble on the islands encouraged its use for the creation of a wide range of artifacts. Among these, Cycladic Figurines are the most distinctive Cycladic creation because of the style, the great numbers in which they are found, and the significance they held for their owners. The majority of Cycladic Figurines show women, nude with the arms folded over the belly and the long feet, soles sloping downwards. We do not know whether they were meant to show mortals or deities, but probably symbolized the worship of the ‘Mother Goddess’. In this case, the figurines may have been conceived as representations of the Goddess, or companions to her. Many figurines have been discovered in relation to burials as the Cycladic civilization flourished and burials became more elaborate to reflect status.

There have been recent discoveries (in the last five years) of piles of buried and broken statues and pottery, as if the breaking of the statues was a feature of some unknown ancient ceremony. This ritualistic behavior appears to be centered on the island of Keros in the Cyclades. Also, hidden deposits of broken pottery and figurines have been found on islands around Keros, many fragments brought there from other locations. Why would the Cycladians do that? To what end? The mystery surrounding Keros, the Cycladians and their art deepens as archeologists sift through clues of human history and behavior. To this day Keros and surrounding islands are home mainly to archeologists attempting to explain one of those mysteries of human behavior and human art that drive us with a ‘need to know’. Art, in all forms, leaves behind a legacy of a civilizations history, behavior, values and intrigue. Fortunately for us it also provides beauty that only human civilizations can produce.

Fortune in Roman mythology, the personification of chance or luck is the equivalent of the Greek goddess Tyche. Daughter of Oceanus, she differed from her sisters’ Fates who were goddesses engaged in spinning the thread of human life, in that she worked without rule, giving or taking away at her own pleasure and dispensing joy or sorrow indifferently. She might bring good or bad luck and she was often represented as veiled and blind, as in modern depictions of Justice, and came to represent life’s capriciousness. Greek artists generally depicted the goddess Fortune with a globe or a rudder, as emblems of her guiding power, or wheel or wings as a symbol of her mutability.

Famously renowned for favouring the brave and the fools, the Roman and Greek goddess of chance and luck always favoured those willing to take a chance and those who used the opportunities that were presented to their full advantage. The goddess Fortune rewarded those who embraced life and who did their best to flow and learn from the ebbs and currents that are a part of it.

ABOUT ITHACA ART: Ithaca Art is one the leading sources of museum-quality Greek and Roman reproductions. With a new UK website launched last month, Ithaca Arts’ artists are trained in art history and classic craftsmanship. Each piece of art is handmade using the same ancient techniques and materials as the originals. Museum gift shops throughout Europe fill their shelves with the quality works of Ithaca. You will also find the Ithaca brand in stores in Venice, Paris, Rome, London and now online atthe below link.

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