Archeologists have categorized Ancient Greece into three distinct periods: the Prepalatial period (2600 to 1900 BC) Protopalatial Period (1900-1700 BC), and the Neopalatial Period (1450 to 1100 BC). For several centuries, the Minoan art and culture of Greece symbolized joy, art, logical order, and a deep respect for nature. The Minoan civilization arose from Crete from 2700 to 1450 BC.
Prepalatial Design Period
Most of the artifacts found during this period were prehistoric looking figurines called Cycladic statuettes. The statuettes were interpreted as female figures that symbolize the deceased, servants, and concubines. Some scholars interpret them as symbols of goddesses of fertility and rebirth, but their primary use was for shrines. Female fertility and divinities were also common theme throughout ancient Greece, as the figurines often depicted pregnant women.
Other scholars suggested that the statuettes had a more practical purpose, explaining that the figurines were used as toys for children.
Protopalatial Design Period
During the Protopalatial Period, the Minoan culture introduced a rudimentary form of a potter’s wheel that allowed artists to produce thin-walled vessels in symmetrical shapes and sizes. The surfaces were also decorated with scenes that celebrated the Minoans’ love for nature and life. The sweeping curves and bold lines across the surface of Minoan pottery also show the contrast between dark and light values.
Neopalatial Design Period
The Neopalatial Period characterized the height of Minoan art, and the scenes painted on the walls of Grecian palaces suggested that the Greeks were closely connected to nature, as many of the walls and pots during the time depicted the nature, including, plants, animals, birds, and marine life. The Greeks were also a seafaring civilization, and the artifacts from archeological digs show proof that the people of the time also had a passion for the sea. Some of the mural paintings (called frescoes) of the Neopalatial Period depicted images of flying fish.
Images of bulls accompanied by human figures also adorn the walls of temples and palaces throughout Crete. Historians and archaeologists also claim that the frescoes depict scenes where humans jump over the bull’s back. The bull imagery is prominent among the ancient Greek cultures, but so far, the experts can only speculate about their significance in the Minoan art world.
Several of the artifacts that have survived today offer and insight into the Minoan culture that lasted for several centuries in Greece. These discoveries seem to provide proof that the art of the Minoans exemplifies a happy society of happy people who were in touch with their environment, and very much of the natural world that surrounded them.
Some of the unearthed archaeological artifacts also indicate that the Minoans thrived with a high degree of self respect, coupled with a keen ability to adapt to their cultural environment.
In general, Minoan art is characterized by naturalness combined with formalism. As with most ancient art, the paintings lack perspective, giving them a flat effect. On the other hand, humans, beasts, plants are painted with great detail and formal patterns on murals and frescoes. The animals are shown in amazingly accurate and natural poses, swallows are shown in flight, and the antelopes show grace and movement across the terrain.In general, Minoan art is characterized by naturalness combined with formalism. As with most ancient art, the paintings lack perspective, giving them a flat effect. On the other hand, humans, beasts, plants are painted with great detail and formal patterns on murals and frescoes. The animals are shown in amazingly accurate and natural poses, swallows are shown in flight, and the antelopes show grace and movement across the terrain.