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Cycladic Art

Page history last edited by Arri 12 years, 10 months ago

Patrick Davis, Connor Butler, Rachel Deleery



Geography of the Cyclades



[Aegean civilization." Online Map/Still. Encyclopædia Britannica Online School Edition. document.write(new Date().getDate()); 2  document.write(mm[new Date().getMonth()][0]); Dec.  document.write(new Date().getFullYear()); 2008]


The Cyclades derive their name from the Greek kyklos ("circle") because they roughly encircle the island of Delos, Apollo's birthplace. Among the islands most prominent in Cycladic culture were Keros, Melos, Naxos, Paros, and Syros. The rocky terrain, sparse vegetation, and arid conditions made farming difficult, though there were large amounts of arable land on Naxos and Paros. On the other hand, the Cyclades' mineral resources of copper, iron ore, marble, lead, obsidian, and silver were rich; Naxos and Paros, in particular, produced some of the world's highest quality marble. an archipelago of about 30 islands in the south Aegean Sea. Though Cycladic settlements were first attempted in the middle Neolithic period (the settlers probably migrated from Asia Minor as early as 5000 BC), the islands were not permanently inhabited until the beginning of the Bronze Age. The coastal locations of most Cycladic villages provided access to

communication, natural resources, and trade but also increased vulnerability to the seafaring invaders who were a persistent threat in the Aegean world. Settlements therefore sometimes stood on hilltops and were fortified with walls. Fishing, herding, and the cultivation of grain, grapes, and olives were important for the islanders' subsistence, but sea trade probably dominated Cycladic economy from the beginning. From their advantageous location between Asia Minor, Crete, and mainland Greece, the islands exported pottery, silver jewelry, and other goods; Cycladic artifacts have been found at various sites around the Aegean. The settlements and growth of the people of the islands revolved around trade and the sea because of the arid and rough landscape that was the common theme throughout of the islands.







Sculpture in the Round- Male Lyre Player


This sculpture is called the Male Lyre Player.  It is an ancient piece of sculpture from ancient Cycladic culture, dating back to about 2700 BC.  It was found on the island Keros, in the Cyclades. The Male Lyre Player is sculpted out of marble, using an impressionistic technique called sculpture in the round, where the carving style gives the impression of a male  sitting and playing the harp, using rounded out carving.  Though impressionistic, the sculpture is also realistic, or naturalistic.  First of all, his feet are carved to scale and have details, such as toes.  Another realistic characteric is his posture.  He is leaning back in his chair, and positioned a real human would be.  The use of negative spaces to give a naturalistic appearance, which is also a characteristic of realism.  The marble sculpture is very dynamic.  The fact that one foot is raised shows that he is tapping his foot, which gives the piece a sense of movement.

The Male Lyre Player is a very significant piece of art for various reasons. It is not only the earliest piece of sculpture found from the Cycladic Islands, but the earliest example of sculpure found from any Greek culture.  This is important because it tells us about the development of Greek art.  It also shows an early interest in realism because of the use of negative space to naturalistically portay the human body.  The Male Lyre Player truly was a revolutionary piece of art for its time.



[The Male Lyre Player, from




Plank Figures


This is a plank figure. The main feature that you notice is that the statue is flat so it is thought that they were either carried in processions or put into graves. One of the main materials that was used marble. These sculptures were either used as votive statues or as representations of a goddess. These were originaly painted so the statue would have the facial features. Some of these statues still have their original paint on them.



[Early Cycladic female folded-arm figurine, marble, h. 762 mm, from Amorgos; EC II (Oxford, Ashmolean Museum); photo © Allan T. Kohl/AICT ]






Works Cited

Adams, Laurie Schneider. Art Across Time. N.p.: n.p., 1999.

“Cyclatic Culture.” World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras. 2008. ABC-CLIO. 2 Dec. 2008 <http://www.ancienthistory.abc-clio.com/>.

Gardner’s. Art Through the Ages. N.p.: Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1996.

Stokstad, Marilyn. Art: A Brief History. New York: Pearson Prentice

Pomeroy, John. Lecture about Cycladic Art. St. Andrew's Episcopal School, Austin, TX. Nov. 2008






Comments (4)

Cris Salazar said

at 2:02 pm on Dec 5, 2008


Mason Neal said

at 8:54 am on Dec 9, 2008

for rachel!!!

Arri said

at 9:12 am on Dec 9, 2008

sorry i had to edit the page i changed a w to an e the misspelling "sculpturw" was driving me crazy.

Arri said

at 9:14 am on Dec 9, 2008

same thing with sttues

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