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Geometric Style

Page history last edited by ellary dahlke 12 years, 10 months ago




By: Ellary Dahlke and Arri Morris




Geometric Style:


     Geometric Style was characterized by the use of basic geometric shapes. These shapes included triangles, squares, rectangles, and other abstract shapes. These components were brought together in the form of asymmetrical and symmetrical patterns (Stokstad 96). Many of the patterns found on geometrically stylized art include linear and angular features. Angular or linear décor could be in the form of “zig zags”, cross- hatching, and clearly defined zones or bands. Geometric art can be found in many motives that use or define these attributes. Commonly, geometric shapes were used as substitutes for certain objects. For example, a head may be represented in the shape of a triangle. This causes the art to be highly stylized and non-realistic (Beccati 14). In the paragraphs below we will describe the different phases of the Geometric Period and inform you of the gradual expansion of Geometric Style in the Greek's culture.





     Geometric Style was a stylization in Greek Art that lasted from 1100 BCE to 700 BCE. There were three phrases of the Geometric Style. The early stage lasted from 900 BCE to 850 BCE, the middle stage lasted from 850 BCE to 750 BCE, and the late stage that lasted from 750 to 700 BCE. As time passed by, this style gradually became more elaborate and ambitious. Geometric Style would become the basis for the evolution of a new style called the Corinthian Style (Encyclopedia Online School Edition).




Early Stage: 


This vase is from the early or Proto-Geometric stage. This particular vase was from Athens in the c.10th century BCE; currently it is in the Kerameikos Museum, Athens (Beccati 13). The artists of this time were beginning to use their artistic talents and mathematical knowledge to "speak another language" in the world of art. However the new language in the early stage would be considered one with a "highly limited vocabulary". Wavy lines, solid bands, arcs, circles and triangles composed the bulk of what was placed on this radically different art style(Pomeroy 74). The artists of the this period had to overcome several old traditions and boundaries to begin a new movement of art. This movement would change the way Greece was viewed. Greek art had many significant qualities that not many other cultures used as a benefactor to their own artistic creations. For instance, usually the bottom of any piece of art that was left unpainted would be covered in a solid black glaze (a form of art filler inherited from the bronze age artists) or it would be left blank (Encyclopedia Online School Edition). 




 [A Protogeometric amphora Materials not given c.900BCE (Kerameikos Museum,Athens) found photo using Brittanica Online School Edition Photo Credit:http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/53/25553-004-5339FD5C.jpg]



Middle Stage:



This vase is an exemplary illustration of Greek artists evolving their work into a more intricate and ambitious portrayal of Geometric Style. The vase depicted is a very elaborate and defined stylization of the Geometric Period. This piece shows very clearly that the artists of the time were becoming far more "fluent" concerning their language. Their ability to understand the field of  symmetrical and mathematical expression is considered Geometric Style (Tansey 119).The artists put a tremendous amount of effort into discarding the plain and simple components in their masterpieces. These plain and simple components were the prominent features of the art in the Proto-Geometric Stage. One can clearly see the evolution of a "highly limited vocabulary" into a fluent artist of the Geometric Style. Also, one would learn how one would express his or her thoughts through the intricate and expressive language of geometry (Encyclopedia Online School Edition).



[Tripod amphora. Materials NA. From Athens. Middle Geometric period (850-800 BCE).


(National Archaeological Museum of Athens)






Late Stage to Proto-Corinthian Stage:


This piece is a perfect example of what the world of geometry created. This was a starting point for the new style that arose and became quite popular after the end of the Geometric Period. On this vase, the artists are trying to tell a story with this aryballos. It would appear to be a battle in which (guessing from the lion which symbolizes glory and therefore victory) the one who made this aryballos had a favorable outcome. You can clearly see an evolution of the artist's creativity in this piece. While geometry is literally and figuratively the base, the artists did not limit themselves to just creating simple shapes in symmetrical patterns. This new art style that arose from geometry is really just an expansion of the Greek's artistic "vocabulary".  The comparison of this vase to the first vase (of the early stage) is quite monumental. The early stage was composed of many basic shapes put together to make simple and expressive designs. The late stage was composed of intricate shapes. These shapes created a piece of art that was overall more expressive and aesthetic. Another prominent feature of the late stage is that the artists are now observing the components of the animal world. They are using nature's own glory as a second starting point. The fusion of a symmetrical geometric world with the world of nature can make for a very interesting design (Encyclopedia Britannica Online School Edition).


[Proto-Corinthian aryballos with mouth in the form of a lion's head, c. 650 BCE; in the British Museum. Photo Credit: http://school.eb.com/all/eb/art-4297?articleTypeId=1]


     Geometric Style is a way to express one's thoughts and understanding in a very symmetrical and mathematical manner. After studying this topic, we feel as if we have taught ourselves the very basics of the Geometric Art's influence on our daily lives. We have established a starting point for all of the modern and classical art we have ever seen. Thus, we begin to break down any motive and notice all the traces of Geometric Style. In almost anything we see today, Geometric Style can be found. Geometric Style is an original and captivating way for one to express themself. Geometric Style is a magnigificent concept that will be a part of our daily lifes forever.  






Becatti, Giovanni. The Art of Ancient Greece and Rome . New York : Harry N. Abrams Inc. , n.d.

Encylopedia Online School Edition. “Aryballos: Proto-Corinthian.” Encyclopaedia Britannica Online School Edition. 2008. Encyclopaedia Britannica. 8 Dec. 2008 <http://school.eb.com/‌all/‌eb/‌art-4297?articleTypeId=1>.

- - -. “Geometric Style .” Encyclopaedia Britannica Online School Edition. 2008. Encyclopaedia Britannica. 8 Dec. 2008 <http://school.eb.com/‌all/‌eb/‌article-9036472?query=Geometric%20style&ct=>.

- - -. “Proto-Geometric Style .” Encyclopaedia Britannica Online School Edition. 2008. Encyclopaedia Britannica. 4 Dec. 2008 <http://school.eb.com/>.

Pomeroy, Sarah B., et al. Ancient Greece: A Political, Social, and Cultural History . New York : Oxford University Press , 1999.

Stokstad, Marilyn. Art: A Brief History . Upper Saddle River, New Jersey : Pearson Education  , 2007.

Tansey, Richard G., and Fred S. Kleiner. Gardner’s Art Through the Ages . Fort Worth : Harcourt Brace College Publishers , 1996.



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