Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ancient Greece (pt. 11)

A typical Minoan home featured a lot of artistic and aesthetic elements.  One of the determining factors of a culture's degree of advancement is their art: how much art do they have, and what is the art like.  You'll remember back in the Stone Age the art was for survival (depictions of animals and hunting strategies) and it was small and portable, like the Venus of Wilendorf (since these were nomadic people).  From that scholars would argue (not reflecting any personal opinion here) that the prehistoric civilizations had a lesser degree of intelligence—or, at least, did not get the chance to become too educated due to imminent survival needs, etc.  Well, open the door to a two-story Minoan house that practically resembles a Renaissance villa, and you see this.
As you can see, these are not cave paintings; these are highly complex murals that took careful designing and paint mixing—the colors today still as bold as if they were applied just a couple years ago.  The Minoans had time to develop their art because they had such innovations and were not fighting every day for survival.  Since Ancient Egyptian art was primarily for religious purposes, for the pharaoh in the afterlife, it is possible that the Minoans (who came before the Amarna Period) were actually the first to craft art merely for recreation, for beauty, for art's sake.  Take a look at this wonderful jar fashioned and painted by Minoan artists.
Frescos like this one lead historians to believe the Minoan culture had their own sporting events before the Greeks introduced the Olympic Games.  It shows a game called bull-jumping, which sounds a little dangerous, if you ask me (heehee).

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