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Cycladic head sculpture at Antiparos port

Cycladic head sculpture at Antiparos port

A new Cycladic head sculpture was put today by the Municipality of Antiparos at Antiparos port.

The statue is made of marble and is a copy of similar types of art that have been created when the Cycladic civilization was flourished around 4500 – 5000 years ago.

The sculpture, which  is around 2.50 meters high, depicts the form of art that was developed widely in the Early Bronze Age.

 

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General information about the ancient Cycladic art

The Cycladic islands of the Aegean were first inhabited by voyagers from Asia Minor around 3000 BCE and a certain prosperity was achieved thanks to the wealth of natural resources on the islands such as gold, silver, copper, obsidian and marble. This prosperity allowed for a flourishing of the arts and the uniqueness of Cycladic art is perhaps best illustrated by their clean-lined and minimalistic sculpture which is amongst the most distinctive art produced throughout the Bronze Age Aegean. These figurines were produced from 3000 BCE until around 2000 BCE when the islands became increasingly influenced by the Minoan civilization based on Crete.

Small statuettes were sculpted from local coarse-grained marble and although different forms were produced, all share the same characteristics of being highly stylized with only the most general and prominent body features represented. The earliest examples were produced in the Neolithic period and were made until around 2500 BCE. Looking like violins they are in fact representations of a naked squatting woman. A later form, and perhaps influenced by contact with Asia, was the standing figure, most commonly female. Once again, these elegant figures are highly stylized with few details added and they continued to be produced until around 2000 BCE. They are naked, with arms folded across the chest (always with the right arm under the left) and the oval-shaped head tilted back with the only sculpted feature being the nose. Breasts, pubic area, fingers and toes are the only other features evidenced by simple inscribed lines. Over time the figures evolve slightly with a deeper line incised to demarcate the legs, the top of the head becomes more curved, knees are less bent, shoulders more angular and the arms are less fully crossed. The figures are most often around 30cm in height but miniature examples survive, as do life-size versions. The feet of the figures always point downwards and therefore they cannot stand upright on their own, leading to suggestions that they were either laid down or carried. Despite these general similarities it is, however, important to note that no two figurines are exactly alike, even when evidence suggests they come from the same workshop.

 

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