Friday, April 16, 2021

Daedalic Style of the 7th century BCE

In the early 600s BCE, new artistic ideas flowed into Greece as a result of increased contacts with the Near East. Because of Crete’s central location along maritime trade routes between these regions, artists on the island played a leading role in synthesizing native and Near Eastern elements.

An artist from Crete that became known as Daidalos (Daedalus) , produced a series of female figurines that combined both Greek and Near Eastern features including triangular faces and stylized wig-like hair forming two upward-facing triangles on either side of the face.  The top of the head is flattened to maintain triangularity, giving a “brainless look”, according to some scholars, and producing a low forehead with a straight hairline. The eyes are usually large and set rather high.The woman is portrayed in a frontal orientation and the female's clothing was often depicted as formless drapery or as a simple style, sometimes decorated with geometric patterns, tied with a wide belt at the waist.  A few male figures were also produced, nude except for a belt.  In addition to figurines, these sculptures appeared on clay plaques and in relief decorations on vases. The style had a marked influence on artistic productions in the Peloponnese, Dorian Crete, and Rhodes.

An artist named Daidalos is actually mentioned in Homer's Iliad (18.590.92), as the builder of a dancing floor on Crete.  Later authors state he was the grandson of the early Athenian king, Erechtheus.

Daidalos was also credited with the invention of agalmata, votive statues of the gods which had open eyes and moveable limbs.  These statues were so lifelike that Plato remarked upon their amazing and disconcerting mobility.

A figure of a woman with her arms folded across her belly forms the body of this aryballos, a container for holding scented oil. The modeled human head forms the vessel's spout and neck. A hole at the back of the head would have been used for suspension. The artist used black paint to further elaborate the figure, and traces of the original pigment remain on the eyes and hair, and in three bands on the body, Greek (Cretan), 675-650 BCE, terracotta, at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Yet another Middle Daedalic piece is this Protocorinthian aryballos (oil flask) from Thebes. The head was made with a mold. The decoration was by a known artist, the Boston Painter, and can be dated with some confidence to around 650 BCE. Datable vases such as this one are important, for they give us a means of dating other Daedalic pieces. Courtesy of art historian Emily Claire Kibbe

Representing the Late Daedalic (c. 630-600 BCE) is this torso of a seated woman from Eleutherna on Crete. The medium is limestone. The oval face points to a late date, c. 600. The coiffure is crimped tresses (Perlenlocken). Courtesy of art historian Emily Claire Kibbe

Representing the Early Daedalic (675-c. 655 BCE) is this ivory sphinx from the sanctuary of Hera Limenia in Perachora. In this phase the faces tend to be long triangles, with the chin rounded off. Courtesy of art historian Emily Claire Kibbe

Also representing the Middle Daedalic is this torso from a female figurine, mold-made out of terracotta, from Crete, one of a series produced there from c. 680-625 BCE. The detailed coiffure (Etagenperücke) and anatomy indicate a date toward the end of the series, c. 650-625 BCE. Courtesy of art historian Emily Claire Kibbe

A rare male example of the new style, a bronze statuette from Olympia dating to c. 700-675 BCE a warrior, naked but for his belt and crested helmet, stands with his right arm raised to hold a spear (missing). His hair is an early rendition of the Etagenperücke. Courtesy of art historian Emily Claire Kibbe

For more about Daedalic art:

If you enjoyed this post, never miss out on future posts by following me by email!

No comments: