Ancient Greek Pottery
Painted pottery, the pots and pans of the ancient world, tells the story of the rise of Greek civilization. Over time, that art evolved from the simple stick figures of the Geometric Period to the refined and realistic compositions of the Golden Age.
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[78, ancient Greek pottery, National Museum of Archaeology, Athens] And pottery — the pots and pans of the ancient world — also helped tell the story. Lots of pottery survived because this was terracotta — literally "fired clay" — extremely hard and durable. The finer pottery was decorated — often with a black glaze on a reddish, lighter background. The red was the color of the clay left exposed. Painted pottery was an art form, telling stories of ancient Greece. Painters showed slices of life from everyday chores and rituals, to scenes of heroic deeds, to the mythic world of the gods.
[79, Dipylon Amphora, c. 760–750 BC, National Museum of Archaeology, Athens] In the early Geometric period — named for its geometric patterns — bodies were little more than wasp-waisted stick figures. In this funeral procession, people showed their sadness by symbolically pulling out their hair. Over time the art evolved as bodies progressed from stiff and geometric to more relaxed and refined. Figures became more realistic and expressive, poses more active, and compositions more complex.