Minoan Art and Architecture
The Minoans thrived on the Greek isle of Crete from 2000 to 1100 BC. The remains of their palace and the joyful frescoes that once decorated it are a testament to the sophistication of that early culture.
Complete Video Script
 The first glimmers of a truly European civilization emerged here, on the sunny islands of the Mediterranean, over 4,000 years ago.
[61, Palace of Knossos, c. 2000–1350 BC, Crete, Greece] An impressive civilization on the isle of Crete was creating objects of stunning beauty. The Minoans, because they enjoyed the luxury of peace on their remote island, were free to build open, airy, and unfortified palaces.
[62, Bull-Leaping Fresco, c. 1450 BC, Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Crete] This colorful palace fresco exudes their joyful spirit. It shows young Minoans at play in their sport of bull-leaping. As the bull charges, the daring athlete would grab it by the horns, get flung head-over-heels, and hope to stick the landing — "ta-da!"
[63, National Museum of Archaeology, Athens] This was a "fresco," a technique used throughout art history. The plaster was painted while still wet. When it dried it locked in the colors — colors that still radiate after 4,000 years.
[64, National Museum of Archaeology, Athens] These joyous murals — so different from the warlike art of other early peoples — are a testament to the sophistication of the easy-goin' Minoan culture.