The artworks of a given era reflect the formalist, social, and economic realities of the period, exemplifying the prevailing artistic styles and the social and economic structures which influence the arts. Artworks from three periods of Greek art--the Geometric period, the Early Classical period, and the Hellenistic period--show these different concerns and how Greek art developed. Overall, though, art in Greece developed around the central idea of changeless absolutes and ideals, and artists sought to embody the ideal in their work.
The Geometric period was an era which produced a good deal of pottery and other geometrically regular works. The Geometric krater from the Dipylon cemetery from the eighth century B.C. (De La Croix, Tansey, and Kirkpatrick 130) exemplifies the style of the period. The Geometric period is the name given to the era between the end of the Mycenaean age and the beginning of the Classic age. Greek society was marked then by tribal hereditary power and a growing land-owning aristocracy. The worship of particular gods in certain sacred places united Greeks of different tribes and cities through common sacrifices and common competitive games. The Geometric style reached its apex about the time of this krater, and the largest and most characteristic vases came from the area of the Dipylon Gate. These kraters served as sacrificial vessels and as tomb-monuments (Kjellberg and Saflund 53-55).
These vases are marked by their decorative patterns of squares, rhomboids, triangles, and zigzags. On later Geometric vases, such as the one under discussion, representations of figures also appear, in a two-dimensional, analytical style. The aspect of the Greek character seen in these works is an analytical clarity and order and a desire for rhythmic regularity ((Kjellberg and Saflund 56).
The Geometric Style is considered the oldest characteristically Greek style in the fine arts. Early Greek sculpture e...