Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Minoan Gestures


The Bronze Age civilisation that arose on the island of Crete and flourished from approximately the twenty-seventh century B.C.E to the fifteenth century B.C.E., also referred to as the Minoan Civilisation, created artistic expressions whose characteristics were the love of life and nature, and an art strongly imbued with charm and elegance. There objects of art were miniatures and frescoes, worked with care and love. They had a special inclination towards the picturesque and to painting where motion is its ruling characteristic, the figures move with lovely grace, the decorative designs whirl and turn, and even architectural composition is allied to the incessant movement becoming multiform and complex. It is so naturalistic, although ruled by Minoan conventions. The secret life of nature is outspread in artisan’s creation, which blesses it with a special charm and grace. A hymn to Physis, for she is to be heard everywhere, a hymn of joy and life.

 These creations remain aloof to single human achievement, for Minoan art, the birth of the Dionysian, ignored the terrifying distance between us and the transcendent which may tempt us to seek refuge in abstraction and to create a form for the significant remote space and time. It equally ignores the futility of single human actions, bound by time and space. They did not give substance to the realm of the dead through the abstract of the world of the living, nor did they immortalise proud deeds or state a humble claim for divine attention in the temples of their gods. Here I see and acceptance of the grace of life, Zoê, in a world unknown to us now, for it means movement and the beauty of movement are woven in the intricate web of living forms of the scenes of nature. And the secret of this relationship with the divine in this sacred art lies purely in the gesture.

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