Masterpieces of Eastern Med Art: Lecture Brief

The Fertile Crescent and its immediate neighbors share something more profound than just geographical proximity. Countries like Turkey, Iraq, Egypt, Syria and Greece were all sites of magnificent Neolithic and Bronze Age cultures and civilizations that made the Eastern Mediterranean a vibrant mosaic of human creativity and a treasure-trove of stories about human genius. Art, true to its essence as the mirror of every age, gives us privileged insights into the human condition of the successive communities that inhabited this part of the world. During my lecture on the ‘Masterpieces of the Eastern Mediterranean Civilizations’, we came across Minoan fishermen, Cycladic musicians, Phoenician traders, Mycenaean warriors, Hittite metal smiths, to the end of the long and exotic list.

The masterpieces presented were:

The Totem Pole of Gobekli Tepe, Neolithic Art
Stag Rhyton, Hittite Art
The Frescoes of Akotiri, Minoan Art
The Harp Player, Cycladic Art
Sword with Lion Hunt Scene, Mycenaean Art
Amphora with Ajax and Achilles playing a board game, Archaic Period Art
Statue of Ebih-il, Tell Hariri Art
Coin with Hoplites and Hippocampus, Phoenician Art
The Narmer Palette, Egyptian Early Dynastic Art
The Tomb of Nebamun, Egyptian New Kingdom Art
The Standard of Ur, Sumerian Art

The colors of the Akotiri frescos are vivid and bright, and so are those of the Tomb of Nebamun. The attention to detail in the Ajax-and-Achilles Amphora and the Standard of Ur is fascinating, whereas the abstraction of the Cycladic Harp Player is breathtaking. The Phoenician coin with Hoplites and the Mycenaean Sword with Lion Hunt Scene are miracles of compression, and the Narmer Palette and the Stag Rhyton are both ripe with symbolism.

Once again, many thanks to all those that attended the lecture.

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