Mycenaean Art

Mycenaean art is similar to that of the Minoans and much of it has been found in the royal graves at Mycenae.

The Mask of Agamemnon

MaskOfAgamemnon.jpg
The Mask of Agamemnon. Athens National Archaeologocial Museum.

The Mask of Agamemnon is a gold funeral mask discovered at the site of Mycenae.

German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, who discovered the artifact in 1876, believed that the funeral mask of Mycenaean king Agamemnon, leader of the Achaeans in Homer’s epic of the Trojan War, the Iliad, but modern archaeological research suggests that the mask dates to c. 1600 BC, predating the period of the legendary Trojan War by about 400 years.

Pottery

Mycenaean pottery was quite similar to Minoan pottery but the decoration was not always as finely executed.

Stirrup jar with octopus, c. 1200-1100 BC. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Frescoes

Again, Mycenaean frescoes copied the style of the Minoans and decorated the palace walls at sites such as Mycenae, Pylos and Tiryns. However, only fragments have survived.

Sculpture

The Mycenaeans did not produce large sculptures but instead made clay figurines that have been found at sites across the Mycenaean world, dating to c. 1400-1200 BC, and remarkably similar in design. Highly stylized to the point of being almost unrecognisable as human forms, the figures are most commonly female and standing, probably representing a nature goddess.

Three female figures, c. 1400-1300 BC. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Metalwork

The Mycenaeans were very adapt at metalwork and used gold, glass, faience, precious and semi-precious stones and amber to produce necklaces, pendants, death masks, daggers, drinking cups and much more.

Bronze, silver and gold inlaid dagger, 1550-1500 BC. Athens National Archaeological Museum.

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