Santorini Map Detailed

PAINTING

The art that was most highly developed at prehistoric Akrotiri was painting.

This is immediately evident in the many marvellous frescos that have been discovered so far.

These frescos are not only genuine masterpieces in themselves: they also constitute invaluable sources for scholars seeking information on how people lived in that period.

The frescos of Thera are reminiscent of those at Cnossus in terms both of the techniques used and of the subject-matter.

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However, they have an artistic identity of their own. The technique is truly that of the genuine buon fresco, but the artist from Thera started to paint when the surface was still clamp. As it dried, he continued working and by the time he finished, the surfaceuas completely dry (fresco secco). The mineral

I Mints he used included the colours ochre, azure, white, black, yellow and red.

The size of the surfaces covered by wall paintings varied, from small bands to large expanses of wall or the pilasters of doors and windows. The ubjccts portrayed, many of which are of a religious character, also displayed great variety: land- scapes and scenes inspired by nature, scenes with people, compositions depicting some real event, such as the miniature showing the fleet, and, finally, purely decorative motifs, such as rosettes and rhomboid shapes.

A characteristic feature of the Thera wall-paint-mgs, apart from their vivid naturalism, is the freedom with which the subjects have been conceived .ind with which the artist expresses himself. The works show such fidelity and freedom of movement that they come very close to being real por-i raits. This leads one to the conclusion that the painter was not creating solely from his own imagination but that the subjects he was reproducing were familiar to him.

Today, thousands of years later, the beauty of the Akrotiri frescos continues to move us and has none of its power. They are on show in the Archaeological Museum in Athens and in the new Archaeological Museum at Fira. The most important of the frescos are as follows:

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