Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Discussion 5 Girl Gathering Saffron Crocus Flowers

This Cyclades wall painting was inspired by Egyptian art because it gives the appearance of the flat painting that is done in Egypt. The eye that is facing the viewers has an Egyptian style except that the makeup that goes out toward the end of the eyelash is not present and the eye brow has a thick appearance that is similar to what is shown in Egyptian art. The girl has less makeup then an Egyptian woman.  The face of the girl in the painting is full like the face of Egyptian women.

The design of the plant life is similar because of how the flowers thin leaves have waves in them that is similar to how a grove of papyrus plants are portrayed. The slender figure of the girl can be compared to the women in the Egyptian reliefs except that the arms on an Egyptian woman are slender and the arms on the girl in the picture are thick. This wall painting can be compared to that of a regular Egyptian relief because as was said previously the flat appearance. The grid style and geometric shapes are not used in this piece because the picture is not made up of distinct shapes.

The differences in this wall painting comparing it with the Egyptian art is that for one thing the outfit and hairstyle of the girl is different because the dress has different colors in it and looks like there is multiple layers that make up the skirt and there is no collar. The dress does not look like one that is wore by someone from the Mediterranean area. It has an Asian appearance because of the multi layers of material that make up the dress and the tie that is around the waist. The hair is pulled back and some kind of hat is worn that covers the head and a small strip of hair comes out the back that gives the appearance of a small ponytail. Egyptian women wear their hair down and there is a gold decoration that is worn in their hair and the jewelry is gold.The earring that the girl is wearing is bigger then those that are wore by the Egyptian women. The right ear on the girl is shown. In Egyptian artwork the ears on the women are hidden under the gold decorations that they wear on their heads. The bracelets that she wears has wavy curves and Egyptian ones show a straight band that goes around their wrists. In addition to that they are made out of different materials. One is a band that appears to be made out of leather and the Cyclades girl has bracelets made out of beads. Her right foot is shown is stepping up and it could be on a rock and the left foot is down lower. It is hard for the viewer to see her feet because there is a camouflage thing going because her skin and the background are the same color. One other thing to note is that it looks like her dress is open on top but her breasts are not showing.

Egyptian woman wear white dresses with gold collars and in the pictures you can see their feet. Their chests are small and their breasts are not shown. The skin color of the Egyptians is brown and the color of the girl in the Cyclades wall painting is albino white. The place where she is standing has little detail. This girl is shown in action because she is climbing up a hill and she is picking flowers.The view can assume that she is picking these crocus flowers on a hill because the ground has a slope that goes upward. The surrounds of the figures are more detailed in Egyptian art because the things like the plants and animals are drawn with detail. The surroundings in this wall painting are faded and have little detail which makes it hard for the viewer to make out the terrain.One more thing to note is that Egyptian women are in sitting or standing positions, immobile and look serious. The girl in the wall painting is mobile because she is climbing up a hill and picking flowers and she looks happy.

In contrast to Egyptian art, Cyclades are not as detailed and precise as Egyptians. In the wall painting for example because the feet of the girl are faded in with the background you might think that she was hovering in midair. You have to look close to get the details whereas with Egyptian art you are able to see the features of the figures because of the bright colors and the details. In Cyclades art pale colors are used more often then bright ones. This painting of a girl gathering saffron crocus flowers is interesting to look at and compare it with other artworks.


  1. You've brought up some interesting comparisons! I want to point out, though, that this fresco is actually a Minoan painting (not a Cycladic work of art). I can see why you might have thought this, though, since the painting appears at the beginning of the chapter. All of the features that you have described (the muted colors, the Egyptian influence, etc.) are part of Minoan art. In fact, even the tiered skirt appears on the Minoan "Snake Goddess."

    Although the Minoans were mostly based on Crete, their influence spread up to Akrotiri (on the isle of Thera), which is where this fresco was created.

    -Prof. Bowen

  2. Saffron has been used as a medicine, flavoring and as a dye for thousands of years. It is a cultivated species which doesn't produce fertile seeds though there is a closely related wild species in the Mediterranean region which does. The saffron type divides its corms(bulbs)every year to increase itself and is spread by people. Saffron is often worth more per ounce than gold (though not lately) and it takes about five pounds of flowers to produce an ounce of dried saffron. The only parts of the flower used are the stigmas which are the female parts of the plant which collect pollen (sterile in this plant). The flower is light blue-purple, has grass-like foliage and blooms out within a two-week period in the fall. I know that I'm writing more about botany than art so far but I noticed that the flowers aren't visible in the picture though the leaves and stigmas are. Maybe the blue-purple pigment faded or only the most important parts of the plant were shown.