Frescoes are the resource of some of the most striking imagery handed down to us from the Minoan civilization of Bronze Era Crete (2000-1500 BCE). Further, without written records, they are regularly the only source, along with decorated pottery, of simply just how the human being appeared to the Minoans and also offer us tantalizing glimpses of their ideas, social practices and also aesthetic tastes.


Techniques & Colours

Inherent problems through frescoes are their fragility, incompleteness and imaginative anonymity. In addition, in archaeological sites they are frequently discovered rerelocated from their original settings, making them very challenging to day. Perhaps, restoration contends times been over-imagiindigenous yet nevertheless, the overwhelming impression provided by this art form is the Minoan"s sheer joy in liquid, naturalistic and graceful forms stood for in an impressionistic manner. Tright here are additionally many type of surviving fresco pieces dating from the second phase palaces of 1550 to 1450 BCE, when the Mycenaeans began to take over the Minoan sites. However before, as these are stylistically incredibly equivalent to previously Minoan frescoes, they are disputed as one in the following remarks.

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As a method, true fresco painting (buon fresco) is the painting of colour pigments on wet lime plaster without a binding agent.

As a technique, true fresco paint (buon fresco) is the painting of colour pigments on wet lime plaster without a binding agent and once the paint is took in by the plaster it is resolved and also defended from fading. That the Minoans employed such a technique in their buildings is evidenced by string impressions in the plaster and also by the depth of the paint employed. Fresco secco, which is the application of paint, in particular for details, onto a dry plaster was likewise offered throughout the palaces as was the usage of low relief in the plaster to offer a shenable three dimensional effect. Colours employed were black (carbonaceous shale), red (haematite), white (hydrate of lime), yellow (ochre), blue (silicate of copper), and also green (blue and yellow mixed). There are no making it through examples of shading impacts in Minoan frescoes, although interestingly, periodically the colour of the background alters whilst the foreground topics remain unadjusted. Although the Egyptians did not usage true fresco, some of the colour conventions of their architectural paint were embraced by the Minoans. Male skin is normally red, female is white, and for metals: gold is yellow, silver is blue and bronze is red.


Fresco Subjects

The first examples of fresco in Crete are restricted to straightforward monochrome walls, a lot of regularly red yet sometimes likewise black. With improvements in the top quality of plaster and also pigments, the introduction of monumental Minoan design and also maybe with affect from Egypt and also the Near East, the method was employed to decoprice the wall surfaces (either in their totality, above home windows and also doors or below the dado), ceilings, wooden beams and periodically floors of the palace complexes, showing initially abstract forms and geometric deindicators and also then later on, all manner of subjects varying in size from miniature to bigger than life size.

As in earlier seal and ring engravings, well-known scenes for frescoes - and maybe indicative of the role of the palaces in Minoan culture - were of rituals, processions, festivals, ceremonies and bull sporting activities. Celebrated examples incorporate two seated priestesses on either side of a shrine, a grove of olive trees with dancers and also audience, two boxers, young guys in a procession delivering rhyloads, and also a scene of both male and female numbers in assorted stages of bull leaping - grasping the horns or somersaulting over the earlier of the animal. On occasion, fresco was also used to imitate architectural features, for example, veined alabaster slabs painted on the lower portions of walls.

Natural topics contained flowers such as lilies, irises, crocprovides, roses, and also likewise plants such as ivy and also reeds. Certainly, the Minoans were among the earliest societies to paint herbal landscapes without any people current in the scene; such was their admiration of nature.

Animals were likewise generally shown, many frequently in their natural habitat, for example, chimpanzees, birds, cats, goats, deer, sea urchins, dolphins and also fish. Although Minoan frescoes were often framed via decorative boundaries of geometric designs (spirals, diagonals, rosettes, and also "maze" patterns), the primary fresco itself, on occasion, went beyond standard boundaries such as corners and extended several wall surfaces, bordering the viewer.


Other objects which got the fresco treatment include the commemorated limestone sarcophagus from Hagia Triada, a rare instance of a fresco surviving finish. Within decorated frames, various sides of the coffin display two goddesses, each in a chariot, one attracted by goats and also the other by griffins, a scene of a bull sacrifice and also a funeral scene.


The Minoan style in frescoes was significant both via modern societies such as in the Cyclades (e.g. Akrotiri on Thera, Phylakopi on Melos and also Hagia Irini on Keos) and with later on societies, specifically the Mycenaean, albeit through slightly different subject matter such as shields and also other martial paraphernalia and also perhaps via a lesser prestige given to naturalism. Undoubtedly, as much afield as Tel el Dab"a in Egypt, frescoes have actually been discovered which are significant for their similarity in style to the Minoan.

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Editorial ReviewThis post has been reregarded for accuracy, relicapability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication.


Davaras, C. The Palace of Knossos. Hannibal, AthensHutchinchild, R.W. Prehistoric Crete. Penguin, London, 1968


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Mark is a history writer based in Italy. His special interests include ceramic, style, world mythology and also finding out the ideas that all human beings share in widespread. He holds an MA in Political Philosophy and also is the Publishing Director at WHE.