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by Archaeology Newsroom

Minoans and Mycenaeans in the Twentieth Century

The discovery of the Aegean civilizations of the Bronze Age caused an exchange between the Creto-Mycenaean art and the twentieth-century artistic production. This was a two-way exchange: for example, the European artists were inspired by the forms and the repertoire of the pre¬historic creators, while so much in architecture and furniture as much in theatre the modern construction techniques (reinforced concrete, bricks etc.) contributed to the reconstruction and “revival” of many ancient monu¬ments and works of art, as for instance the palace of Knossos, not to mention the esthetic issues concerning Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts that elevated the Minoan masters as contemporaries of Morris and Guimard. This two-way effect becomes obvious in a plethora of examples, especially in France, where between 1905 and 1930 a real “Cretomania” is manifested: in literature, theatre and cinema as well as in the decorative motives embellishing the Art Nouveau ceramics the reference to the Minoans and Mycenaeans is easily recognizable. The fake industry also indicates the passion for the art then called pre-Hellenic and therefore non classic: an art very much suitable to a period which, while was rejecting academism, was getting more than enthusiastic with whatever was pioneering and innovating. Thus, it will not be a paradox if we say that the Creto-Mycenaean art is related with the art of the early twentieth century.