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It's all Greek to me

MAY 24, 2007
Michael Phelps, the unstoppable American swimmer and Olympic athlete
This little drawing popped out this morning and it reminded me how in debt I am to the masters who painted pottery in the Greek world so many ages ago. The draftsmanship and design of Greek vessels are self-assured and beautiful. The black-figure pieces show what an artist can do when he is working the negative space as well as the positive. The line quality of the red-figure designs is precise and fluid.
I love the figure as a shape. I like the relationship it sets up to other figures and objects in the picture's space. I like that the figures are silhouetted.
The subject matter of Greek pottery is generally theatrical. Many of the images illustrate episodes from Greek plays or Homeric epics. These stories were woven throughout all levels of Greek culture. The illustrations tell the stories that tell the people who they are and who they want to be. I think the best art aspires to hold a mirror to the culture as well as point a way into the land of desire.
Finally, I like the un-ashamed necessity of decoration as a vehicle to communicate important truths.
Topical: Recommended