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Formal Analysis: Terracotta Krater Essay

The terracotta krater originated in Greece between 750-700 BCE, known as the Geometric period. They were said to have been monumental grave markers. Most kraters were typically large, some over forty inches. They were made of ceramic and painted with linear designs, separated by registers. These vases were used to depict art in order to reveal a story. The artist wanted its viewers to capture the sense of realism in their design. The designs on the krater demonstrate what is known today as a funeral procession. In the first and widest register, figures surround the elevated body soon to be cremated. The figures closest to the deceased are presumed to be immediate family members and friends. Lined on each side of the body are the mourners.

Their bodies are drawn with their arms stretched and hands above their heads, as if they’re pulling out their hair, implicating their sorrow. The figures used in this krater are drawn in geometric shapes (hence the inspiration for the period). Using circles, triangles, and rectangles, the artist conveys their strong presence and nature. The illustration occupying this krater is clean and precise. The artist was extremely intricate with his drawing, presenting clear lines and shapes. The krater is fully drawn with images, leaving no space on the composition. Artists claimed to have fear of empty spaces, which stressed empathy for the living. The design focuses more on the emotions and happenings of the survivors, rather than what should be the main focus – the deceased. Bibliography

1. “Krater [Greek, Attic] (14.130.14) | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Web. 10 Oct. 2011. .

2. Stokstad, Marilyn, Michael Watt Cothren, and Frederick M. Asher. 2011. Art history. Boston: Prentice Hall.

3. “The Metropolitan Museum of Art – Terracotta Krater.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Web. 10 Oct. 2011. .

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