Local paths of artistic development in Greece

The art of Boeotia in the 6th century BC does not follow the general characteristics of contemporary Greek art; still, it exemplifies the many faces of Greek culture.

Female terracotta figurines (1–3) have a plank-like body: the face below the spiral-decorated headdress and the outstretched arms are schematic. Although the piece made in the second half of the century (4) has an elaborately modelled face, the abstract shape of the body is quite different from the approximately contemporary Athenian statuette (5). Boeotian figures are thus not local variants within the homogenous development of Greek art; they bear witness to a different mentality (1–7). This individuality does not imply mediocre quality. It is worth comparing the careful elaboration of the painted patterns of the necklace and the clothing with the shoddy, roughly painted pieces (8–10) produced in Athens – the leading vase-painting centre of the period.

Boeotian vase painting is also characterised by traits differing from mainstream Greek art, like the shape of the footed cup (11), and the technique of matte paint applied to the body. At the same time, Boeotia was not isolated from contemporary Greek artistic trends. Thanks to immigrant Athenian craftsmen, the black-figure technique, where the figures create a glossy black surface, also appeared: the shallow bowl (12), with a shape again of Athenian origin, is decorated with an animal frieze.