Minoan colonies? An archaeological & contextual analysis of Cycladic and Minoan fresco fragments
Nerling, Laura Ursprung
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Minoan frescoes stand out in the Bronze Age due to their depictions of nature and sea life. These frescoes when set against other paintings from different regions (i.e. the Near East and Egypt) during the Bronze Age stand out as distinct. Yet the frescoes from the Cycladic islands, despite the fact that they appear remarkably similar in production and design to the Cretan images, are set apart. Many scholars claim that the connection between the Cycladic islands and Crete is one of mere artistic influence and that the islands remained autonomous against Crete's administration. Cretan and Cycladic frescoes appear almost simultaneously within the Bronze Age, and without any apparent precursor. By providing an origin for both, it is possible to explain a connection between the Cycladic islands and Crete and solve the problem of Aegean (Cycladic and Cretan) fresco provenance. This common root explains the similarities that exist, both in terms of iconography and also technical production, between Cycladic and Cretan frescoes. Therefore, a contextual analysis of Cycladic and Cretan fresco fragments shows that similar styled frescoes were utilized within similar locales. These frescoes occupied rooms of special significance, dining rooms, administrative rooms, and wealthy residences. The idea that the Cyclades and Crete interacted only on minute influential levels, when the Bronze Age was characterized by war and land dominance, is less plausible when the archaeological contexts indicate a culture linked ideologically.