Cycladic figurines, woman embracing her legs 12cm
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Cycladic art encompasses the visual art of the ancient Cycladic civilization, which flourished in the islands of the Aegean Sea from 3300 - 2000 BCE.
The best-known art of this period are the marble figures usually called "idols" or "figurines", though neither name is exactly accurate: the former term suggests a religious function which is by no means agreed on by experts, and the latter doesn't properly apply to the largest figures, which are nearly life size. These marble figures are seen scattered around the Aegean, suggesting that these figures were popular amongst the people of Crete and mainland Greece. Perhaps the most famous of these figures are musicians: one a harp-player the other a pipe-player. Dating to approximately 2500 BCE, these musicians are sometimes considered “the earliest extant musicians from the Aegean.”
The majority of these figures, however, are highly stylized representations of the female human form, typically having a flat, geometric quality which gives them a striking resemblance to today's modern art. However, this may be a modern misconception as there is evidence that the idols were originally brightly painted. A majority of the figurines are female, depicted nude, and with arms folded across the stomach, typically with the right arm held below the left.
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