Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Bisanz, Rudolf M.||Arends, Jack||McKay, David L.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Art


Art; Cretan; Art; Egyptian; Bronze age--Mediterranean region; Art; Mycenaean


The purpose of this study is to demonstrate that religious ideas were primarily the motivating force behind much of the art produced in the Near East during the Bronze Age. For our study we have chosen three distinct cultural groups. These are the Minoans of Crete, the Mycenaeans of the Greek mainland and the north-western coast of Asia Minor, and the Egyptians of the north-eastern region of Africa. The reason for choosing these three cultures is two-fold. First, they were all involved to a great degree in artistic activity during the Bronze Age. Secondly, these three cultures had certain areas of intercourse which exposed each to the ideas and art of the other two. Complying with the title of this work it will be necessary for us to approach each of these cultures separately and to consider, respectively, their architecture, sculpture, painting, and minor arts (or crafts). Examples used in the first culture under examination, that of the Minoans, will include the palace complex at Knossos, the Snake Goddess, the Harvesters Vase, various bull's horns symbols, fresco paintings, and signet rings and seals. Throughout we will discuss the religion of the Minoans and how their art reflected it. The next culture to be examined will be that of the Myceneans. We will answer who they were, and by what other names they were known. We will point to such examples as the megaron at Mycenae, the tholos tombs such as the Treasury of Atreus, the famous Lion Gate, grave steles, the so-called Two Women and a Child statuette, and minor arts connected with burial practices. Lastly, we will look briefly at the Egyptian culture of the Bronze Age beginning with the Step Pyramid of Zoser. Covering a period from the III to the XIX Dynasties we will examine the Chefren pyramid, the Sphinx, the temple of Hatshepsut, and conclude with the treasures of the tomb of Tutankhamen. At the end of each chapter we will draw a conclusion which will demonstrate that the religions of these respective cultures were the chief justification for the execution of these and other art works. Finally we will point out how these three particular cultures, each contributing in their own way, established the foundations upon which the arts and religion of Greece were built.


Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustrations.


vi, 91 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type