MUSEUM OF OLIVE OIL CULTURE  - 3        Italiano.gif (234 byte)

ARCHAEOLOGICAL FINDSDECORATIONS

Jean-Pierre and Fiorella Cottier collection

THE OLIVE TREE AS A DECORATIVE FEATURE

 The representation of the olive tree as a feature of the landscape in wider scenes or as an isolated element is quite common in Greek and Roman art both in pictorial works and in sculpture or in toreutics and in vase painting, where the olive tree is often the symbol of the landascape against which the scene is set.

More frequently the representation of the olive branch seems to acquire a purely decorative value, even if one cannot exclude the symbolic value of the landscape and the use of the container on which it is represented. This type of representation appears in the Attic art of the 5th century B.C. and later also in the pottery production made in Greek colonies and areas in close contact and trade relations with Greece, like for instance Etruria. A typical example is a kind of cup, the “glaukes” (from “glaux”, owl) decorated on both sides by an owl (Athena’s symbol) flanked by two olive branches, maybe a symbol of the introduction of the olive tree into Attica by Athena. 

 

(translated by David Sebastiani).

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Aggiornamento: 27 aprile 2017.