The Last Great Chalcolithic Civilisation of Europe

The Decorative Art

The domain where the Cucutenians gave the fullest measure of their genius was undoubtedly pottery decoration. A few fragments of painted walls seems to show that the obsession with decoration extend to buildings also. Unfortunately, pottery is the sole witness testifying to the rich decorative activity of the Cucuteni culture.

The decorative art of Cucuteni is dominated by the principle of simetry. It is evident that this principle is deliberately used, as it is part of any decorative composition. Symmetry is derived either from the repletion of one of more decorative motifs on the entire surface of the object, or of the segmentation of the decorated surface into two or for fields. This is done with parallel lines, strands of painted lines, or metopes. By repeating the same motifs, the decoration gains the rhythm and equilibrium, but it also becomes monotonous and boring. The use of lively colours may diminish, but never eliminate the unwanted effect. This is why some of the Cucuteni painters brought asymmetrical equilibrium in their compositions by intentional introduction of irregularities or asymmetric motifs. Thus, the whole composition becomes livelier. Tectonic decoration was the outcome of the same cause. It is clear that Cucuteni art did not evolve randomly. Hypotheses regarding the existence of "schools" where the technology and art of pottery decoration was developed seem very plausible and are really the only way in which such technical and artistic feats can be explained.

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