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Vase painting and frescos

Although the Greek civilization was at its height about 2500 years ago we know how they lived their lives because they made pots and vases from clay just as we do. They were decorated with patterns like the Greek key and pictures from daily life or stories.

Below is a large outline of a vase. Use this to create your own vase (click on the image to download a copy). You could choose a picture from the story of “Antigone” or another Greek myth. The Greeks did not use more than one colour on the vases and the background was either brick red (the colour of the clay) with black figures or black with red figures. Don’t forget to draw in boarders. You could use a traditional Greek key design said to represent the sea.

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The Greeks also decorated their buildings with statues of the people who were important to them. They might be famous playwrights, politicians, heroes from stories or Gods. The most famous of these is known as the Elgin marbles. They are figures that are part of a marble decoration of taken from the Parthenon (an ancient temple in Athens) in 1801 by the Earl of Elgin. They are now on display in the British Museum but many people believe they should be sent back to Greece where they belong. What do you think?

Make a class fresco. Ask the children to use themselves to make a statue of the person that they think is most important to us and deserves inclusion in the fresco. They must justify their choice and may have to argue for their inclusion. Assemble all the statues in a pleasing arrangement to make a statement about the people we admire and our values today.

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