'I Can't Wait To Kiss You

'I can't wait to kiss you' is inspired by the unique frescoes 'Spring Flowers and Swallows' in the famous Greek island of Santorini.

Let me repeat it: the island of Santorini. Does the name sound familiar to you? If by chance you have not heard about it, I suppose you have stumbled upon at least one image from there. You know, one of those with white painted low-lying cubical houses and blue domed churches clustered at the top of the edge of caldera. Not to mention, of course, the photos with the breathtaking views towards the volcano or those with gorgeous sunsets at the background.

Beside its present distinctive beauty, this amazing Greek island impresses also with its magnificent ancient heritage - the frescoes in Ancient Akrotiri village.

Between 1627 and 1600 BC, a violent volcanic eruption interrupted the life on the island for a few centuries. It buried everything under a thick layer (up to 60 m/200 ft) of volcanic ash and pumice, and it was not until 1967 when excavations started, that an advanced prehistoric settlement, till then unknown, was discovered. Because it is close to the modern village of Akrotiri (at the southern part of the island), it was given the same name 'Ancient Akrotiri.

What strikes mostly are not only the two or three-storey buildings but also their paintings inside. The inner walls of almost all buildings were painted with vibrant frescos, which thankfully to that blanket of ash were exceptionally well preserved.

Not just one wall in a room was covered with fresco, but all four walls were decorated creating a panoramic scene.

The frescoes display a remarkable diversity of themes:

  1. the natural world - the sea and its inhabitants like fishes and dolphins, plants like papyrus, lilies and crocus, animals like bulls, goats, antelopes, monkeys, wild-cats, ducks, and birds like swallows
  2. geometrical motifs and abstract shapes, especially curves and spirals
  3. the main subject however remains the human presence - ordinary men and women in scenes of their everyday life - working, sporting, feasting, traveling and so on (note that political portraiture were totally absent).

The process of painting (wet fresco technique) and the depicted subjects (scenes from daily life rather than praising gods or rulers) resemble the frescoes in Minoan Knossos in Crete, thus the conclusion that probably Akrotiri was an advanced colony of the powerful Minoan civilization.

To figure the human body, the artists used the same style of 'twisted perspective', well-known in other ancient cultures like Mesopotamia or Egypt. Twisted perspective is when the feet, the legs and the head along with the eye are shown in profile, whilst the torso and the hands are shown frontally.

The palette of the painters included only the colours red, orange, black, blue, purple, and white. Because they were derived from minerals, these colours were quite strong, bright and expressive. Though having a limited palette, the skillful artists exploited it in a way conveying the impression that they had wider range of colours at their disposal.

Did you notice earlier when I said that almost all the buildings were painted? Yes, they were - all four walls of the rooms at the second floor in buildings of all types. This mere fact only suggests that frescoes were not restricted to the rich elite but were enjoyed by all classes of the society.

The scientists rely upon the frescoes to reveal further details about this advanced ancient culture thrived before 3.600 years in Santorini - clothes & hairstyles, jewelry, armour & weapons, urban architecture, landscapes, crafts, ships (building & size), habits, etc.

For all the rest of us, non-scientists, all the above are fine works of art. Now once found, they could again perform their main purpose - to please our eyes and to remind us to enjoy and celebrate the everyday life. And of course, to inspire our creativity.