The art of the Minoan civilization of Bronze Age Crete (2000-1500 BCE) displays a love of animal, sea, and plant life, which was used to decorate frescoes and pottery and inspired forms in jewellery, stone vessels, and also sculpture.
Aside from its aesthetic qualities, Minoan art also gives valuable insight into the religious, communal, and funeral practices of one of the earliest cultures of the ancient Mediterranean.
Minoan art was not only functional and decorative but could also have a political purpose, especially the wall paintings of palaces where rulers were depicted in their religious function, which reinforced their role as the head of the community. Thus, costly art works then became a means to emphasise differences in social and political status for those fortunate enough to own them.
Minoan artists were themselves employed in Egypt and the Levant to beautify the palaces of rulers there. The Minoans also heavily influenced the art of the subsequent Mycenaean civilization based on mainland Greece. Mycenaean potters, jewellers, and fresco painters, in particular, copied Minoan techniques, forms, and designs, although they did make their marine life, for example, much more abstract, and their art, in general, included many more martial and hunting themes.