2.01 indigenous Americas - san vitale and Chavin de Huantar
The construction of the Basilica San Vitale, located in Ravenna, Italy, started in approximately 526 CE and was finished by 547 CE. The Basilica is a key example of Byzantine art, not only for its architecture, but for the church’s decorated interior as well. The octangular San Vitale is a centrally planned church, meaning its focus lies in the center of the building, which contrasts greatly with the more traditional cross-shaped church design. However, the sacred theme of San Vitale is exemplified not in its architecture, but rather in the decoration that lies inside. The interior of the church is nearly covered in mosaics, which, among others, depict Emperor Justinian I and Empress Theodora. Although scenes from the Old and New Testaments are present as well, it is the previously mentioned mosaics that convey the Basilica's theme- the union of spiritual and political power. Justinian, who ordered the reconquering of Ravenna and the reestablishment of orthodox Christianity there, is portrayed in his mosaic as not only wearing purple, the color of royalty, but also as in the middle of a religious ritual-- he holds the bowl for the bread of the sacrament of the Eucharist. Theodora’s mosaic, which reflects Justinian's, shows the empress dressed in royal garb and as holding the chalice intended for the wine for the sacrament of the Eucharist. Churchgoers, the intended audience for the mosaics, would be reminded of the importance of rulers of the Byzantine Empire by the pieces of art. The mosaics depict the emperor and empress as a crucial part of the church ceremony, as well as important to the empire- further representing the union of spiritual and political power in the basilica. The temples at Chavin de Huantar in the Ancash Region of Peru once served as a highly significant pilgrimage site for the Chavin people. The temples’ location at the meeting point of two rivers not only attracted worshipers from far away, but also established the sense of harmony present at the site. The New Temple, completed around 500 BCE, was created as an addition to the Old Temple, completed around 900 BCE. The passageways and the use of light in both the Old and New Temples substantiate the theme of Unknowable Divinity. The galleries, a series of tunnels throughout the temple, are in complete darkness, and lead to Lanzon, a statue of the deity of the temple. The only way to navigate the galleries is in the dark, and as the pilgrims come face-to-face with the statue, illuminated by torchlight, they feel insignificant compared to Lanzon, whose power they cannot understand. Additionally, vents run throughout the temple. Anthropologists suggest that the original use of these vents was for a person of high spiritual power to take on the voice of the deity and speak into the vents, which would carry the voice throughout, adding to the incomprehensibility of the deity for the pilgrims inside. As a site of pilgrimage, Chavin de Huantar very likely left its worshipers with a new awareness to the mystery of the divine, established in its temples.
2.04 Native North America - The Olmec
The pictured artwork is a sculpture created by the Olmec people of Central America. Also created by the Olmec is a sculpture called the Olmec Style Mask, which is included in the Art History Framework. The Olmec Style Mask was made of a precious material, greenstone, circa 1200-400 BCE. Both works not only depict a human head, but also contain several similar features, like prominent lips and almond-shaped eyes. It is these features and the idea the the faces are realistic that lead one to the conclusion that the Olmec people portrayed their deities in a naturalistic way. Though both pieces are stylized, idealized human faces, nonetheless, they are recognizable as human. This suggests that the subject of each work is no ordinary person, but someone close to the gods, like a ruler, or perhaps even a god itself.
3.01 Short Response - Mosques
The piece of architecture that is depicted in the floor plan and in the photograph is of Islamic origin. It contains two key parts of a mosque, the Muslim place of worship, which are the courtyard (pictured in the photograph) and the prayer hall, located in the bottom and top sections of the floor plan respectively. The courtyard is bordered with arcades, as is traditionally included in Islamic works. Viewable in the top two corners and the bottom center of the floor plan, as well as on the sides and in the middle of the photograph, are three minarets- towers from which the Islamic call to prayer is sent out. Minarets are an important part of a mosque, and their presence in this piece of architecture signifies its Islamic nature. Additionally, the building is recognizable as Islamic because of its prayer hall. The prayer hall in this piece is lined with columns, as seen in the plan, which is an element very often found in traditional mosques. Present in the prayer hall is the most significant part of the building- the qibla wall, located in the top center of the plan, which points towards Mecca, the direction in which a Muslim prays, according to one of the five pillars of Islam, salat.
3.02 Calligraphy - Night attack on the sanjo palace
Night Attack on the Sanjo Palace was created by an unknown artist during the Kamakura period in Japan, around the years of 1250-1300 CE. The work is a type of handscroll (meaning ink and color on paper) called an emakimono, intended to be unrolled in segments from left to right, rather than the traditional style of being hung and unrolled top to bottom. Sandwiched between two contextual paragraphs, each scene of the work flows into the next chronologically. Hundreds of finely-detailed, tiny figures make their way across the scroll and engage in the artist’s representation of the siege of Sanjo Palace, a battle that was a part of the larger Heiji Insurrection in 1159-1160. The first figure is a single ox cart that is present in later parts of the work; the cart soon crescendos into a clutter of people and weapons approaching the palace in frenzy. The palace scene is brought to an end as a fire breaks out, and the people soon clutter their way out the other side, eventually decrescendoing back into a a single cart and ox. The siege on Sanjo palace was an attempt by a rivalling clan to capture the former emperor, Go-Shirakawa, and his son and then-current emperor, Nijo. At that time in Japan, an emperor could give up his throne but still retain significant political power, as Go-Shirakawa had done. It was for that reason that he, in addition to his son, was a target for the abduction. As the piece depicts such a battle, it is possible that a theme of the work is Conflict. The work was created almost a century after the siege took place, as an effort to document the battle, thus suggesting that another theme of the work is History. In fact, attention to detail in the piece is so great that it is used a historical reference for the period.
3.04 natural and spiritual - angkor wat and basin (bapistere de st. louis)
Angkor Wat and Basin both exemplify cultural interactions, although one is a piece of architecture, the other art. Angkor Wat, though originally a Hindu temple, became inhabited by Buddhist Monks when the kingdom’s capital was moved to Phnom Penh. Basin was found in France being used for baptisms in the royal family of France, and how it got there is unknown. Angkor Wat, located in Siem Reap, Cambodia, and made of stone and sandstone, is the largest religious monument in the world. It was constructed in the 1100s during the reign of King Suryavarman II as a temple to the Hindu god Vishnu. At that time, temples were seen as literal places for the gods to live, and they were representations of the mythical Mt. Meru, the home of the gods. Mt. Meru was said to be made up of five mountain ranges, and so the sanctuary of the temple is marked with five towers. Each succeeding Khmer ruler justified his power by building a temple larger and more impressive than the last ruler had, and Suryavarman II was no different. Angkor Wat, a total area of 500 acres, lies surrounded by an enormous moat; the towers inside are enclosed by a series of outer walls; and eight Hindu stories are told throughout the temple through intricately detailed bas-relief carvings. However, the building became a Buddhist monument in the late 1300s. Though the Monks who lived there cared for the building very well, its function changed; it was no longer a display of power to the gods, but a meditative location for reflection. Additionally, several statues of Buddha were placed in entryways, showing very clearly that the use of the architecture had been converted. Basin (Baptistere de St. Louis) was created circa 1320-1340 by a Mamluk artisan, Mohammed ibn al-Zain, from brass, gold, and silver. The vessel is decorated with elaborate figures and patterns from its bottom to its top; the only bare portion is the bottom few inches of the inside. The floor of the vessel is covered in an abstract pattern of sea animals, while bands along the inside of the vessel contain running animals, men on horseback engaged in battle, limbs and heads lying about, and two rulers sitting across from one another. The outside is decorated with four rulers in circles and men in procession engaged in different activities around them. Beneath the rulers, there are several Fleur-de-Lis; the speculation is that these were altered when the piece arrived in France. Traditionally, basins like this one would have been decorated with large bands of calligraphy, as the aesthetic elements of Arabic is valued in Islam. However, the only writing present on the piece is the artist’s name. Additionally, its traditional use is unknown, though it was certainly not used for baptisms. Speculations on the function of the piece have suggested it was used for banqueting or as a ceremonial hand washing basin. Both pieces, Angkor Wat and Basin, are prime examples of cultural interaction. Both of their function have been altered to serve one religious purpose to another- Angkor Wat went from being a Hindu temple for the gods to a Buddhist temple for monks, while Basin went from being a an Islamic ceremonial piece to being a Christian one. Additionally, as each piece converted, the piece itself was not majorly altered. Statues of Buddha were added to Angkor Wat, and Fleur-de-Lis, the symbol of the royal family in France, were added to Basin. However, there are many differences between the two pieces: Angkor Wat remained in the same location, and it was the culture around it that changed, while Basin was transported from the place of its origin, modern-day Egypt or Syria, to France. Because calligraphy is not present on Basin, it has been suggested that it was originally intended to be exported to a non-Islamic culture, while at the time of Angkor Wat’s creation, it was only ever supposed to be Hindu.
4.02 power and remembrance - mask (buk), book from the sky, and pure land
Mask (Buk) is a work created by the people of the Mabuiag island in the Torres Strait. Its date of creation, assumed to be sometime in the 19th century, and original function are both unknown; however, anthropologists suggest the work may have been used in ceremony. It is for this reason, and the composition of the work, that its possible themes include Belief and Tradition. The piece can be viewed in two parts. The lower of the parts is a styled human face surrounded by three decorative pieces on the sides and hair-like raffia on the back. The face of the work is made of shell and tortoise shell, the latter of which was very highly valued by people living the the Torres Strait. Above the face is a frigate bird, again made from tortoise shell. The significance of the bird is unknown, but speculation supports the theme Belief. It is possible that the face depicted in Mask is a hero, a figure of mythology, or an ancestor. The bird above him then would imply his connection to birds, whether it is supernatural or a totem representation. Many works similar to Mask but with minor variants were created, and it is for this reason that a possible theme would be Tradition. However, that is dependent on the time of the pieces’ creation. James Cook claimed the Torres Strait Islands for Britain in the late 1800s, and subsequently many islanders converted to Christianity and were forced to abandon their previous ways of life. For this reason, it is possible that although masks like this one had been created before European contact, some were created for export because of how the Europeans valued tortoise shell.
Book from the Sky is a 1991 installation by Chinese artist Xu Bing. The work is comprised of many, many sheets of paper, either hand-bound in books or hung from the ceiling or from the wall. Covering the pages are thousands of seemingly Chinese characters; however, the characters are actually meaningless ones that Bing created to look Chinese, though in reality they are not. The combination of the characters and how they are presented suggests two possible themes of Knowledge and Tradition. Knowledge, or lack thereof, is presented in the piece through the use of “false” characters. To a Western audience, the piece is already impossible to understand, as the writing is foreign. However, the theme is supported even more when the audience is Chinese. The characters are modular, just as actual ones are, and some even contain components found in real Chinese. Yet no matter how realistic the characters look, all audiences become illiterate while trying to read them. Bing carved the characters for use in a printing press- an example of the other theme, Tradition. The calligraphy used in the characters is rather classic as well, and the display of the piece is reminiscent of traditional landscapes, as the books lying open create waves and the scrolls hanging from the ceiling create a sort of sky. As a young person, Bing was commissioned during the Cultural Revolution in China to create propagandic banners and pieces of artwork, and he often mixed traditional and contemporary forms of calligraphy. The lack of Knowledge presented to the viewer in BookfromtheSky evokes the mindset of his time under Chairman Mao that he experienced as an artist.
PureLand, a color photograph on glass, was created by Japanese artist Mariko Mori in the year 1998 as a counterpart to her interactive video Nirvana. PureLand is a representation of the Dead Sea at sunrise, while its sky is composed of mostly soft oranges and pinks. Floating above a lotus blossom in the sea, Mori depicts herself as a combination of the Amida Buddha and the goddess Kisshoten, as shown through her gesture and clothing respectively. Around Mori, there are six animated aliens floating on bubbles and shown playing traditional Japanese instruments. In the top right of the work, there is an object resembling a spacecraft and thought to represent a Tibetan Stupa. The symbolism in the work, as found in the alien figures, the Dead Sea setting, the lotus, and Mori herself, all come together to support the theme of the work, Belief. In the piece, Mori’s depiction of herself is partly based upon the Amida Buddha, the main buddha of Pure Land Buddhism, which is from where the piece takes its name. The Amida Buddha is traditionally portrayed in the same position that Mori is shown in; their hands form the Vitarka mudra, and they are sitting above a lotus blossom, the symbol of purity. Additionally, the aliens around Mori are an interpretation of bodhisattvas- people who are able to reach nirvana but instead help others reach it first- who are usually depicted beside the Amida Buddha. Pure Land Buddhism however, is not the only religion depicted in the piece. The Dead Sea’s portrayal in the work is significant because of its value to the Shino, another major religion in Japan. Salt is a symbol of purity in Shinto, and the Dead Sea is called “dead” because of its high salt content, and shinto rituals include using salt to purify oneself.
All three works, Mask, Book from the Sky, and Pure Land, were created by individuals from the Eastern Hemisphere. None of the works come from the same country, however, and they all are made of completely different materials. Although two of the works, Book from the Sky and Pure Land are both contemporary, they still share qualities with Mask, whose date of creation is speculated to be in the 19th century. Pure Land and Mask are connected in the sense that both contain human figures and that their possible themes include Belief. Contrastingly, Book from the Sky and Mask both contain the possible theme of Tradition, and it is possible that an intended audience for both of the works was those of the Western Hemisphere, though for Mask it is impossible to be certain.
4.03 symbols of power - forbidden city
The Forbidden City was created during the Ming Dynasty in China. It follows the traditional Chinese principle of a rectangular layout, as observable in the plan. Also seen in the plan is the large moat that runs around the precinct, adding to the name “Forbidden City,” as only the elite could enter. The front of the City contains five doors, the central of which only the emperor could enter, exemplifying his authority in the palace. The yellow roofs also represented the emperor, as the color was traditionally symbolic of royalty. Additionally, public and domestic spaces are clearly divided from one another, as there are large halls in the Southern part of the precinct-- one of which is pictured in the photograph --and palaces in the North.
5.05 Memory - darkytown rebellion
Darkytown Rebellion, a 2001 work by artist Kara Walker, is created from cut paper and light projections. It is comprised of silhouettes of various figures, both slaves and slave owners, in different positions- some attacking each other, some missing limbs, et cetera. Each time the work is displayed, Walker arranges the figures differently. Similar to Trade by Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, DarkytownRebellion calls upon stereotypes thrust upon the African-American community, both historically and currently, just as Smith does with the Native American community. It, too, is a work of social commentary, and thus one of its potential themes is Society. Walker was inspired to create the work upon seeing an anonymous 19th century drawing called Darkytown. Walker removed the racist, caricatured figures from Darkytown, stylized them, turned them into silhouettes, and added them with other figures to create a so-call rebellion in Darkytown. She does not, however, attempt to correct the figures; her aim is to draw attention to the way they were originally portrayed. Because all of the figures are silhouettes, the viewer must rely on racial stereotypes to identify each figure. All of the figures are the same color-- Walker uses clothing, anatomy stereotypes, and position to clarify who is who in the piece, adding to her idea that historically, there is much more to race than simply skin color. Different than most of her other works, Walker uses light projection in the piece. Abstracted shapes of varying colors dance on top of the silhouettes, calling the viewer towards the work. But as the viewer steps near it, soon his or her shadow is cast upon the work, too, and they become a part of it. Traditionally, silhouettes were made in the same way-- the subject would sit in front of a light source, and his or her (though silhouettes were usually women, so it would be her) shadow would be cast upon a canvas or paper behind them. Walker thus combines historical people (the ones in the work) with contemporary ones (the viewers), creating further juxtaposition in the piece.
Cultural misconception- Bandolier bag and trade
The Bandolier Bag is a type of cross-body, decorative bag that is traditionally created by women in Great Lakes and Prairie tribes. The appearance of Bandolier Bags differs from tribe to tribe; this particular bag, created by the Lenape (Delaware People) is embellished with seed beads, ribbons, and fringe, and it is made from a mixture of animal hide and trade cloth. Each element present on the bag also is significant contextually or sets this bag apart from its contemporaries. Bandolier bags were first created after the Natives’ contact with Europeans, and they are based on the look of the bags that the European soldiers used to carry ammunition cartridges. Bandolier bags are strictly decorative; though they may contain pockets, they are not used to carry anything. While women created the bags, usually only men would wear them. At first, women did wear the bags as well, but as time went on, the bags became more of a status symbol, and thus male-exclusive. Initially, Native women would use softened porcupine quills for decoration on the bags. However, they began to trade with Europeans for glass seed beads. The transition to seed beads gave rise to the “spot stitching” technique, which made curvilinear designs easier to create on the bags. Continued trade with Europeans also led to the use of “trade cloth,” such as cotton, which on this bag, the ribbons, the fringe, and partially the bag itself are made of. Previously, women would use animal hides, often painted brightly, instead of ribbon and fringe. This particular bag, however, is different in the sense that both animal hide and trade cloth are present in a symbolic mix of pre- and post- European contact. The designs on either end of the strap of this Bandolier bag reflect the curvy designs that Native women were able to create as they began to spot stitch. Though the two designs differ, they both contain symbols pointing four different ways, perhaps referencing the four cardinal directions. Additionally, scholars suggest that the contrasting pinks, greens, whites, and blues represent the Celestial and Underworld themes; this would then support the conclusion that while the bag itself represents status, the theme of its designs would be Belief. Trade, or Gifts for Trading Land with White People, is a mixed-media work by Native American artist Jaune Quick-to-See Smith. The piece was created as a part of a series in 1992, the 500th anniversary of Columbus's first arrival in North America. Smith created the work centered around the idea of how Columbus is viewed in America, and how much the viewpoint contrasts with Natives like herself. One of the central themes of Trade is Society- it is a work of social commentary, its subject being the representation of Native Americans in American culture. It is comprised of three panels of canvas. Each panel is covered in a base layer of images in which Native Americans are presented in a stereotypical way; there are comics, ads, candy wrappers, and many other pieces of media with caricatured Natives on them. However, mixed among these images are historically and culturally accurate ones. There are photographs of deer and bison, as well as Native men in historic dress. Layered on top of this collage is a coat of different, bright colors of paint- white, yellow, green, and red, the red symbolizing not only Native heritage, but anger and war as well. The final layer on top the colored paint is a white canoe- an image often associated with Native culture. Above the three panels hangs a chain, from which dangles many assorted cheap toys, gifts, and sports memorabilia. What ties all the objects together is their use of Native culture in a way that does not respect the history of the people, their values, nor their way of life as it makes a mockery of Native tools, clothing items, and ceremonial dress. Trade is an attempt by the artist to show how Native Americans are seen in American culture- as simply mascots for sports teams or candy companies, as a group of people and their land who were “discovered” by Columbus.
Eygpt part two - book of the dead
The pictured artwork and the quotation, both from the Book of the Dead, are related through their representation and reference to the underworld. The quotation takes place while the speaker is in the underworld, while the artwork takes place right before. The quotation states in its first sentence that the speaker has “traveled through the tomb.” The Ancient Egyptian belief surrounding the afterlife was that the deceased would be judged before Osiris and his or her heart would be weighed by Anubis. If the heart was not too heavy (it became light through good deeds), the deceased would be able to continue into the afterlife. If the heart was too heavy, he or she would be forced to live in the tomb forever. However, this is not a concern of the speaker’s, for her or she has evidently made it out of the tomb. This judgement scene is depicted in the artwork. Osiris, who is pictured with green skin and two feathers sticking out of his head piece, can been seen to the far right. Anubis, who has the head of a jackal, is next to the scales on the left side of the image. Presumably, the quotation would fit right after the artwork, as the deceased has already been deemed by Osiris to be fit for the underworld and has continued there.
Floor plan to succeed - san carlo alle quattro fontane
San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, also known as Saint Charles at the Four Fountains, is a Roman church designed by architect Francesco Borromini during the Baroque period. The period commenced as a part of the counter reformation. Its unique style began to flourish as the Catholic church clung to what the Protestant religions protested about- and it started to “decorate” Rome. Commonly found in architecture from the Baroque period is ornate and grandiose decoration, found on and near the entrance of the church in the form of scrolls, angels, and cherubs. However, one of the most present and significant style elements that define the Baroque period is the use of concave and convex curves to imply movement, and on San Carlo, they are almost immediately recognizable, again on the entrance of the church. The curving theme is noticeable in the floor plan of San Carlo, as well- perhaps even more so. Ovals and elliptical shapes are present just inside the entrance; the main room and the dome (again decorated elaborately) are ovals, as well are two of the back rooms near the garden.
the analysis of art - jade cong
The Cong is a stoney-beige colored hollow cylindrical shape inscribed inside of a rectangular shape, giving the work the appearance of a circle with four corners. The corners give the piece several lines of symmetry from the top; from the side, the corners can be divided into two “bands” that run all the way around the piece. The artist draws the viewer’s attention to these bands and the face-like figures that adorn them at the corners of the piece. The faces are very stylized, and some are as simple as two circles for eyes and an oblong shape for a mouth. Two faces balance out the corners on either side and are repeated all along the piece. The faces on the piece could represent a variety of different themes. Some scholars believe that the hollow circle inside the cylinder represents the sun, and the cylinder itself represents the sky or the heavens. Given that those two statements are accurate, it is possible that the faces on the Cong hint that the theme of the piece is Belief or Nature- man’s place beneath the heavens, or how humans interact with the natural world. The function and purpose of this Cong or any other is unknown. However, they seem to have had importance at the time of their creation, around the years 3300-2200 BCE in the Yangtze River Delta of China. This time period, called Liangzhu, is a part of the larger Neolithic period. It was a point in time in which humans began to settle and farm, rather than being nomadic hunter-gatherers. In China, the place of the Cong’s origin, farmers were able to cultivate a surplus of rice. This meant that people were able to dedicate time to activities other than finding food- creating art, for example. Creating Congs, and the similar artworks, the Bis, was imaginably very time consuming. The pieces are made of jade, which was a material much harder than any tool the people of that time could create, so they could not be carved. The pieces were instead intricately designed through the use of sand to erode away the material. Congs, as mentioned previously, thus held importance, as they were the products of very tedious labor. Congs like this particular one have been found in graves in China, alluding to the idea that they were prized, and perhaps were believed to hold significance in the afterlife.
free response - bandolier bag and ahu ula
The Bandolier Bag, created by the Lenape in the 19th century, is made from culturally significant materials, including beads, ribbon, and animal hide. Traditionally used in similar works before European contact, animal hide was important to the Lenape (and other surrounding tribes) because of the close relationship they maintained with animals as a part of the natural world. Additionally, an older work by the Lenape would have had porcupine quills and more animal hide instead of beads and ribbon, as are present on this piece. However, upon European contract, beads and ribbon soon gained value to the culture as well as their more natural counterparts. Beads and ribbon were trade goods from the Europeans, and because of their foreign origin and their rarity among Natives, they became culturally significant as well. Ahu Ula, or Feather Cape, is a Hawaiian piece from the 18th century. Like the Bandolier Bag, its materials also have cultural significance to the Hawaiian people. The Feather Cape, as the name implies, is made from many brightly colored feathers closely arranged on netting to form a cape. Similar works contain many of the same colors present on this piece, like red or black; however, yellow feathers were very valuable on the Hawaiian Islands because of their scarcity. Additionally, the process of obtaining the feathers makes the piece (and its materials) more valuable, as well. The birds were painstakingly caught, each bird for a different color feather. Only a few feathers were collected from each bird (which then were released so they could produce more feathers).
Hagia sophia and mesa verde
Hagia Sophia, created by architects Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles, was dedicated in 537 CE in the Byzantine capital Constantinople, under the rule of Justinian the Great. The church epitomizes the societal and religious values of the Byzantine culture, as it possesses qualities that seem almost divine. As emperor, Justinian the Great was not only the political leader of the Byzantine Empire, but also the spiritual leader. Because of his status as a religious leader, Justinian the Great was able to incorporate Christian beliefs as a key part of Byzantine society, as he successfully did as a patron of Hagia Sophia. The design for the church is a mix of a centrally planned concept and a basilica; however, its focus lies on the church’s large dome. Said to be suspended from Heaven, it is evident how historic churchgoers must have believed the dome to be floating. Many closely-spaced windows line the bottom of the dome, and the space between the windows is decorated with gold, which reflects light. These two elements give the dome a weightless feel and add to the church’s overall holiness. On the inside of the church, the walls are made of imported marble of varying colors and decorated with gold mosaics. Later additions to the church included figures depicted in the mosaics, but at the time of its creation, during a period of Iconoclasm, no sacred personages were included. Byzantine art is often recognizable because of this lack of figures, and Hagia Sophia is a prime example.
The Mesa Verde cliff dwellings, located in what is now Colorado, were created by the Anasazi people between the years 450-1300 CE. A notable section of Mesa Verde is Cliff Palace, created into the face of a sandstone cliff in the twelfth century, which exemplifies just how close to the landscape the Anasazi as a society were, not only as demonstrated in the architecture, but in the paintings inside as well. Cliff Palace was a home to as many as 125 people, many of who lived in rooms called Kivas. The buildings in Cliff Palace are made from stone or mud mortar, which was a new technique at the time of their creation. Previously, buildings were made from adobe and straw, but as the Anasazi progressed, the were able to use building styles that best fit the location, as the cliff location was able to protect its inhabitants from the elements. Inside many of the buildings, there are murals that depict geometric symbols, as well as plants and animals. Ceramics have also been found in Cliff Palace, decorated in a similar way to the murals. Apart from the the representation of other living things and the landscape in the symbols (dark paints symbolized land, light symbolized sky), the paints were often made from clay or other organic materials, again showing how close the Anasazi were to the landscape, and how they were resourceful with what the environment around them provided. However, eventually the environment around them suffered a harsh drought, and the Anasazi were forced out of the Cliff Palace in order to survive.
what makes a response - emu woman
The painting Emu Woman was created in 1988-1989 by Aboriginal artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye. Kngwarreye, born around the year 1910, had no formal art training, other than a batik workshop she was enrolled in the late 1970s. She created her first canvas painting, Emu Woman, for an Aboriginal gallery project in Sydney, Australia. The work had been inspired by Kngwarreye’s decades of experience as a body painter in her community; many elements in her work are those of body markings painted on women’s breasts for ceremonies. At first, Emu Woman did not seem to stand out among the other works done by Aboriginal people for the gallery, and the painting held very little meaning for those not a member of Kngwarreye’s community. The work was selected to be on the cover of the exhibition catalogue to show respect for Kngwarreye’s status as the eldest member of her community. However, as the painting gained a larger audience, it was almost immediately recognized for its style and unique abstract elements- a welcome departure from the usual appearance of works a part of the Desert Art movement. The painting’s meaning increased exponentially for many views as critics from around the world acknowledged Kngwarreye’s inspiration from not only body markings as previously mentioned, but from plants, animals, and roots as well, as relayed in her use of dots, lines, and earthy colors. Kngwarreye continued to paint for the rest of her life, creating works like Earth’s Creation 1994, possibly her most well-known piece and a painting in the required course content.
6.01 Winged victory of samothrace
Winged Victory of Samothrace, also known as Nike of Samothrace, is a marble statue currently on display in the Louvre in Paris, France. Its name, however, is a reference to its original location-- Samothrace, an island in the North of the Aegean sea near Greece. The statue is a depiction of Nike, a Greek goddess who personified victory. In this piece, although she is missing her head, arms, and feet, her pose implies that she is spreading good news after warfare. The statue was created in the second century after Christ during the Hellenistic period. An evolution of the Classical period, Hellenistic works, like Classical ones, were naturalistic and often depicted varied positions and emotional expression; however, Hellenistic works grew to portray mythology in order to commemorate historic victories, just as WingedVictory does. Nike stands nine feet tall on her pedestal in the Louvre. Originally, her place was the prow of a stone ship in a sanctuary, located near the coast of Samothrace. The sanctuary was dedicated to gods and goddess that acted as protectors to sailors and granted victory in wars. The speculation concerning this piece is that it commemorated a specific naval victory, thus relating it to the theme of history/memory. According to archaeologists, it is likely that Nike’s stone ship was placed in a rock niche that was filled with water. The geography of this location on the coast is significant; winds would have been harsh because of its proximity to the sea. The artist of the piece took this into consideration and created the piece so that it would interact with the environment. Nike wears a light chiton and a heavy himation, the latter of which is shown to be held to her form only by the strength of the wind. The prior, however, is in a Hellenistic style that shows her anatomy very clearly underneath it. Many of the Ancient Greek periods placed importance on the human anatomy, so another likely theme for this piece-- like many other Greek works-- is the human body. Nike’s pose is dramatic and emotional-- she leans forward slightly into the wind, and her wings stick out into the air behind her. Her right shoulder is higher than her left one, which suggests that her right arm was either holding something-- like a wreath or a horn-- or perhaps simply outstretched in a greeting. The statue was intended to be viewed from the left side only, so its right sight is much less detailed than its left. Another Hellenistic depiction of the goddess Nike is Nike Adjusting her Sandal. The two pieces are similar-- both portray Nike in a realistic, unstiff position, both were located in sacred places, and both are missing their heads. However, in their respective sacred locations, WingedVictory was intended to be more of a centerpiece of sorts. It is larger and was intended to have a larger audience. Meanwhile, Nike Adjusting her Sandal is simply a parapet, meant to be viewed as the people walked up to the main temple.
6.02 short response - Boxer at rest
"Where earlier artists sought to codify a generalized artistic ideal, Hellenistic artists shifted focus to the individual and the specific. They turned increasingly away from the heroic to the everyday, from gods to mortals, from aloof serenity to individual emotion, and from decorous drama to emotional melodrama. Their works appeal to the senses through luscious or lustrous surface treatments and to our hearts as well as our intellects through expressive subjects and poses." The Hellenistic period of Ancient Greece began after the death of Alexander the Great in the fourth century BCE. It marked an era of political decline, and its art and architecture reflect it. The work pictured is a Hellenistic one, called the Seated Boxer, and the given quotation relates to it in the sense that they both accurately portray art from this period. The subject of the piece sits naturally and looks up to his right, and his arms rest on his legs. Rather than being depicted in a heroic pose, he is portrayed either before or after, but not during, a fight, exemplifying the Hellenistic shift from heroic to the everyday as mentioned in the quotation. This shift was likely in reaction to the death of Alexander, who was seen as a hero by many people, and continued throughout the period. Additionally, the subject is a mortal, and he portrays emotion in his face, unlike works from previous eras whose deities’ faces were in “aloof serenity.” This expressiveness is characteristic of the Hellenistic period-- he seems very human, and the viewer is able to related to the work more than work from previous eras.
7.01 pyxis of al-Mughira
Pyxis of al-Mughira is a cylindrical cosmetic box, on display in the Louvre in Paris, France. It was created in 968 CE in what is now Spain, but under Islamic rule in the Middle Ages was called Al-Andalus. The box is decorated with four medallions surrounded by various figures and animals, as well as a band of text that reads in Arabic, “God’s Benediction, favors, joy, beatitude, to al-Mughira, son of the commander of the faithful, may God have mercy upon him in the year 357*.” The pyxis was gifted to Prince al-Mughira, who was the youngest son of the caliph Abd-ar-Rahman III. Abd-ar-Rahman III reigned the Umayyad Caliphate in the Iberian Peninsula from 929-961 CE, a time period that saw the rise of ivory carvings. This piece is thought to be elephant ivory, and contains trace amounts of jade as well, and was potentially created in the Madinat al-Zahra workshops of Al-Andalus. The first of the four medallions carved on the piece depicts two men trying to take eggs from falcons’ nests, and in turn being bitten by dogs. Falcons were a symbol of the Umayyad dynasty; the image is thought to be a warning to those who threaten the power of the Umayyads. The second medallion contains a carving of two men on horseback picking dates from a tree, perhaps representing the lands lost to the Abbasid Caliphs (major rivals of the Umayyads), where date trees were plenty. The third medallion shows three figures, one with a fan, one with a scepter, and the last with a flask. The exact significance of this medallion is unknown, but could perhaps represent an important political ceremony. The final medallion has a scene in which two lions each attack a bull, representing power of the Umayyads over the Abbasids. Islamic art does not commonly contain representations of humans; however, this pyxis features many figures engaged in various activities. The inclusion of figures in a traditionally aniconic culture is thought to express the political superiority of the Umayyads, especially compared to the Abbasids. The Pyxis of al-Mughira is thought to be a coming-of-age present to the prince, who was eighteen years old at the time of its creation. Pyxides like this one were portable yet expensive, and were commonly given as royal gifts; an example of a similar piece is the Pyxis of Zamora, created around 964 CE. Pyxis of Zamora was commissioned by Al-Hakam II (one of Prince al-Mughira’s older brothers) for his wife, and the box is decorated similarly to al-Mughira’s, also with a band of Arabic text with intricate animal carvings below. Pyxides were used as containers for cosmetics, perfumes, and other valuable possessions. However, no trace of any substance has been found inside al-Mughira’s pyxis; it could be that it was never used. Due to the symbolism carved on the piece, its function, the inclusion of figures, and the context of its creation, a likely theme for the Pyxis of al-Mughira is political power. From the falcons carved in the piece, the fact that it was gifted to a prince and was meant for valuables, and its comparison to artwork from the Abbasids (which lacked human representation), the pyxis is a work that reflects the royalty and the position of power that those involved with the piece. *Al-Andalus used a different calendar; their 357 is the Gregorian 968 CE.
7.02 long response - augustus of primaporta
Augustus of Primaporta is a marble statue depicting the first Roman Emperor, Octavian. The statue was created after his death in Rome in the first century CE. The work serves as a piece of propaganda intended to prolong Octavian’s legacy, as enforced by the style, pose, context, and details of the work. The work is thought to be a marble copy of an originally bronze statue that was placed in a central location, where its audience of Roman citizens could easily see it; the placement of the original and the fact that copies were made support Octavian’s agenda of spreading his influence throughout Rome, even after his death. Octavian became ruler of Rome following the death of his relative, Julius Caesar, who was declared a god posthumously. Octavian reminds the viewer of his heritage by placing Cupid by his feet in Augustus of Primaporta, who, like Julius Caesar (and Octavian), was a descendant of Venus. Octavian makes it clear to the Romans that their leader was godlike. Because of his divine descent and the fact that he was much younger than previous leaders of Rome had been, Octavian’s rule marked not only the change of Rome from a republic to an empire, but also a departure from the realistic way that leaders had been depicted. Previously, statues or busts of leaders exaggerated their features, such as hairline and wrinkles, to convey that they were very wise and experienced people. However, Augustus of Primaporta, which was created after his death, shows Octavian as eternally young, his features are idealized, he is perfectly proportioned, and he stands in contrapposto, a nod to the similar pose of the Spear Bearer, the Greek Ideal of man. Many Romans at the time of Octavian would have never seen him in person, so the statue serves as a way to convey the power of their ruler to these Romans and to make them think that he was divine. Additionally, Octavian is shown as a general as wears a breastplate. The scene on the plate shows the reclaiming of the Roman military standards from the Parthians, which was an important military victory for Rome that declared their power, as well as Gaia, goddess of the Earth, and Uranus, god of the sky, looking upon the Romans. The plate is propaganda in itself, declaring the Romans to be a power people with the gods on their side. Even after his death, Octavian wanted to make himself known in Rome. Augustus of Primaporta was aimed to do just this-- it portrayed him as a divine, idealized, youthful leader, and showed military victories on his breastplate, and the statue was in a public location for all Romans to see.
8.01 the renaissance short response - albrecht durer
The pictured work was created by Albrecht Durer, who is also the artist of the engraving Adam and Eve, included in the framework. Durer was (and is) known for his woodcuts and engravings, as well as being a devout Christian-- many of his prints contain heavy religious themes, and these two are no exception. The two pieces are monochromatic prints, both depicting biblical scenes, and such (in addition to his initials on the bottom of the pictured work) make the prints identifiable as Durer’s. Additionally, they both contain animal and human figures, shading in the form of horizontal lines, and overall attention to detail. Adam and Eve contains surface realism, as the figures were drawn punctiliously, while the background is rather flat. The pictured work is similar, as the figures are close to the viewer, yet they are still very realistic in proportion. The attention to detail, as well as symbolism (the animals in Adam and Eve, the scales in the pictured work), the perspective (subjects are close to the viewer) and realistic human figures, is typical of the Northern Renaissance, which Durer was a part of. Printmaking was also a very large part of the Northern Renaissance, and these two pieces are both prints.
8.02 the renaissance continues - Brunelleschi's pazzi chapel
The Pazzi Chapel, located in Florence, Italy, is a chapel designed by Filippo Brunelleschi and commissioned by the Pazzi family. The chapel was completed in 1443, after Brunelleschi’s death; however, it remains a prime example of Early Renaissance architecture, for which Brunelleschi was very well known. It is a clear departure from Medieval architectural traditions, and is a part of the rebirth of classical culture that would continue after the chapel’s completion. Originally, the chapel was a chapter house-- a meeting place for monks-- and a burial place for the Pazzi family. It is located inside the cloisters of the Basilica di Santa Croce, with two other buildings on its sides, giving it a potential theme of Sacred Space. The façade of the chapel recalls ancient Roman architecture with its Corinthian columns and use of geometric shapes. Similarly, the floorplan, which is nearly centrally planned, sees the continued use of shapes, like its main square-shaped space with a circular dome, and two flanking rectangular barrel vaults. The interior of the building is made of pietra serena, a grey sandstone that would continue its popularity throughout the Renaissance. A darker grey stone decorates the walls in the form of low-relief carved columns that resemble those outside the building. Light shines into the chapel through the dome in the center of the main space. In addition to being lined with windows, the dome also has an oculus; when combined with the the square space and the columns in front of the building, it is reminiscent of the Pantheon, the ancient Roman temple located in Rome, Italy. Indeed the Pazzi Chapel is a piece of Renaissance architecture, and thus calls upon Rome of antiquity. However, Rome of that time was pagan, so the Pantheon was as well, which greatly differs from the religious values in the Pazzi Chapel. Such differences are evident in the roundels located on the pendentives of the dome in the chapel, which depict biblical scenes. Additionally, the roundels were completed in what is called a “modern” glaze by Luca della Robbia, which gave them a glassy look that was new to the Early Renaissance time period.
8.04 long response - the great altar and the isenheim altarpiece
The Great Altar of Zeus and Athena is made up of two marble fragments of a frieze dating back to the Hellenistic Greek period. Originally, the audience of the piece would have been Greek temple-goers who, through the symbolism in the piece, would make the connection between their pantheon of gods and their patriotism for their country. The frieze is a representation of the battle between the gods of Olympus and the titans, which held special importance for the Greeks, because they equated themselves with the gods. One of the fragments of the piece in particular depicts Athena, the goddess of wisdom and military strategy, engaged combat with a titan; she as shown as victorious not only by the look of despair on the titan’s face, but because Nike, goddess of victory, stands behind and crowns Athena. Additionally, the other piece shows Zeus, god of the sky and the king of the gods, fighting three giants at once, yet still calm and in control. The gods, goddesses, and titans of the piece not only hold religious importance for the audience, but symbolic importance as well. The Greeks viewed this story as of the same nature as their battle against the unknown, the gods and goddesses representing not only the divine, but wisdom, military strategy, the sky, etc. as well. The Isenheim Altarpiece, created by Matthias Grunewald during the Northern Renaissance and made from oil on wood, is intended to be an object of devotion. It has three positions in which three different scenes are shown. However, the most significant of the three positions when considering religious symbolism is the open position, which depicts Jesus on the cross. Unlike many other representations of the Crucifixion, Jesus is shown as very sickly looking, as though from illness, with many wounds and an discolored skin. This representation of Jesus reflects the intended audience of the work; the piece was originally located in a hospital meant for those with skin diseases. The depiction of Jesus with a skin disease allows the audience to view him (Him?) in a different light; they are able to sympathize better, as they think that Jesus knows their pain. Jesus is not commonly shown with Ergotism (which is what many of the sick were suffering from), and so because he is on this piece, his illness can be interpreted as a symbol. Jesus’ suffering is depicted more physically as he is shown with clear and visible ailments. Additionally, on one of the wings of the altarpiece is St. Anthony; to anyone but a Christian, this man is of no importance (and thus somewhat of a symbol). But for the audience of the piece, they know that St. Anthony is the patron of those suffering from skin diseases, and thus his presence on the piece holds even more importance than it would without him.
9.02 short response - the two fridas
The Two Fridas, a self portrait by Frida Kahlo, depicts two images of Kahlo sitting next to one another, held together by their hands and a thin vein of blood. The painting is a break from the artistic tradition of the time in its content and style. The painting, similar to many of Kahlo’s others, contains much symbolism that holds personal significance to the artist. For example, the work is a double portrait, but both figures are the artist herself. It is often contrasted to her earlier work, Frieda and Diego Rivera, but instead of the artist and her husband, it is two images of herself, unusual for the time, symbolizing two aspects of her identity. The Frida on the right in the painting, dressed in traditional Mexican wear, holds an image of her then ex-husband, while the Frida on the left, in more European looking clothing, cuts a vein connected to the image with a pair of scissors. Although symbolism in self portraits was not unusual, the amount in this piece made other artists consider it to be a part of the Surreal movement. Although Kahlo did not necessary intend this, the symbolism in her paintings was unlike any Mexican paintings of that time and thus made them significant to her culture, as well as her personally.
9.03 summer trees
Summer Trees is a work created in 1983 CE by Song Su-Nam, a Korean artist. The piece is made from ink on paper, which holds deep significance to the artist. Several thick brush strokes, as well as thinner ones, run vertically on the page, depicting an abstraction of trees, as the name implies. Their differing darknesses show that the ink was applied to differing wetnesses of paper and gives the impression of depth. The piece was created during the Oriental Ink Movement, which sought to give Korean artists a sense of identity that they had lost. Additionally, the movement focused on the technical side of ink as well, recreating a value in the skill that had been lost as artists used oil paints. The movement was in reaction to the heavy Western influence in Korea following the Korean War. Song in particular felt as though the style, in addition to the materials, of Western art did fit his expression as a Korean artist. It is for this reason that potential themes of the work are not only Tradition, but Identity as well. Pieces of art like Geumgang Jeondo, which was made in Korea in the 18th century, can be connected to Summer Trees, as it also depicts a landscape in ink, and reflects the type of art that Oriental Ink artists wished to return to. Artists of this movement depicted scenes in nature, such as forests or mountains, which traditionally served as metaphors for the artists’ ideals. Summer Trees, for example, shows a group of pine trees, which often represents a gathering of honest friends. However, Summer Trees is a new take on such traditional pieces of art. Geumgang Jeondo, for example, seeks to represent the beauty of nature as it actually is before the artist. Summer Trees, however, is simply an abstraction of nature, and thus combines traditional art with contemporary ideas as well.
10.02 preying mantra
Preying Mantra is a mixed media work by artist Wangechi Mutu. Mutu was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and was educated in Europe and the United States. She created the piece in 2006, reflecting an American and Eurocentric view of the African woman, as it relates to her identity. It is for this reason that a potential theme of the piece is not only Human Body, which is depicted in the piece, but also Identity for its context and meaning to the artist. The female featured on the work is portrayed in an almost way that makes her seem inhuman- her eyes are robotic, none of her features make her identifiable as an individual, and her skin is an unnatural, pink and violet pattern, similar to the backdrop around her. She sits on a blanket that is similar to a Kuba cloth, a traditional textile from Congo, and she wears a crown on her head. Mutu addresses African and foreign cultures in the piece, as she includes not only her interpretation of how outsiders view African women, but also a part of African tradition in the cloth. She uses her identity as an African, but also educated in the Western world, to combine the helpless object of the Western perspective, but also the rich culture of Africa. The portrayal of the figure as an object, as she sits unclothed, is juxtaposed with the look on her face. Her eyes stare at the viewer, and reflect the name of the piece-- PreyingMantra-- which suggests that she is indeed preying on the viewer. The figure’s stare combats the male gaze; although she is nude and being watched, she glares back with just as much force. This ‘female gaze’ is similar to the one portrayed in Manet’s Olympia, which depicts a prostitute unapologetically looking towards the viewer.
Collaboration - our lady of lourdes and chavin de huantar
Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes is an area of land in Lourdes, France, dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes. The area is made up of twenty-two Roman Catholic basilicas and churches, as well as a grotto and a river with supposed healing powers. The site first gained significance after a peasant girl, Bernadette Soubirous, had multiple visions of the Virgin Mary there, starting in 1858. The lands were acquired by a local religious group in 1861, and the first church there, commonly called the Crypt, opened in 1866. Since then, other churches and basilicas have followed, the most recent being from 1988. The site has become a pilgrimage destination for Catholics from around the world seeking the mystical Lourdes water, and through its access to the water, various religious buildings, and the nearby Accueil, it is able to accommodate these pilgrims. In one of her first visions, St. Bernadette stated that Mary had told her to bathe in the water of the river. Since then, it has been declared Holy Water and sought for its healing properties. The Sanctuary allows pilgrims to drink or bathe in it. Currently, there are seventeen baths, as well as the “Water Walk,” which consists of nine stations and allows pilgrims to meditate or pray as they follow the water. Additionally, the sanctuary provides the pilgrims with vials of the water to take home. The locations, functions, and architecture of the different churches and basilicas are often with regard to the history of the location, as well as meeting the needs of the pilgrims. For example, the Upper Basilica appears to be emerging from the grotto from where Mary appeared, its many stained glass windows depict the history of St. Bernadette, and banners from official National Pilgrimages hang inside. The Rosary Basilica can seat 1,500, is adorned with a cross gifted from Ireland, and looks over the Rosary square, a meeting place for pilgrims and a place used in processions. The Church of St. Bernadette is on the spot of Bernadette’s final vision; it has more windows than most of the other churches, and can seat more than 5,000 pilgrims. Additionally, there is one small church-- the Chapel of Reconciliation-- that has no service and no mass. However, it does have many priests from around the world, who speak many different languages. This Chapel and its Priest accommodate the international pilgrims who many not speak any of the Sanctuary’s six official languages (French, Spanish, English, Dutch, German, and Italian), and wish to have their confession heard in their native languages. Across the river from the churches and basilicas, there is housing place for sick pilgrims, called the Accueil Notre Dame. It was created in 1996, replacing two older Accueils from early in the site’s history. Because of the supposed healing powers of the Lourdes water, many people who go on a pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes are sick. The Accueil was created for this reason. Its two wings and six stories make sure that there is enough room for everyone, and it contains many places where the pilgrims can meet and feel comfortable. From its mystical Lourdes water to the numerous religious buildings and the care facility, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes is intended to meet the needs of the thousands of pilgrims who come each year, seeking health and the Holiness of the location.
Chavin de Huantar is an archaeological site found in the Ancash region of Peru. It was created circa 1200 BCE by the Chavin people to a serve religious purposes. It is comprised of several stone and adobe temples, as well as central squares and courtyards to act as spots for congregation. Throughout its long history, Chavin de Huantar served as a pilgrimage destination for the Chavin’s pagan, often animal-centric religion, and it was able to accommodate its many pilgrims through its location and architecture. Chavin de Huantar is located at the meeting point of two rivers. This meant it was easily accessible to pilgrims who used the rivers as a means of transportation, and allowed visitors from all over the region. Additionally, it is nearby two of the very few mountain passes of the region, meaning even more pilgrims could reach the site with few difficulties. The diversity of the visitors to Chavin de Huantar is evidenced by the many offerings found at the site, originating from many different parts of South America. But no matter how accessible the site was, its amount of pilgrims would have been very few if it did not have the religious significance that it did during its peak. The meeting rivers not only eased transportation, but also served spiritual value; it was viewed as the meeting of opposite forces, called tinkuy, and created a sense of harmony at the location. Additionally, Chavin de Huantar was home to hot springs and many spectacular views, both of which many pilgrims had never seen before. The location added awe the site that it would have lacked if it had not been where it was, attracting even more pilgrims. The central temple of Chavin de Huantar is made up of two parts-- the Old Temple and the New Temple. The Old Temple is thought to have been created around 900 BCE, and the New Temple, an addition, was created circa 500 BCE. Inside, pilgrims would be lead through a series of galleries that were completely dark, with water running beneath them and water flowing around them from separate tunnels. Suddenly, a spiritual leader would bring the pilgrims to a large, illuminated feline-deity statue called Lanzon. The temple created an experience for pilgrims that was unlike anything they had ever seen or done before, and is a large part of the reason why it was so popular a pilgrimage destination. This wonder was continued outside for visitors, as they gathered in the large meeting spots, and watched as priests miraculously appeared from hidden passages. Chavin de Huantar did more than simply accommodate its visitors as a pilgrimage destination. It was able to surprise them and instill in them the idea of how majestic their religions was, attracting thousand of pilgrims and maintaining its popularity.
free response - night attack on the sanjo palace and golden haggadah
Night Attack on the Sanjo Palace is a scroll from the Kamakura period in Japan, made of ink and paper. Like the Golden Haggadah, Night Attack communicates a story. Night Attack is a representation of the capture of an emperor and a former emperor, who were son and father respectively. Former emperors in Japan were still considered high in the government, which is why the father was a target in addition to his son. The artist, who is unknown, depicts hundreds of tiny figures making their way across the scroll, which was meant to be read in sections, somewhat like panels. Golden Haggadah, similarly, is a book which actually presents its stories in series of four panels. It was created in late Medieval Spain, and is an illuminated manuscript. The given page is Plagues of Egypt, and it depicts the story of the Israelites in Egypt and the divine plagues, hence the name of the piece. It illustrates the story of Passover, which includes the death of the Egyptians’ firstborn sons, and the expulsion of the Israelites from Egypt, as they were lead by Moses to the Holy Land. Both works are depictions of important events in each respective culture, and they contain many figures, though the primary figures are recognizable, like the Emperor in Night Attack or Moses in the Golden Haggadah. Additionally, the viewer reads each work as it is depicted, which is chronological. The reason that the stories of the Golden Haggadah and Night Attack were recorded and presented in their respective ways were different, however, and the artists had different motives. Night Attack is presented with little bias. By the time the work was created, many years had passed since the actual attack. The piece was meant to serve as a record of history. This is evidenced by the two paragraphs, one before and the other after, the main scene, that explain what is taking place in the image and who the primary figures are. The Plagues of Egypt, however, was meant to be a ritualistic part of Passover, as it was read on the first night during Seder. While Night Attack had historical importance, as shown in the text beside it, the Golden Haggadah had religious importance, as shown in its use during passover, and the creation of many similar, but less fancy, Haggadahs.
Free response - the oxbow and ville savoye
Thomas Cole, one of the founders of American landscape art, is the artist of The Oxbow, also known as View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm. The painting is oil on canvas and was created in 1836. It depicts the Connecticut River Valley after a storm, as the piece’s title implies. The river snakes in the bottom part of the piece, forest and storm on one side and farmland and clear skies on the other. However, the work is more than just a replication of the land that lay before the artist. Cole uses symbolism to portray a common American idea at the time that he himself believed in, as exampled in the work. The left half of the painting is “wild,” as it is covered with the storm and the untamed forest, while the right side of the painting is “civilized,” with calm skies and cultivated lands. It is symbolic of Manifest Destiny, which was a prominent idea during the time of the work’s creation. It was the idea that Americans were destined by God to expand across the North American continent, and was quite commonplace during this time period, which included the creation of many Native American reservations, as well as the Trail of Tears. Both of these parts of American history were centered on the idea that Protestant Americans had to move Westward and take the land from Natives, who were seen as “savages” because they were not Christian. Cole approves of these actions because of his beliefs that support Manifest Destiny. Cole shows this American settlement on a smaller scale in a very positive light, as it takes place only in the small river valley and not the entire continent, but it aims to exemplify the future of American settlement-- taking raw, natural lands, like Cole painted on the left, and turning them into the fruitful and successful lands of the right. He connects this idea to Protestantism-- that is, bringing Christianity to the wild lands--- on the left side of the painting, where he depicts himself and more importantly his supplies, which form a cross, representing the religion. The intended audience of the work would have been Americans of this time who also believed in this idea, and saw the painting as solidifying their thoughts. Those opposed to Manifest Destiny, like Native Americans, would not approve nor depict such a microcosm of expansion in such a positive way, and thus were not the intended audience. VillaSavoye’s incorporation with the environment is significant because it shows the interaction with the environment that many artists of the International Style aimed for. The building was an important one of the style, because it contained all five of influential architect le Corbusier’s Five Points. The Villa allows the viewer to see outside into the surrounding nature; however, the immediate exterior of the building has a modified appearance, although the landscape farther away is unaltered. The location of the building exemplifies conflict with the natural world because it sits in an empty, grassy plot-- all of the trees, shrubs, and other plants had to be cleared for the building’s construction-- while the land farther away is untouched. Although one plant, grass, still remains, much of it is relocated to an unnatural location-- the flat roof. However, this empty location close to the building also relates to humankind’s unity. Le Corbusier wanted this plain surrounding so that the viewers of the building could still see the natural landscape that was far away, while they themselves could interact with the simple, immediate landscape in peace.
Free Response - anavysos kouros
Anavysos Kouros was a continuation of figures from that time in the sense that it was more natural-looking and realistic than its predecessors, yet the statues following it, like Doryphoros, were even more natural and realistic. Anavysos Kouros was less stiff and blocky than earlier Archaic statues, but Doryphoros was even less stiff and even less blocky than Anavysos Kouros. This has to do with the Greco-Persian wars and Greece’s independence, which ended the Archaic period and led to the Classical period, in which more exploration of the human figure took place. For example, Anavysos Kouros stands somewhat comfortable with one foot in front of the other, although his arms are straight by his sides. Doryphoros, however, influenced by Anavysos Kouros, takes this “comfort” even further as he stands with his weight on one leg, and one arm at rest while the other is in action.
Anavysos Kouros represented the ideal male figure; although it was meant to pay respects to a certain young man in particular, the statue was not a portrait. It comes from a time period (Archaic) in which figures, especially statues, had not been represented widely in the period before. Anavysos Kouros was the ideal figure because no other type of figure was represented in that time. He represents order in his position and symmetry, and sometimes Kouroi like this one were even representations of Gods. Additionally, his Archaic smile was the sculptor’s way of implying that he, the statue, was alive, and knew more than the natural world. He exemplifies many themes in Greek art.
However, despite the influence of Anavysos Kouros on Doryphoros, figural ideals are represented in him much differently, like through his naturalized contrapposto position and proportions that would continue to be the ideal for many years to come (i.e., they are the same as in Augustus of Primaporta). Doryphoros is from the Early Classical period, when opposites, like rest and action or human and idealized, were explored, and unlike Anavysos Kouros, he embodies the Platonic Philosophy as he represents both the natural world and the ideal.
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