Art History Essay

Submitted By kels1302
Words: 1219
Pages: 5

Art History

“Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but rather a hammer with which to shape it.”
--Bertoldt Brecht
Before History: The Origins of Art in the Stone Age
The Old Stone Age (Paleolithic) in Africa and Europe
Olduvi Gorge, Tanzania: Makaspansgat, South Africa: Hohlenstein-Stadel and Wllendorf, Central Europe
Makapansgat Valley, South Africa
Pebble resembling a human face
Reddish jasperite stone, gives impression of a face, found in 1925, proclaimed it a work of art, found in region of caves in the upper valley-far away from other things
South Africa, 3,000,000 BCE, Paleolithic
Uldavai Gorge-Great Rift Valley, Tanzania
Stone tools
1,500,000 BCE, Paleolithic
Human with feline head
30,000 BCE, Paleolithic, made from wooly mammoth tusk
Sculpture/figurine, 1 foot tall, meaning?
Discovered in cave in 1939, found in 200 pieces, put together after second world war, found several hundred additional pieces
One of the earliest figurines we know of in history
Nude woman (Venus of Willlendorf)
25,000 BCE, Paleolithic, limestone
Associated with goddess of love, most women were
Smaller than lion figurine, recognize form of human body, special emphasis given to torso of body (belly, thighs, breasts), arms are small, face is hidden
Naturalism, representing abundant fertility of feminine form, made during period of Ice Age
Image of storage (body fat and health), reproductive potential
Cave paintings
32,000 BCE, Paleolithic
Consistent, distinctive – found everywhere
Taking 3-D form and flattening it out, painting it out so that it can be seen and understood
Discovered less than twenty years ago, hundreds of images, lions; panthers; horses
Caves remain open over span of 500 years, multiple layers of drawings that span over thousands of years
Naturalism quality of animals
Cave Paintings
22,000 BCE, Paleolithic, many horses
Powerful, spotted, surrounded by handprints
Lascaux, France
Cave Paintings
15,000 BCE, Paleolithic, discovered 1940
Discovered in very narrow caves, dangerous caves
Earliest episodes of story telling
From Old to New in the European Stone Age (10,000-6,000 years before now)
Stonehenge, England
3,000-1600 BCE, Neolithic to Bronze age
Remarkably sophisticated, large blocks of stone (megaliths), very distinct architectural form
Called Trilithons, three stones, two posts support a beam
Henge=stone circle
The Epic of Gilgamesh
Musical interpretation by Tony Garone
2001, combination of indie and local music
*Important Points:
Art as functional
Style relates to material, function, and meaning
Naturalism is a way of seeing, not simply a matter of progress over time
Megalithic architecture provides evidence of community needs, beliefs, and values
The Rise of Civilization: The Ancient Near East
From Stone to Metals: Five Great Bronze Age Civilizations
Between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers
“Land between the rivers”
Society based on local materials, soft soils, not much stone
Key features
Cities/permanent settlements
Writing: cuneiform
State religions
Sumerian deities
Anu = sky god
Inanna = fertility goddess
Abu = vegetation
Early Mesopotamia: From Sumer to Akkad, c. 3000-2000 BCE
White Temple and Ziggurat
At Uruk
3000 BCE (Sumerian)
Long before our era
Big agricultural city with the first real architecture
A religious building (White Temple) stood at center of civilization
One of the earliest buildings that can be associated with religion
Made of mud brick, astonishing that it is still stable and recognizable
Dedicated to Anu (Sky God)
Ziggurat Of Uruk
2100 BCE (Neo-Sumerian)
Higher off the ground the better
Platform for temple, not actually an open piece
City of Gilgamesh
Fifth king of Uruk supposedly
Female Head
Of Goddess Inanna?
From Uruk, c. 300 BCE (Sumerian)
Stolen during early days of the Gulf War, found months later