Prehistoric Art/Neolithic Art/Ancient Near Eastern Art/Egyptian Art and Aegean Art
In what parts of the caves were cave paintings found?
The paintings are found in the inner recesses of the caves.
What figures appear in cave paintings?
Animals often appear in the paintings
What do hands symbolize?
They suggest that hands were painted over or copied to symbolize spiritual or ritualistic communication.
What is “twisted perspective”?
This is a perspective that shows the profile and anatomy of the animal
What did it lack?
It lacks a background and is not completely realistic.
Why was the find of the Chauvet Cave so important?
This cave is important because it is the oldest paintings, but one of the most detailed and sophisticated. This proves the theory that art techniques developed over time wrong because they were already using a naturalistic and overlapping approach.
Describe the “Venus of Willendorf”.
It is a paleolithic sculpture about 4 inches tall that symbolizes female fertility while obscuring the face.
What was its purpose?
To symbolize female fertility
What was it made of?
Limestone and red ochre
Why did Neolithic communities need extra security?
They went from being hunters and gathers to being settled farmers and herdsmen. They settled and as wealth increased, they needed more security.
Describe the town and planning of Catal Huyuk.
All the houses follow the same architectural plan, and there are shrines throughout the city. There were no streets or doors, just openings in the roofs of the houses, and several walls for protection.
Describe the “Seated Goddess of Catal Huyuk”.
It is much more detailed than previous prehistoric art, and is made of terra cotta and limestone.
What was its purpose?
Like the female figurines the seated goddess was kept in the shrine for religious and spiritual purposes.
Define: megalith, trilithon, cromlech and henge.
Megaliths are giant stones used for construction of architectural pieces. When three of these are used they are called a trilithon. When these megalith stones are placed in a circle they are called a cromlech or henge.
Describe “Stonehenge”. What was its purpose? How do we know this?
This is the megalith stones placed in a henge, or circular pattern. Their purpose is thought to be astronomically related, because even today they can be seen to align and mark events like the summer solstice.
Where did writing develop?
In the Sumerians culture.
What was the need for having a written language and what did it look like?
They needed writing to keep up with their growing urban centers and economy. It looked like a system of pictures and symbols.
What is a ziggurat? How were they built?
It is a spiritual building, built with platforms leading up to the top of the architecture.
How did they reflect their beliefs in gods?
It reflects their beliefs because the platforms were thought to be a way to approach and communicate with the gods.
What is the purpose of votive statues?
To pray for safe passage into the after life.
Why were their eyes important?
The eyes show the devotion and idea of perpetual worship.
What is lapis lazuli?
A blue stone used to make the eyes.
Describe the “Standard of Ur”.
It is a two sided piece with three registers depicting movement and scenes. It uses hierarchy of scale and the lapis lazuli to create the blue background.
How does the back differ from the front?
One side depicts war and battle while the other depicts peace and banqueting and harvesting.
Describe the “Victory Stele of Naram-Sin”.
This is a 7 foot tall stele depicting the king beating his enemies, showing him in a position of power.
How is the king portrayed?
He is portrayed as powerful and above the others using hierarchy of scale. Shown as having absolute power over everyone.
Who was Gudea?
Ruler of the Sumerian city Lagash, who helped them escape being taken over by the Guti.
How was his portrayal different from others?
Instead on being shown with absolute power his nobility and piety is portrayed.
Describe the “Code of Hammurabi”.
It is a stele with Hammurabi’s code of laws written on it, showing his power at the top of it.
What was its importance? What was the name of the God?
It is important because it is the first written laws, and they are in the composite twisted perspective, so this is the first time the eyes are not seen in a frontal view. He is approaching the throne of Shamesh.
What were lamassus?
They were sculpted statues in the passageway to the rulers throne room. Supernatural winged human headed bulls.
Where could one find them?
In the entrance to the rulers throne room.
What were their purposes?
They guarded the ruler and were a reminder of the kings divine right to rule.
What did the reliefs in the “Palace of Sargon II” depict?
They show hunting scenes with passive humans and detailed and expressive animals.
What do they say about this ethnical group?
It shows they valued courage and saw the king as powerful and brave.
What were the Persian columns capped with?
They were capped with paired bulls which served as brackets for the roof-beams.
How do we know that immortality and/or the after-life are important for the Egyptians?
We know the after life was important to the Egyptians because much of their artwork and rituals are based around their beliefs of what happens after someone dies.
What are hieroglyphics?
A type of language used by the Egyptians for records and history.
How did scholars translate Egyptian hieroglyphics? What did they record?
They found the Rosetta stone that had three translations, with one in Greek, and they used the Greek to translate the hieroglyphics. They recorded events going on or praised the gods.
How were the mastabas and step pyramids built?
The mastabas were built as large rectangle buildings with a shaft connecting them to underground tombs. This is the base and then as the family grows it can be expanded on. The step pyramids are a part of a larger complex, and are layers of stone creating a step like pattern up to the top.
sham structures- “dummy” buildings that aren’t meant for functional purposes. Have sand and rubble in them, built for the ka.
Drummed- columns made from stacked up cylinders.
Fluted- parallel groves close together on the columns
Capital- the head of a column
bud or bell capital- a bell shaped head on a column
engaged- columns attached to the wall (north palace)
in situ- in place
colossus- very large statue
Describe the Pyramids of Giza.
They are large limestone buildings with the corners pointing to the cardinal points. They are culturally important to the Egyptians and relate to their beliefs in the after life.
How do they portray Egyptian art?
They show the main parts of Egyptian art: order, stability, perpetuity, and an obsession with the after life.
Describe the Sphinx.
It is a lion with a man’s head, which is a mythical Egyptian creature. It was carved in place, and its great size was a symbol of royal power.
Compare and contrast how a pharaoh may be portrayed versus a scribe.
A pharaoh is often portrayed idealistically with a perfect body, and larger than life to show power. A scribe will more likely be portrayed realistically, maybe older and worn out, and not with an ideal body.
Why is there a difference?
There is a difference because art helps to reinforce the status and social structure of their society. Pharaohs are at the top so they are portrayed in a better manner than scribes, who aren’t as high on the social ladder.
Colonnaded Terraces- a row of columns supporting a ceiling
Obelisks- a tall, thin, stone shaft that rises to a pyramidal point
Hypostyle hall- when the roof is supported by a hallway of columns
Impost blocks- supportive items for lintels
Clerestory-when part of the roof is raised higher to allow light to come in
How did the art of the Amarna period reflect the revolution created by King Akhenaton?
Akhenaton’s revolution in religion is shown through the Amarna period as there was a shift in what gods were portrayed and how.
How was the pharaoh portrayed during the Amarna period?
King Akhenaton was portrayed realistically, with flaws, rather than idealistically.
Who was King Tutankhamen?
He became Egyptian king at 8 years old, but died at only 18.
Why was he significant?
He was significant due to the elaborate way his body was preserved and left with gifts. It allows us to learn about Egyptian customs and practices.
List the characteristics of the Cycladic sculptures?
They often ranged greatly in size from a couple inches tall to almost life size. They stressed the reproductive parts, and were very smooth figures, but with little details. Females were more commonly the subject matter of these sculptures, but men were shown too, often as musicians.
Describe the Knossos Palace.
It has lots of corridors, hallways, staircases and light wells or shafts. It had a large, open courtyard with mansions and villas around it.
How do Minoan columns differ from Egyptian columns?
The Minoan columns differ from the Egyptian ones in that they are only on one side of the building, the other supported by a wall. They are also in color to make them stand out, and the top appears to be larger than the bottom of the column.
Describe the Minoan frescos.
They depict scenes from everyday nature and life, use colors, and a profile point of view.
What characteristics do we see in them?
They have a thin silhouette, large eyes, and depict some sort of action
Describe the “Snake Goddess”.
It is a significant figure in Minoan culture. She is shown with lots of movement with a flowing dress and small waist. The purpose of the work is unknown, and there are multiple versions of this sculpture
How do we know that the Helladics/ Mycenaeans were a warrior race?
Because their palace was built into the side of mountain with the valley below for defensive purposes, and a large wall around it.
Describe the Lion Gate and its importance.
It is a large stone gate, with a triangular pediment, showing two lions on either side of it. It is important because it is considered the first royal symbol, and a gate to one of the first Western civilizations.
Describe the Treasury of Atreus.
It was built using Cyclopean masonry, and has a long tunnel or passageway leading into it. It has a beehive shaped tomb using corbelled vaulting.