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Art Exam

1. *ESSAY* Evaluate the social and economic changes that took place in human development in the art of this period and the ways in which art was affected by those changes. Be sure to use at least 3 examples from different chapters to support your essay.

Two factors of evolution that took place in the periods of Paleolith, Mesolith, and Neolith included the transition from gathering and hunting to actual food production and agriculture, as well as bringing stone implements into the common practice. Every period corresponds to the relevant kind of people’s activity. The period of gathering is referred to Paleolith; intensified gathering and dogs taming occurred in the late Mesolithic period. Community started to consider agriculture and production as a primary source of food only in the period of Neolith.

The life of people in times of Paleolith was simple: their main aim was to get the food and survive. Women were in charge of gathering and looking after the children while men did the hunting and getting the food to feed their communities. A typical picture of animals and handprints known as Spotted Horses was found in the cave at Pech-Merle. It can serve an example of the common lifestyle of those times. Hunting was the most essential activity, which provided food and ensured survival. Animals were of the greatest importance for the civilization of that time. The ancient Near East was the first location where the actual transition to the period of Neolith happened. The most characteristic feature of that development was the evolution of tools, which became much more sophisticated. There is some evidence left, for example, the one found by a well-known sophisticated human figure in Ain Ghazal, Jordan, the tiny Venus in Willendorf or the foot-high ivory statuette in Hohlenstein-Stadel, which are distinguished from other Paleolithic findings. 

The deities and religious beliefs defined the changes in the art of people of those times. In order to worship the gods, people had to build tall structures, like the Ziggurat in Ur, Mesopotamia. The majority of those mud brick structures were huge. The idea of monumentality was to get closer to the gods. People believed that the higher the building was, the nearer the God would be. It is not a unique idea; it can be traced back through several civilizations. The art was developing from the period of Paleolith to the period of Neolith, and it reflected the social changes in the community.

2.*ESSAY* Compare and contrast the three artworks below (Parthenon, Tyrns, Palace at Knossos). All three have the distinction of defining architecture for their culture. Relate what you have learned to use the architecture as evidence for the differences and similarities within these three cultures.

Great fires, which might have been caused by an earthquake, destroyed the old magnificent structures in about 1700 BC and marked the end of the Old Palace period. The palace of King Minos was built in the territory of a fertile flat land on the upper slopes across the peak of not a high hill. It was the largest palace at Knossos made up of the villas and mansions of the elite, which were situated around a huge rectangular court in the center.

The citadel of Tiryns was mentioned by Homer in his works. Known as Tiryns of the Great Walls, it was located at the distance of about ten miles from Mycenae. Enormous Cyclopean blocks of irregular form were piled horizontally and then cantilevered inward. The builders made the two walls meet in a pointed arch. Only the weight of those blocks, the clay filling the empty spaces, and the little stones as wedges made it possible to hold the vault.

Parthenon was different from the two above-mentioned buildings in terms of deviations from the accepted norms. The unique location of the structure required carving done in strict accordance with distinct specifications of almost every drum or block. Ancient Greeks aimed at achieving perfect mathematical patterns; however, this great intention was not implemented. Parthenon was built in accordance with the eye perspective. Contemporary researchers and scholars noticed a certain architectural contrapposto in the structure: a dynamic balance created by tilting of vertical lines and curving of horizontal ones. Such approach provided an outstanding sense of life to the Parthenon structure.

3. What was the importance of the Code of Hammurabi?

The importance of the Code of Hammurabi for the society of Babylon was immense. It was a collection of provisions and laws related to various spheres of life, including property rights, commerce, treatment of slaves, punishments for murder or theft, and many others.

4. How do the frescoes found on the island of Santorini (ancient Thera) shape our understanding of Minoan fresco painting?

While carrying out the excavation works in Akrotiri in 1967, the Greek archeologists came across the frescoes. Those Akrotiri mural paintings were outstanding art objects from the Crete frescoes. Santorini, a volcanic island, that used to be called Thera in the Cyclades islands, was located 60 miles to the north of Crete. Therefore, that was the time of the Minoan civilization on Thera.  

5. Why is Hatshepsut significant? What is unique about her mortuary temple?

The unique character of the Hatshepsut mortuary temple can be explained by its inimitable structure and the rhythm of darkness and light, which are similar to the limestone cliff pattern. It was created by the long vertical and horizontal lines of the colonnades of Hatshepsut. The paintings that show the first woman-governor in history and tribute to her are outstanding. They can be found only in Hatshepsut mortuary temple.

6. Discuss the importance of Paleolithic female figures.

The main idea behind the exaggerated bodies of Paleolithic female figures was glorification of fertility. The big stomachs and breasts of those women were represented on purpose since the role of women in the society of those times resolved itself to childbearing. In order to ensure wealthy and prosperous life of the communities, Paleolithic artists represented huge bodies of women.

7. What was the importance of Akhenaton to the development of Egyptian art?

The development of Egyptian art cannot be presented without the contribution of Akhenaton. He was the initiator of political, religious, and artistic revolutionary changes. One can see Akhenaton’s statues in many temples rebuilt by him. He not only worshipped the only god Aton, but also placed his own statues in religious places having abandoned worshipping numerous deities.

8. How did the Akkadians change the concept of royal power?

The concept of royal power was transformed by the Akkadians, who affirmed their loyalty, not to the state itself, but to a certain king.

9. Describe the Delian League. What was its original intention, and what was the subsequent political impact of the change in that direction?

A Greek alliance was formed after the Aegenean society had got rid of Persians. The Greeks were bound to defend themselves in case any new threat or civilization from the East appeared. Such newly formed confederacy got the name after its location. The headquarters of the league were on the island of Delos, so it was logical to call it the Delian League. All confederacy members enjoyed the same rights, powers, and vote. However, the first state member that voted was Athens. They also selected the cities, which were supposed to pay a yearly fee to the treasure of Delos or to furnish the ships.

10. Evaluate the difference between the early Greek Archaic kourous figures and its Egyptian prototype.

The Egyptian figure exerted enormous influence on the early Greek Archaickourous figures. The Egyptian art is considered the prototype of the succeeding Greek sculptures; however, there are certain differences and changes, which cannot be left without notice. For instance, Met Kouros can serve as a good example of such changes. Being based on the proportions of the prototype from Egypt, it can be considered a unique Greek piece of art that draws upon the traditions of Egypt. Greek Archaic kourous figures, on the hand, portray people at work but in the Egyptian style.  

11. Summarize the theories for the Minoan decline.

The researchers and scholars are still looking for the clue to the mystery of the Minoan decline. There is no unanimity of opinions. According to one theory, the end of the New Palace Period was marked with the settlement of the Mycenaean civilization on Crete. Some scholars believe that the Knossos palace could serve the intruders as a setting from where they had been ruling the island for more than fifty years. There is one more theory, according to which the volcanic activity was the reason of the Minoan decline. It was a common phenomenon at that time, so the eruption was so massive that it destroyed not only the land, but also the civilization that inhabited that area.

12. Define the Severe Style and how it relates to the development of Greek sculpture. Make brief note of the type of sculpture directly before and after.

The clad figures referred to the late archaic period can be contrasted to the Olympia figures, which are created in a completely different style. The latter may be dated back to the early classic stage of the Greek art, which is called the Severe Style. The most characteristic features of the Severe Style are the archaic poses, representing feet and head in opposite directions and an insignificant twist of waist.  

13. Use the below image of Praxiteles Hermes to discuss Polykleitos.

Praxiteles got well-known as an artist who could transform solid marble into soft living flesh. One of the greatest sensations of that period was the Aphrodite of Knidos that showed the erotic feminine body. It was the first statue that portrayed the goddess completely naked. In those times, only the vases used for household purposes showed the naked female bodies, but not actual pieces of art. Praxiteles was a revolutionist in sculpture of that time. Everything to the tips of fingers was done in accordance with Polykleitos’s Canon.

14. How does the below image of the Sumerian Sound Box Lyre relate to Gilgamesh? 

The Sumerian Sound Box Lyre was found in the Ur city, in a royal grave. It is decorated with a bull’s head of lapis azure and gold leaf. It is also adorned with the figures of Gilgamesh. There is no unanimous interpretation of the meaning of animation scenes shown on the lyre.

15. Use the image below of the Hall of Bulls to define twisted perspective.

The cave painting is created in a composite view or the so-called twisted perspective. It is possible since the painter represents the horns of the bulls from the frontal perspectives while the animals themselves are shown from a profile one. Thus, the artist gave preference to painting the animals from various angles over the fixed one. 

16. Relate Horus to the below image of Khafre Seated. 

The sculpture of Khafre is typical to traditional sculptures of Egypt. It shows him sitting upright in a kilt. Two lion bodies form his throne. The interlaced plants of papyrus and lotus are the symbols of unity of Lower and Upper Egypt. The falcon god Horus is protecting the pharaoh extending his wings. The forehead of Kharfe is covered with a royal linen headdress that has a uraeus cobra. It falls over his shoulders. He also has a fake beard and a classical smile in the archaic style.

17. What does the Amarna period have to do with the below image of King Tut's Sarcophagus?

The image represents the mommy of the pharaoh in a shrine. There were three coffins placed inside each other. His body was put in the smallest coffin, which was the most luxurious and decorated one. It was done on purpose, in order to glorify the exclusive power of the ruler in the kingdom.  

18. Why is Homer's Illiad important to the below image of Tyrns?

In his work, Homer referred to the Tiryns citadel situated at a distance of about 10 miles from Mycenae. He called it the Tiryns of the Great Walls. In the second century, the author of Greek guidebook, Pausanias visited that forgotten place and was astonished when he saw the fortifications towering there. Describing them, he drew a parallel between the monumental and spectacular walls of the Tiryns citadel and the Egyptian pyramids.

19. Define Pediment and how it is used in this image of the Parthenon.

The entablature of the structure defines its specific composition. It consists of three parts. They are an architrave, a frieze, and a cornice. The architrave is divided into three bands placed horizontally according to the Ionic order. It is the main element that ensures bearing and distributing weight. The pediment is concealed with a molded horizontal projection that forms a triangle being joined with two sloping cornices.

20. How would you define the ground line in this image Hunting Lions? How is the use of a groundline here different from previous uses?

The ground line can be considered a break in the sculpture of Classic Greece. It is used to measure the space and all the details before erecting the columns, build proper structures, and create schemes and guides. According to the classic Greek approach, statuary frontal representations were not acceptable.

21. What is the importance of Labrys in conjunction with this image of the Bull Jumpers?

The painting shows movement and strength of a big animal. This effect is achieved by the painter, who elongated the body of a bull and used sweeping lines in order to emphasize its energy, fury, and violence. The sharp horns and galloping legs of a running bull created an impression of strength and quick movement. It was a new approach contrary to the one of the Egyptian art with its rigid figures and angularity. Minoan art was aimed at showing the elastic and flexible nature of moving and living objects. The artist used curved lines to depict movement though keeping the steadiness. The unique nature of the painting is also in opposition of women and men who are dressed differently.

22. What is the connection between this image of Aphrodite and Alexander the Great?

Vast territories in the east were conquered by the armies of Alexander the Great. Secularization of generally accepted traditional religious views can be clearly seen in the Aphrodite of Knidos figure. It was the first representation of a fully naked goddess that overwhelmed the public. The statues of nude women were very rare; thus, Praxiteles broke the set norms in the artistic world of that time.

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