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Describe and discuss the scene and style of painting of the amphora by Exekias (5-1). And: how does the treatment of the painted surface in relation to the vase shape compare and contrast to a Minoan vase- as discussed in class?
- It depicts a scene from the Trojan War showing a version of Greek’s legendary origin. The scene shows Achilles (left) and Ajax (right), great Greek warriors, sitting across from each other hunched over their dice game while leaning on their
- spears. Scribed into the scene, Ajax says three while Achilles challenges him with the winning roll of four. The protruding helmet on his head represents Achilles victory, while Ajax’s helmet remains rested on his shield behind him. Although the scene illustrates Achilles superiority in the harmless dice game, Achilles ironically is later killed afterwards in battle. After Achilles death, Ajax takes his own life overcome by grief. Space is represented by the overlay of spears and body parts in addition to crisscrossing diagonals. The contrasting background
- intensifies the detailed work of the Achilles and Ajax also giving them the illusion of being three-dimensional. The placement and position of each element in the scene directly corresponds and compliments the shape of the vase, for
- instance, the hunched over backs with the shape of the form and the shields with the handles.
- The Greek vase has a very framed and structured scene in contrast to the Minoan vase that covered the entire vase in marine style. They both had use of the potter’s
- wheel allowing for a very similar shape, but Greeks illustrated an illusionistic approach opposite of the Minoan vase.
. What was the political system of the Greeks after they started, and what was each part called (102)? Describe.
- During the ninth and eighth centuries BCE, Greek society was arranged into independently governed city-states.
- Each city-state was an autonomous region with a cit- Athens, Corinth, Sparta- as its political, economic, religious, and cultural center. Each had its own form of government and economy, and each managed its own domestic and foreign affairs. The power of these city-states initially depended at least as much on their manufacturing and commercial skills as on their military might. Among the emerging city-states, Corinth, located on major land and sea trade routes, was one of the oldest and most powerful. By the sixth centuty BCE, Athens rose to commercial and cultural preeminence. Soon it had also established a representative government in which every community had its own assembly and magistrates. All citizens participated in the assembly and all had an equal right to own private property, to exercise freedom of speech, to vote and hold public office, and to serve in the army or navy. Citizenship, however, was open only to Athenian men. The census of 309 BCE in Athens listed 21,000 citizens, 10,000 foreign residents, and 400,000 others- that is, women, children, and slaves.
What were the general religious beliefs of the Greeks, and how were they different than the Egyptians?
According to ancient Greek legend, the creation of the world involved a battle between the earth gods, called Titans, and the sky gods. The victors were the sky gods, whose home was believed to be atop Mount Olympos in the northeast corner of the Greek mainland. The Greeks saw their gods as immortal and endowed with supernatural powers, but more than people of the ancient Near East and the Egyptians, they also visualized them in human form and attributed to the human weaknesses and emotions. Among the most important deities were the supreme god and goddess, Zeus and Hera, and their offspring.
When and what was the Geometric period, and what gave it the name? Describe the subject and style of the
funerary krater (5-2), as well as the function of the vessel.
What we call the Geometric period flourished in Greece between 900 and 700 BCE, especially in the decoration of ceramic vessels with linear motifs, such as spirals, diamonds, and cross-hatching. This abstract vocabulary is strikingly different from the stylized plants, birds, and sea creatures that had characterized Minoan pots. Large funerary vessels were developed at this time for use as grave markers, many of which have been uncovered at the ancient cemetery of Athens just outside the Dipylon Gate, once the main western entrance into the city. The funerary krater (5-2) provides a detailed pictorial record of funerary rituals- including the relatively new Greek practice of cremation- associated with the important person whose death is commemorated by this work. On the top register, the body of the deceased is depicted laying on its side atop a funeral bier, about to be cremated. Male and female figures stand on each side of the body, their arms raised and both hands placed on top of their heads in a gesture of anguish, as if these mourners were literally tearing their hair out with grief. In the register underneath, horse-drawn chariots and footsoldiers, who look like walking shields with tiny antlike heads and muscular legs, move in solemn procession. Te geometric shapes used to represent human figures on this pot- triangles for torsos; more triangles for the heads in profile; round dots for eyes; long, thin rectangles for arms; tiny waists; and long legs with bulging thigh and calf muscles- are what has given the Geometric style its name. Figures are shown in either full-frontal or full-profile views that emphasize flat patterns and crisp outlines. Any sense of the illusion of three-dimensional forms occupying real space has been avoided but the artist has captured a deep sense of human loss by exploiting the stylized solemnity and strong rhythmic accents of the carefully arranged elements.
Name 5 Greek gods and describe their look and duties. How are they different than Egyptian gods?
The Five Children of Earth and sky: Zeus (Jupiter), supreme Olympian deity. Mature, bearded man, often holding scepter or lightning bolt; sometimes represented as an eagle. Hera (Juno), goddess of marriage. Sister/wife of Zeus. Mature woman; cow and peacock are sacred to her. Hestia (Vesta), goddess of the hearth. Sister of Zeus. Her sacred flame burned in communal hearths. Poseidon (Neptune), god of the sea. Holds a three-pronged spear. Hades (Pluot), god of the underworld, the dead, and wealth.
What is a Greek sanctuary? Explain, and name 2 examples. What was Delphi known for since early times?
How are Greek sanctuaries different than Egyptian temple complexes?
- Many sites throughout Greece, called sanctuaries, were thought to be sacred to one or more gods. The earliest sanctuaries included outdoor altars or shrines and a sacred natural element such as a tree, a rock, or a spring. As more buildings were added, a sanctuary might become a palatial home for the gods, with one or more temples, several treasuries for storing valuable offerings, various monuments and statues, housing for priests and visitors, an outdoor dance floor or permanent theater for ritual performances and literary competitions, and a stadium for athletic events. The Sanctuary of Zeus near Olympia, in the western Peloponnese, housed an extensive athletic facility with training rooms and arenas for track-and-field events. It was here that athletic competitions, prototypes of today’s Olympic Games, were held.
- Greek sanctuaries are quite different form the religious complexes of the ancient Egyptians. Egyptian builders dramatized the power of gods or god-rulers by organizing their temples along straight, processional ways. The Greeks, in contrast, treated each building and monument as an independent element to be integrated with the natural features of the site, in an irregular arrangement that emphasized the exterior of each building as a discrete sculptural form on display.
Name the 2 Archaic statue types for men and women, and describe & explain the chief common features of each.
Sculptors of the Archaic period created a new type of large, free-standing statue made of wood, terra cotta (clay fired over low heat, sometimes unglazed), limestone, or white marble from the islands of Paros and Naxos. These free-standing figures were brightly painted and sometimes bore inscriptions indicating that individual men or women had commissioned them for a commemorative purpose. They have been found marking graves and in sanctuaries, where they lined the sacred way from the entrance to the main temple. A female statue of this type is called a kore (plural, korai), Greek for “young woman,” and a male statue is called a kouros (plural, kouroi), Greek for “young man.” Archaic korai, always clothed, probably represented deities, priestesses, and nymphs, yound female immortals who served as attendants to gods. Kouroi, nearly always nude, have been variously identified as gods, warriors, and victorious athletes. Because the Greeks associated young, athletic males with fertility and family continuity, the kouroi figures may have symbolized ancestors.
Look and describe all the ways an Archaic Greek male figure is similar to an Egyptian one, and how different.
A kouros dated about 600 BCE recalls the pose and proportions of Egyptian sculpture. As with Egyptian figures such as the statue of Menkaure, this young Greek stands rigidly upright, arms at his sides, fist clenched, and one leg slightly in front of the other. However, the Greek artist has cut away all stone from around the body to make the human form freestanding. Archaic kouroi are also much less lifelike than their Egyptian forebears. Anatomy is delineated with linear ridges and grooves that form regular, symmetrical patterns. The head is ovoid and schematized, and the wig like hair evenly knotted into tufts and tied back with a narrow ribbon. The eyes are relatively large and wide open, and the mouth forms a conventional closed-lip expression known as the Archaic smile. In Egyptian sculpture, male figures usually wore clothing associated with their status, such as the headdresses, necklaces, and kilts that identified them as kings. The total nudity of the Greek kouroi is unusual in ancient Mediterranean cultures, but it is acceptable- even valued in the case of young men. Not so with women.
In what ways was there rapid change in male and female figures in the Archaic into Classical periods?
In the remarkably short time of only a few generations, Greek sculptors had moved far from the stiff frontality of the Archaic kouroi to a more relaxed, lifelike figures.
How did sculpture of the human figure evolve in the Classical period? Describe with specifics in terms of the
Kritian Boy and Warrior A from Riace.
The softly rounded body forms, broad facial features, and calm expression- there is not even a trace of an Archaic smile- give the figure an air of self confident seriousness. He strikes an easy pose quite unlike the rigid bearing of Archaic kouroi. His weight rests on his left, engaged leg, while his right, relaxed leg bends slightly at the knee, and a noticeable curve in his spine counters the slight shifting of his hips and a subtle drop of one of his shoulders. We see here the beginnings of contrapposto, the convention of presenting standing figures with opposing alternations of tension and relaxation around a central axis that will dominate Classical art. The slight turn of the head invites the spectator to follow his gaze and move around the figure, admiring the small marble statue from every angle.
When was the ‘High Classical’ period? What is the problem with designating this period? What was the real political situation in Athens in this period? What did they accomplish, under what leader? What were that leader’s qualities, and what did he famously say of Athens?
- 450-400 BCE. The “High” Classical period of Greek art lasted only a half-century, 450 to 400 BCE. The use of the word “high” to qualify to art of this time reflects the value judgment of art historians who have considered this period a pinnacle of artistic refinement, producing works that set a standard of unsurpassed excellence. Some have even referred to this half-century as Greece’s “Golden Age,” although these decades were also marked by turmoil and destruction. Without a common enemy, Sparta and Athens turned on each other in a series of conflicts known as the Peloponnesian War. Sparta dominated the Peloponnese peninsula and much of the rest of mainland Greece, while Athens controlled the Aegean and became the wealthy and influential center of a maritime empire. Today we remember Athens more for its cultural and intellectual brilliance and its experiments with democratic government, which reached its zenith in the fifth century BCE under the charismatic leader Perikles (c. 495-429 BCE), than for the imperialistic tendencies of its considerable commercial power.
- Except for a few brief interludes, Perikles dominated Athenian politics and culture from 462 BCE until his death in 429 BCE. Although comedy writers of the time sometimes mocked him, call him “Zeus” and “The Olympian” because of his haughty personality; he was a dynamic, charismatic political and military leader. He was also a great patron of the arts, supporting the use of Athenian wealth for the adornment of the city and encouraging artist to promote a public image of peace, prosperity, and power. Perikles said of his city and its accomplishments: “Future generations will marvel at us, as the present age marvels at us now.” It was a prophecy he himself helped fulfill.
What leader oversaw the building of the Parthenon? What was the leader’s argument and goal in initiating the building? What was the military/political background to the building of the Parthenon, and what victory does it celebrate, over what enemy?
Pheidias supervised the entire project. The sculptural decoration of the Parthenon reflects Pheidias’ unifying aesthetic vision. At the same time, it conveys a number of political and ideological themes; the triumph of the democratic Greek city-states over imperial Persia, the preeminence of Athens thanks to favor of Athena, and the triumph of an enlightened Greek civilization over despotism and barbarism.
Define Acropolis. Describe a visitor’s route up the Acropolis by 400 BC- what were the gates called, what small temple was there, what giant statue was outside, by what sculptor – and what was its effect to sailors at sea; what all was at the top of the Acropolis; what side of the Parthenon would they pass by- with what effect; and what would they finally see with priests’ permission? What was its material, and what parts made up the subject of the piece?
- “Part of the city on top of a hill” the later served as a fortress and sanctuary. As the city grew, the Acropolis became the religious and ceremonial center devoted primarily to the goddess Athena, the city’s patron and protector. Visitors to the Acropolis in 400 BCE would have climbed a steep ramp on the west side of the hill to the sanctuary entrance, perhaps pausing to admire the small temple dedicated to Athena Nike (Athena as goddess of victory in war), poised on a projection of rock above the ramp. After passing through an impressive porticoed gatehouse called the Propylaia, they would have seen a huge bronze figure of Athena Promachos (the Defender), designed and executed by Pheidias between about 465 and 455 BCE. Sailors entering the Athenian port of Piraeus, about 10 miles away, could see the sun reflected off her helmet and spear tip. Behind this statue was a walled precinct that enclosed the Erechtheion, a temple dedicated to several deities.
- Religious buildings and votive statues filled the hilltop. On the right stood the largest building on the Acropolis- the Parthenon, a temple dedicated to Athena Parthenos (the Virgin). Visitors approached the temple from its northwest corner, seeing both its short and long side, instantly grasping the imposing size of this building, isolated like a work of sculpture elevated on a pedestal. With permission from the priests, they could have climbed the east steps to look into the cella, where they would have seen Pheidias’ colossal gold and ivory statue of Athena- outfitted in armor and holding a shield in one hand and a winged Nike (Victory) in the other- which was installed in the temple and dedicated 438 BCE.
What are pediments, and what type of decoration covered them; and what subjects were shown on each end?
Describe the scene on the east pediment, with characters and story. What are the style features of these reliefs, as shown by the 3 goddesses at the right?
- As with most temples, sculpture in the round filled both pediments of the Parthenon, set on the deep shelf of the cornice and secured to the wall with metal pins. Unfortunately, much has been damaged or log over the centuries. Using the locations of the pinholes and weathering marks on the cornice, scholars have been able to determine the placement of surviving statues and infer the poses of missing ones. The west pediment sculpture, facing the entrance to the Acropolis, illustrated the contest Athena won over the sea god Poseidon for rule over the Athenians. The east pediment figures, above the entrance to the cella, illustrated the birth of Athena, fully grown and clad in armor, from the brow of her father, Zeus.
- The statues from the east pediment are the best preserved of the two groups (FIG.5-32). Flanking the missing central figures- probably Zeus seated on a throne with the newborn adult Athena standing at his side-were groups of three goddesses followed by single reclining male figures. In the left corner was the sun god Helios in his horse-drawn chariot rising from the sea, while at the right the moon goddess Selene descends in her chariot to the sea, the head of her tired horse hanging over the cornice. The reclining male nude, who fits so easily into the left pediment, has been identified as either Herakles with his lion’s skin or Dionysos (god of wine) lying on a panther skin. His easy pose conforms to the slope of the pediment without a hint of awkwardness. The two-seated women may be the earth and grain goddesses Demeter and Persephone. The running female figure just to the left of center is Iris, messenger of the gods, already spreading the news of Athena’s birth.
- The three female figures on the right side, two sitting upright and one reclining, are probably Hestia (a sister of Zeus and the goddess of the hearth), Dione (one of Zeus’s many consorts), and her daughter, Aphrodite. These monumental interlocked figures seem to be awakening from a deep sleep. The sculpture, whether Pheidias or someone working in his style, expertly rendered the female form beneath the fall of draperies, which both cover and reveal their bodies. The clinging fabric also creates circular patterns rippling with a life of their own and uniting the three figures into a single mass.
What is a Doric frieze (p. 110 and glossary), what are are metopes, and what do these on the Parthenon depict in general, and in the image (5-33)? How is the scene composed?
- The all-marble Parthenon had two sculptured friezes, one above the outer peristyle and another atop the cella wall inside. The Doric frieze on the exterior had 92 metope reliefs depicting legendary battles, symbolized by combat between two representatives figures: a centaur against a Lapith (a legendary people of pre-Hellenistic times); a god against a Titan; a Greek against a Trojan; a Greek against an Amazon (members of the mythical tribe of female warriors sometimes said to be the daughters of the war god Ares). Each of these mythic struggles represented for the Greeks the triumph of reason over unbridled animal passion.
- Among the best-preserved metope reliefs are several depicting the battle between Lapiths and centaurs from the south side of the Parthenon. The panel shown (FIG. 5-33) presents a pause within the fluid struggle, a timeless image standing for an extended historical episode. Forms are reduced to their most characteristic essentials, and so dramatic is the chiasmic (X-shaped) composition that we easily accept its visual contradictions. The Lapith is caught at an instant of total equilibrium. What could be a gueling tug-of-war between a man and a man-beast has been transformed into an athletic ballet, choreographed to show off the Lapit warrior’s flexed muscles and graceful movements against the implausible backdrop of his carefully draped cloak.
What is the Processional Frieze, and where is it on the Parthenon? What subject does it show? Describe the detail of the frieze in 5-34. What are the style and composition features of it, as on p. 134-5?
- Enclosed within the Parthenon’s Doric peristyle, a continuous, 525-foot-long Ionic frieze ran along the exterior wall of the cella. The subject is a procession celebrating the festival that took place in Athens every four years, when the women of the city wove a new wool peplos and carried it to the Acropolis to clothe an ancient wooden cult statue of Athena.
- In Pheidias’ portrayal of this major event, the figures-skilled riders managing powerful steeds, for example (FIG. Horsemen 5-34), or graceful but physically sturdy young walkers (FIG. Marshals and Young Women 5-35)- seem to be representative types, ideal inhabitants of a successful city-states, the underlying message of the frieze as a whole is that the Athenians are a healthy, vigorous people, united in a democratic civic body looked upon with favor by the gods. The people are inseparable from and symbolic of the city itself.
- As with the metope relief of the Lapith Fighting a Centaur (FIG. 5-33), viewers of the processional frieze easily accept its disproportion, spatial compression and incongruities, and such implausible compositional features as men and women standing as tall as rearing horses. Carefully planned rhythmic variations- indicating changes in the speed of the participants in the procession as it winds around the walls- contribute to the effectiveness of the frieze. Horses plunge ahead at full gallop; women proceed with a slow, stately step; parade marshals pause to look back at the progress of those behind them; and human-looking deities res on conveniently placed benches as they await the arrival of the marchers.
- In executing the frieze, the sculptors took into account the spectators’ low viewpoint and the dim lighting inside the peristyle. They carved the top of the frieze band in higher relief than the lower part, thus tilting the figures out to catch the reflected light from the pavement, permitting a clearer reading of the action. The subtleties in the sculpture may not have been as evident to Athenians in the fifth century BCE as they are now, because the frieze, seen at the top of a high wall and between columns, was originally completely painted. Figures in red and ocher, accented with glittering gold and real metal details, were set against a contrasting background of dark blue.
5.1 Discuss the emergence of a characteristically Greek approach to the representation of the male nude by comparing the Anavysos Kouros (FIG. 5-18) and the Kritios Boy (FIG. 5-23). What has changed and what remains constant?
Throughout the Archaic period the Greek approached the male nude in a very stiff frontal perspective similar to Egyptian sculptures. In the Archaic period the Kouros are much less realistic than the Egyptian statues showing the Greeks were not very interested in natural anatomy. The artistic style was very geometric and the proportions were not very realistic. As the Greeks progressed from Archaic period to the Classical period there freestanding kouros became more and more realistic and relaxed. This concept was even apparent from the Metropolitan Kouros, dated about 600 BCE, to Anavysos Kouros, dated about 530 BCE. The stiff body position, hairstyle, and the Archaic smile in Anavysos Kouros reflected early Greek style. The anatomy became more realistic. Yet, there was an emerging masculinity and strength in the appearance of his body. The Anavysos Kouros and Kritios Boy are both symbolic of the Greek’s ideal of male youth, which is constant in the Greeks evolving representation in Kouros. Entering the Classical period, the body shape became much softer, while the facial features became widespread. The Archaic smile disappeared leaving a calm expression, which gave the sculpture poise. The slight turn of the head causes the viewer to follow his gaze and move around the figure. His posture and body position is much more relaxed compared to the Archaic kouroi. His weight is shifted into the left side of his hip, which was very different from the upright stiff pose of Anavysos Kouros. This pose demonstrated the weight shifting when the figure takes a step forward was displayed throughout Classical Art, including the Kritian Boy, known as contrapposto. Egyptian artist did not take the weight shift in account unlike Greeks, which proved the Greeks used real models. Although the Greeks were aware of the weight shift in the lower half of the body they ignored the upper half, which continued to reflect earlier kouros with frontal blocky shoulders.
How do the technical possibilities and limitations of black-figure and red-figure techniques affect the representation of the human form on ceramic vessels?
When using the black-figure technique, slip is applied to the outline of the desired form and then a reduction approach is used to create details in the silhouetted form. The areas where slip is removed turn red and the areas covered in slip with turn black once fired. Due to metallic pigments added to the slip can possibly add embellishment to the detailed design. Opposite to the black-figure technique is the red-figure technique. When applying slip using this technique the artist must focus on the negative space so the areas without slip will create the form. Instead of cutting through slip like in the black-figure technique, artist painted on liquid slip to add details. Using a brush created much more fluidity in detailed areas than in ones created using the black-figure technique resulting in the illusion of a more three-dimensional appearance than in the other technique.
5.5 In what ways do the Hellenistic sculptures of the Dying Gallic Trumpeter (FIG. 5-52) and The Great Altar from Pergamon (FIG. 5-54) depart from the norms of Classicism?
In the Hellenistic sculpture, like Dying Gallic Trumpeter and The Great Altar from Pergamon, Greeks deliberately tried to draw out an emotion from the audience, which began to occur throughout Hellenistic art. The Dying Gallic Tumpeter depicts a dying Celtic soldier-trumpeter. An intentional emotion reaction is stimulated by the figure’s sense of decorum and bravery when facing death. The viewers respond with great respect and empathy towards the conquered enemy. The Great Altar form Pergamon also evokes an emotional response from the viewer in a scene narrating the battle of gods and the giants. This battle in essence represented the Greeks rivalry with which they saw as uncivilized foreigners, known as barbarians. The fight illustrates the earth goddess, Ge, begging for Athena to spare her son’s life. Alkyoneos, Ge’s son, is depicted as monster with wings and snakes for legs, and is being defeated by Athena. The pain embodied in this sculpture brings forth the emotional response appropriate to the story the sculptor wanted to emphasize. But at the same time Hellenistic artists created a sense of balance and harmony in the three-dimensional work. The new dramatic and intense Hellenistic art not only captured an energy never seen before this period in Greek Art, but also forced the viewers to identify with the subjects.
What is the subject, and what all is shown in image 6-1? What is important about the subject for study of ancient women? What was the original setting of its display, and how is it now displayed? How does the present display hinder our understanding the painting’s full significance? Explain the irony in Pliny’s statement that “panel paintings were valuable because they could be removed in a fire,” in relation to this piece.
- This fresco- portraying a painter absorbed in her art- once decorated the walls of a house in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii. Like women in Egypt and Crete, Roman women were far freer and more wordly than their Greek counterparts. Many received a formal education and became physicians, writers, shopkeepers, even overseers in such male-dominated businesses as shipbuilding. But we have little information about the role women played in the visual arts, making the testimony of this picture all the more precious.
- The painter sits within a room that opens behind her to the outdoors, holding her palette in her left hand, a sign of her profession. Dressed in a long robe, covered by an ample mantle, her hair is pulled back by a gold headband; but lighting and composition highlight two other aspects of her body: her centralized face, which focuses intently on the subject of her painting- a sculptured rendering of the bearded fertility god Priapus appearing in the shadow of the right background- and her right arm, which extends downward so she can dip her brush into a paintbox that rests precariously on a rounded column drum next to her folding stool. A small child steadies the panel on which she paints, and two elegantly posed and richly dressed women- perhaps her patrons- stand next to a pier behind her. The art she is practicing reflects well on her social position. Pliny the Elder claimed “Among artists, glory is given only to those who paint panel paintings”. Wall paintings, he claimed, are of lesser value because they cannot be removed in case of fire. In this fresco, however, fixed positioning facilitated survival. When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 CE, it was wall paintings like this one that were preserved for rediscovery by eighteenth-century archaeologists.
What people controlled central and north Italy by the seventh c BC? What is that area called today?
What were their sources of wealth, what were their main activities, and what influences fed into their art?
What were the chief Etruscan art media?
From the seventh century BCE, people known as Etruscans, probably related to the Villanovans, gained control of the north and much of today’s central Italy, an area known as Etruris. Etruscans wealth came from fertile soil and an abundance of metal ore. Both farmers and metalworkers, the Etruscans were also sailors and merchants, and they exploited their resources in trade with the Greeks and with other people of the eastern Mediterranean. Etruscan artists knew and drew inspiration from Greek and Near Eastern art, assimilating such influences to create a distinctive Etruscan style. The chief Etruscan art media was figurative sculpture in terracotta and cast bronze, wall painting and metalworking.
How is the Apollo
of Veii (6-5) similar, and different from Greek kouros figures? What is
depicted on the Sarcophagus from
Cerveteri? What aspect of Etruscan cities was passed on to Roman city
- •Apollo of Veii
- o510-500 BC 6-5
- •Compares with a Greek Kouros figure
- oArchaic smile
- oEyes and general facial features
- oStepping forward (much more than Greek)
- •Proof they weren’t just copiers of the Greeks
- •Breaking out into space like Lyspipus
- On the terra-cotta Sarcophagus from Cerveteri, dating from about 520 BCE, a husband and wife are shown reclining comfortably on a dining couch. The smooth, lifelike forms of their upper bodies are vertical and square-shouldered, but their hips and extended legs seem to sink into the softness of the couch. Rather than a somber memorial to the dead, we encounter two lively individuals with alert eyes and warm smiles. The man once raised a drinking vessel, addressing the viewer with the lively and engaging gesture of a genial host, perhaps offering an invitation to dine with them for eternity or to join them in the sort of convivial festivities recorded in the paintings on the walls of Etruscan tombs.
- Cities were laid out on grid plans, like cities in Egypt and Greece, but with a difference: Two main streets- one usually running north- south and the other east-west- divided the city into quarters, with the town’s business district centered at their intersection.
. What was the early relation of the Etruscans to the Romans (p. 168)? When did that change, with what result? What great African city did the Romans conquer in establishing their empire? Find it on the map 6-1.
- At the same time that the Etruscan
- civilization was flourishing, the Latin-speaking inhabitants of Rome began to
- develop into a formidable power. For a time, kings of Etruscan lineage ruled
- them, but in 509 BCE the Romans overthrew them and formed a republic centered
- in Rome. The Etruscans themselves were absorbed by the Roman Republic at the
- end of the third century BCE, by which time Rome had steadily expanded its
- territory in many directions. The Romans unified what is now Italy and, after
- defeating their rival, the North African city-state of Carthage, they
- established an empire that encompassed the entire Mediterranean region.
What was the largest extent of the Roman Empire, and when was it largest? What did they call the Mediterranean, why? What were the results for those conquered?
At the greatest extent, in the early second century CE, the Roman Empire reached from the Euphates River, in southwest Asia, to Scotland. It ringed the Mediterranean Sea- mare nostrum, or “out sea,” the Romans called it. Those who were conquered by the Romans gradually assimilated Roman legal administrative, and cultural structures that endured form some five centuries- and in the eastern Mediterranean until the fifteenth century CE-and left a lasting mark on the civilizations that emerged in Europe.
Describe the two origin legends of the Romans, with names. What writer told the latter, in what book?
What is the actual origin story of Rome, according to archaeology? In what time frames?
- The Romans saw themselves as descendents of heroic ancestors. Two popular legends told the story of Rome’s founding. One focused on Romulus and Remus, twin sons of the god Mars and mortal woman, who were abandoned on the banks of the Tiber River and discovered by a she-wolf, who nursed them as her own pups. When they reached adulthood, the twins built a city near the place of their rescue. The other story of Romes’s founding is part of Virgil’s Aeneid, where the poet claims the Roman people to be descendants of Aeneas, a Trojan who was the mortal son of Venus. Aeneas and some companions escaped form Troy and made their way to the Italian peninsula. Their sons were the Romans, the people who in fulfillment of a promise by Jupiter to Venus were destined to rule the world.
- Archaeologists and historians present a more mundane picture of Rome’s orgins. In Neolithic times, people settled in permanent villages on the plains of Latium, south of the Tiber River, and on the Palatine, one of the seven hills that would eventually become the city of Rome. By the sixth century BCE, these modest towns had become a major transportation hub and trading center.
What form did Roman religion take, and what were mystery cults?
The Romans assimilated Greek gods, myths, religious beliefs and practices into their state religion. They also deified their emperors. Worship of ancient gods mingled with homage to past rulers, and oaths of allegiance to the living ruler made the official religion a political duty. Religious worship became increasingly ritualized, perfunctory, and distant from the everyday life of most people. Many Romans adopted the so-called mystery religions of the people they had conquered. Worship of Isis and Osiris from Egypt, Cybele (the Great Mother) from Anatolia, the hero-god Mithras form Persia, and the single, all-powerful God of Judaism and Christianity from Palestine challenged the Roman establishment. These unauthorized religions flourished alongside the state religion, with its Olympian deities and deified emperors, despite occasional government efforts to suppress them.
What was the first period of independent Roman history after the Etruscans, and when did it exist? What two classes formed the populace?
Kings and an advisory body of leading citizens called the Senate from 509-27 BCE governed early Rome known as the Republic. The population was divided into two classes: a wealthy and powerful upper class, the patricians, and a lower class, the plebeians. In 1509 BCE, Romans overthrew the last Etruscan king and established the Roman Republic as an oligarchy, a government by the aristocrats that would last about 450 years.
List the notable cities conquered in the rise of Roman domination, and their dates.
As a result of its stable form of government, and especially of its encouragement of military conquest, by 275 BCE Rome controlled the entire Italian peninsula. By 146 BCE, Rome had defeated its great rival, Carthage, on the north coast of Africa, and taken control of the western Mediterranean. By the mid second century BCE, Rome had taken Macedonia and Greece, and by 44 BCE, it had conquered most of Gaul (present-day France) as well as the eastern Mediterranean. Egypt remained independent until Octavian defeated Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BCE.
Write Horace’s quote, and explain its significance for Roman art and culture. (it’s there- find it!)
During the Republic, Roman art was rooted in its Etruscan heritage, but territorial expansion brought wider exposure to the arts of other cultures, Like the Etruscans, the Romans admired Greek art. As Horace wrote (Epistulae II, 1): “Captive Greece conquered her savage conquered her savage conquerors and brought the arts to rustic Latium.” The Romans used Greek designs and Greek orders in their architecture, imported Greek art and employed Greek artists. In 146 BCE, for example, they stripped the Greek city of Cornith of its art treasures and shipped them back to Rome.
How would you say that Roman portraiture differed from
Egyptian, or Greek? From p. 170,
what were the origins of Roman portraits, according to Polybius? What is verism? Explain.
- Portrait sculptors
- of the Republican period sought to create lifelike images based on careful
- observation of their subjects, objectives that were related to the Romans’
- veneration of their ancestors and the making and public display of death masks
- of deceased relatives (see “Roman Portraiture,” page 170). Perhaps growing out
- of this early tradition of maintaining images of ancestors as death masks, a
- new roman artistic ideal emerged during the Republican period in relation to
- portrait sculpture, an ideal quite different from the one we encountered in
- Greek Classicism. Instead of generalizing a human face, smoothed of its
- imperfections and caught in a moment of detached abstraction, this new Roman
- idealization emphasized- rather than suppressed-the hallmarks of advanced age
- and the most distinguishing aspects of individual likenesses. This mode is most
- prominent in bust portraits of Roman patricians, whose time worn faces embody
- the wisdom and experience that come with old age. Frequently we take these
- portraits of wrinkled elders at face value, as highly realistic and faithful
- descriptions of actual human beings-contrasting Roman realism with Greek
- idealism-but there is a good reason to think that these portraits actually
- conform to a particularly Roman type of idealization that underscores the
- effects of aging on the human face.
- According to
- Polybius, “… after the interment [of the illustrious man] and the performance
- of the usual ceremonies, they place the image of the departed in the most
- conspicuous position in the house, enclosed in a wooden shrine. This image is a
- mask reproducing with remarkable fidelity both the features and the complexion
- f the deceased. On the occasion of public sacrifices, they display these
- images, and decorate them with much care, and when any distinguished member of
- the family dies they take them to the funeral, putting them on men who seem to
- bear the closest resemblance to the original in stature and carriage… There
- could not easily be a more ennobling spectacle for a young man who aspires to
- fame and virtue. For who would not be inspired by the sight of the images of
- men renowned for their excellence, all together and as if alive and
- breathing?... By this means, by the constant renewal of the good report of
- brave men, the celebrity of those who performed noble deeds is rendered
- immortal, while at the same time the fame of those who did good services to
- their country becomes known to the people and a heritage for future
- generations. (The Histories, VII, 53, 54, trans. W. R. Paton, Loeb Library ed.)
- Growing out of this
- heritage, Roman Republican portraiture is frequently associated with the notion
- of verism- an interest in the faithful reproduction of the immediate visual and
- tactile appearance of subjects. Since we find in these portrait busts the same
- sorts of individualizing physiognomic features that allow us to differentiate
- among the people we know in out own world, it is easy to assume they are exact
- likenesses of their subjects as they appeared during their lifetime. Of course,
- this is impossible to verify, but our strong desire to believe it must realize
- the intentions of the artists who made these portraits and the patrons for whom
- they were made.
. Describe the use of verism in the Portrait of an Elder (6-13). What ideals does it express?
Perhaps growing out of this early tradition of maintaining images of ancestors as death masks, a new roman artistic ideal emerged during the Republican period in relation to portrait sculpture, an ideal quite different from the one we encountered in Greek Classicism. Instead of generalizing a human face, smoothed of its imperfections and caught in a moment of detached abstraction, this new Roman idealization emphasized- rather than suppressed-the hallmarks of advanced age and the most distinguishing aspects of individual likenesses. This mode is most prominent in bust portraits of Roman patricians (portrait head of an elder), whose time worn faces embody the wisdom and experience that come with old age. Frequently we take these portraits of wrinkled elders at face value, as highly realistic and faithful descriptions of actual human beings-contrasting Roman realism with Greek idealism-but there is a good reason to think that these portraits actually conform to a particularly Roman type of idealization that underscores the effects of aging on the human face.
.What were the dates of the Roman Empire (p. 174)? What was the birth name of the first emperor; whose adopted heir was he? How did he come to power, when? What name did he receive in 27 BC? Who was his wife?
What were the effects of his rule?
- 27 BCE-96 CE. The first Roman emperor was born Octavian in 63 BCE. When he was only 18 years ld, his brillian great-uncle, Julius Caesar, adopted him as son and heir. Shortly after Julius Caesar refused the Senate’s offer of the imperial crown, early in 44 BCE, he was murdered by a group of conspirators, and the 19-year-old Octavian stepped up. By 27 BCE, the Senate had conferred on him the title of Augustus (meaning “exalted,” “sacred”). Assisted by his astute and pragmatic second wife, Livia, Augustus led the state and the empire for 45 years. He established efficient rule and laid the foundation for an extended period of stability, domestic peace, and economic properity known as the Pax Romana (“Roman Peace”), which lasted over 200 years (27 BCE to 180 CE). In 12 CE, 2 years before his death, he was given the title Pontifex Maximus (“High Priest”), becoming the empire’s highest religious official as well as its political leader.
- Conquering and maintaining a vast empire required not only the inspired leadership and tactics of Augustus, but also careful planning, massive logistical support, and great administrative skill. Some of Rome’s most enduring contributions to Western civilization reflect these qualities-its system of law, its governmental and administrative structures, and its sophisticated civil engineering and architecture.
What was the new art style developed by artists in the Augustan age? What culture influenced it?
- Roman artist of the
- Augustan age created a new style-a new Roman form of idealism that, though
- still grounded in the appearance of the everyday world, is heavily influenced
- by a revival of Greek Classical ideals. They enriched the art of portraiture in
- both official images and representations of private individuals, they recorded
- contemporary historical events on public monuments, and they contributed
- unabashedly to Roman imperial propaganda.
Describe the Augustus of Primaporta (6-18) in detail, with terms. What messages does it communicate, how?
In the sculpture known as Augustus of Primaporta-because it was discovered in Livia’s villa at Primaporta, near Rome-we see the emperor as he wanted to be seen and remembered. This work demonstrates the creative combination of earlier sculptural traditions that is a hallmark of Augustan art. In its idealization of a specific ruler and his prowess, the sculpture also illustrates the way Roman emperors would continue to use portraiture for propaganda. The sculptor of this larger-than-life marble statue adapted the standard pose of a Roman orator by melding it with the contrapposto and canonical proportions developed by the Greek High Classical sculptor Polykleitos, as exemplified by his Spear Bearer. Like the heroic Greek figure, Augustus’ portrait captures him in the physical prime of youth, far removed from the image of advanced age idealized in the coin portrait of Julius Caesar. Although Augustus lived to age 70, in his portraits he is always a vigorous rule, eternally young. But like Caesar, and unlike the Spear Bearer, Augustus’ face is rendered with the kind of details that make this portrait an easily recognizable likeness. To this combination of Greek and Roman traditions, the sculptor of the Augustus of Primaporta added mythological historical imagery that exalts Augusts’ family and celebrates his accomplishments. Cupid, son of the goddess Venus, rides a dolphin next to the emperor’s right leg, a reference to the claim of the emperor’s famly, the Julians, to descent form the goddess Venus through her human sonAeneas. Augustus’ anatomically conceived cuirass (torso armor) is also covered with figural imagery. Mid-torso is a scene representing Augustus’ 20 BCE diplomatic victory over the Parthians; a Parthian (on the right) returns a Roman military standard to a figure variously identified as a Roman soldier or the goddess Roma. Looming above this scene at the top of the cuirass is a celestial deity who holds an arched canopy, implying that the peace signified by the scene below has cosmic implications. The personification of the earth at the bottom of the cuirass holds an overflowing cornucopia, representing the prosperity that peace brings.
. Who were the Flavians, who was their first emperor, and when did he come to power?
The Julio-Claudian dynasty ended with the suicide of Nero in 68 CE, which led to a brief period of civil war. Eventually an astute general, Vespasian, seized control of the government in 69 CE, founding a new dynasty known as the first century. They restored the imperial finances and stabilized the frontiers. They also replaced the Julio-Claudian fashion for classicizing imperial portraiture with a rturn to the ideal of time-worn faces, enhancing the effects of old age.
What is the Arch of Titus? Describe it. What events does it celebrate? Describe the relief inside the arch (6-33).
- Among the most impressive surviving official commisoins from the Flavian dynasty is a distinctive Roman structure: the triumphal arch. Part architecture, part sculpture, the free-standing arch commemorates a triumph, or formal victory celebration, during which a victorious general or emperor paraded through Rome with his troops, captives, and booty. When Domitian assumed the throne in 81 CE, for example, he immediately commissioned a triumphal arch to honor the capture of Jerusalem in 70 CE by his brother and defied predecessor, Titus. The Arch of Titus, construced of concrete and faced with marble, is essentially a free-standing gateway whose passage is covered by a barrel vault. The arch served as a giant base, 50 feet tall, for a lost bronze statue of the emperor in a four-horse chariot, a typical triumphal symbol. Applied to the faces of the arch are colums in the Composite order supporting an entablature. The inscription on the uppermost, or attic, story declares that the Senate and the Roman people erected the monument to honor Titus. Titus’ capture of Jerusalem ended a fierce campaign to crush a revolt of the Jews in Palestine. The Romans sacked and destroyed the Second Temple in Jerusalem, carried off its sacred treasures, then displayed them in a triumphal procession in Rome. A relief on the inside walls of the arch, capturing the drama of the occasion, depicts Titus’ soldiers flaunting this booty as they carry it through the streets of Rome. The soldiers are headed toward the right and through an arch, turned obliquely to project into the viewers’ own space, thus allowing living spectators a sense of the press of a boisterous, disorderly crowd. They might expect at any moment to hear soldiers and onlookers shouting and chanting.
- The mood of the procession depicted in this relief contrasts with the relaxed but formal solemnity of the procession portrayed on the Ara PAcis. Like the sculptors of th eAra PAcis, the sculptors of the Arch of Titus showed the spatial relationships among figures, varying the depth of the relief by rendering nearer elements in higher relief than those more distant. A menorah, or seven-branched lampholder, form the Temple of Jerusalem, dominates the scene; the sculptors rendered it as if seen from the low point of view of a spectator at the event.
What nickname has been given to the Flavian Amphitheater? Why did it get that name? Who began building it, when? What are its dimensions? Describe the opening ceremonies in 80 AD. How many could it hold?
The Flavian Amphitheater came to be known as the “Colosseum,” because a gigantic statue of Nero called the Colossus stood nest to it. “Colosseum” is a most appropriate desciption of this enormous entertainment center. Rome’s greates arena, began under Vespasian in 70 CE and was completed uner Titus, who dedicated it in 80 CE.Its outer walls stands 159 feet high. It is an oval, measuring 615 by 510 feet, with a floor 280 by 175 feet. This floor was laid over a foundation of service rooms and tunnels that proved an area for the athletes, performers, animals, and equipment. The floor was covered between gladiators or between gladiators and wild animals, performances of trained animals and acrobats, and even mock sea battles, for which the arena would be flooded. The opening performances in 80 CE lasted 100 days, during which time it was claimed that 9,00 wild animals and 2,000 gladiators died for the amusement of the spectators. 50,000 spectators could move easily through the 76 doors to the three levels of seats and the standing area at the top.
How did the Amphitheater use vaulting, including groin vaults? Why were sailors employed here? Describe the exterior of the Amphitheater, with its three levels.
Each level of seats was laid over barrel-vaulted access corridors and entrance tunnels. The intersection of the barrel-vaulted entrance tunnels and the ring corridors created groin vaults. The walls on the top level of the arena supported a huge awning that could shade the seating areas. Sailors, who had experience in handling ropes, pulleys, and large expanses of canvas, worked the apparatus that extended the awning. The curving, outer wall of the Colosseum consists of three levels of arcades surmounted by a wall-like attic (top) story. Each arch is framed by engaged columns. Entablature-like friezes mark the divisions between levels. Each level also uses a different architectural order, increasing in complexity from bottom to top: the plain Tuscan order on the ground level, Ionic on the second level, Corinthian on the third, and Corinthian pilasters on the fourth. The attic story is broken by small, square windows, which originally alternated with glided-bronze shield-shaped ornaments called cartouches, supported on brackets that are still in place.
What was the unique outlook of Greek culture and artists in particular, and how does that contrast with Egyptians?
(101 bottom, 102 top). How is ‘man is the measure of all things’ reflected in Greek art?
- Unlike Egyptians, the Greek culture gave no notion of gods and goddess. They instead concentrated on noble warriors. The artists were able to approach their subjects with their own personal style. The Greeks were not content in their artistic conventions, contrasting the Egyptians. The Greeks constantly altered their artistic style to advance their constantly evolving artistic conventions.
- •Comparison of Egyptian art
- oComposite view of eye (frontal) and side view of head
- oSeems rounder and curvier than Egyptian art
- •More organic and freeflowing
•Shows an ideal of perfectly harmonious and balanced proportions of the human body in sculpted form.
- •Polykleitos used specific mathematical proportions, for example the ration head/body size is 1/7
- •Warrior from the Sea off Riace, Italy 460 BC Bronze (FIG. 5-31)
- oFurther advances in the human form
- •Post naturalism
- •Strikingly lifelike-Inset bone for eyes and separate iris for eyes, silver teeth, and copper tongue
- o2 statues found by scuba divers on the sea floor at Riace, Italy in 1972?
- •No shipwreck found with them at the bottom of the sea
- oMassive corrosion
What great festival and procession was the Parthenon a part of? How did it relate, and what was the purpose of the festival? How does the Ionic frieze of the Parthenon relate to the festival? What is the subject?
- •The panathenaic procession- ended here
- oDuring the panathenaic festival- every 4 years
- oPurpose of procession was a festival in honor of Athena
- •Maidens of Attic wove her a new robe (peplos)
- •Embroidery depicted the battle of Gods and Giants
- o28th of July
- oProcession wove around the temple and ended at the front (east)
- •Sacrifice of a hundred oxen (Hecatombaion) and feast followed
- •Focus of religious beliefs were sacrifice
- The Ionic frieze relates to the festival by depicting the procession of Athenians at the festival.
How did various classes
of Romans interact with nature in their housing (p. 178)? Give examples.
How were Roman cities
and blocks of houses laid out, around what center, and what did apartment
buildings include? What are insulae?
- The Romans loved to have contact with the natural world. The middle classes enjoyed their gardens, wealthy city dwellers maintained rural estates, and Roman emperors had country villas that were both functioning farms and places of recreation. Wealthy Romans even brought nature indoors by commissioning artists to paint landscapes on the interior walls of their homes. Through the efforts of the modern archaeologists who have excavated them, Roman cities and town, houses, apartments, and country villas still evoke for us the ancient Roman way of life with amazing clarity.
- Roman architects who designed new cities or who expanded and rebuilt existing ones based the urban plan on the layout of Roman army camps. Like Etruscan towns, they were laid out in a grid with two bisecting main streets crossed at right angles to divide the layout into quarters. The forum and other public building were located at this intersection, where the commander’s headquarters was placed in a military camp. Much of the housing in a Roman city consisted of brick apartment blocks called insulae. These apartment buildings had internal courtyards, multiple floors joined by narrow staircases, and occasionally overhanging balconies. City dwellers-then as now-were social creatures who spent much of their lives in public markets, squares, theaters, baths, and neighborhood bars. The city dweller returned to the insulae to sleep, perhaps to eat. Even women enjoyed a public life outside the home-a marked contrast to the circumscribed lives of Greek women.
How many people lived in Pompeii? When was it destroyed, by what volcano? When did recovery begin?
The affluent southern Italian city of Pompeii, a thriving center of between 10,000 and 20,000 inhabitants, gives a vivd picture of Roman city life. In 79 CE Mount Vesusvius erupted, burying the city under more than 20 feet of volcanic ash and preserving it until its rediscovery and excavation, beginning in the eighteenth century.
What was the general layout of Pompeii, including the Forum? What was the Forum?
Temples and government buildings surrounded a main square, or forum; shops and houses lined mostly straight, paved streets; and a protective wall enclosed the heart of the city. The forum was the center of civic life in Roman cities, as the agora was in Greek cities. Business was conducted in its basilicas and porticos, religious duties performed in its temples and speeches delivered in its open square.
What buildings served what recreational uses here (3+)?
For recreation, people went to the nearby baths or to events in the theater or amphitheater.
What part of a Roman house was most emphasized?
The Romans emphasized the interior rather than the exterior in their domestic architecture.
What were the main parts of a Roman house? Define and describe: atrium; peristyle; tablinum. Where would
portraits of ancestors be displayed?
A roman house usually consisted of small rooms laid out around one or two open corts, the atrium and the peristyle. People entered the house through a vestibule and stepped into the atrium, a large space with a pool or cistern for catching rainwater. The peristyle was a planted courtyard, further into the house, enclosed by columns. Off the peristyle was the formal reception room or office called the tablinum, and here the head of the household congeffed with clients. Portrait busts of the family’s ancestors might be displayed in the tablinum or the atrium. The private areas-such as the family dining and sitting rooms, as well as bedrooms (cubicula)-and service areas- such as the kitchen and servants’’ quarters-could be arranged around the peristyle or the atrium. In Pompeii, where the mild southern climate permitted gardens to flourish year-round, the peristyle was often turned into an outdoor living room with painted walls, fountains, and sculpture, as in the mid first-century CE remodeling of the second-century BCE House of the Vettii. Since Roman houses were designed in relation to a long axis that runs from the entrance straight through the atrium and into the peristyle, visitors were greeted at the door of the house with a deep vista, showcasing the lavish residence of their host and its beautifully designed and planted gardens extending into the distance.
Who was Wilhelmina Jashemski, and how did she contribute to our knowledge of Roman gardens?
Little was known about these gardens until archaeologist Wilhelmina Jashemski began the excavation of the peristyle in the House of F. Polybius in Pompeii in 1973. Jashemski developed a new way to find and analyze the layout and the plants cultivated in them. Workers first removed layers of debris and volcanic material to expose the level of the soil as it was before the eruption in 79 CE. They then collected samples of pollen, seeds, and other organic material and carefully injected plaster into underground root cavities. When the surrounding earth was removed, the roots, now in plaster, enabled botanist to identify the types of plants and trees cultivated into the garden and to estimate their size.
What plantings did she find in the garden of the House of Polybius?
The garden in the house of Polybius was surrounded on three sides by a portico, which protected a large cistern on one side that supplied the house and garden with water. Young lemon trees in pots lined the fourth side of the garden, and nail holes in the wall above the pots indicated that the trees had been espaliered-pruned and trained to grow flat against a support-a practice still used today. Fig, cherry, and pear trees filled the garden space, and traces of fruit-picking ladder, wide at the bottom and narrow at the top to fit among the branches, was found on site.
What techniques and materials did Roman artists use to decorate the walls of houses? What did they depict in the Ixion Room of the House of the Vetii (6-25)?
- The interior walls of Roman houses were plain smooth
- plaster surfaces with few architectural moldings or projections. On these
- invitingly blank fields, artists painted decorations. Some used mosaic, but
- most employed pigment suspended in a water-based solution of lime and soap,
- sometimes with a little wax. After such paintings were finished, they were
- polished with a special metal, glass, or stone burnisher and then buffed with a
- cloth. Many fine wall paintings have come to light through excavations, first
- in Pompeii and other communities surrounding Mount Vesuvius, near Naples, and
- more recently in and around Rome.
- A complex combination of painted fantasies fills the
- walls of a reception room off the peristyle garden. At the base of the walls is
- a lavish frieze of stone venners that are found in some Roman residences. Above
- this “marble” dado are broad areas of pure red or white, onto which are painted
- pictures resembling framed panel paintings, swags of floral garlands or
- unframed figural vignettes. The framed picture here illustrates a Greek
- mythological scene from the story of Ixion, who was bound by Zeus to a spinning
- wheel in punishment for attempting to seduce Hera. Between these pictorial
- fields, and along a long strip above them that runs around the entire room, are
- fantastic architectural vistas with multicolored columns and undulating
- entablatures that reced into fictive space throught the use of fanciful linear
- perspective. The fact that this fictive architecture is occupied here and there
- by columetric figures only enhances the sense of three-dimensional spatial
- definition. On the broad red fields covering the walls of another room this house,
- entergetic cupids play at industrius human pursuits such as pharmacy,
- goldsmithing, and making perfume.
What subject do the paintings in the Villa of the Mysteries depict? Who is Bacchus?
At the Villa of the Mysteries, for example, the entrance leads through the peristyle to the atrium, a reversal of the standard progression. Within the suburban villa a series of elaborate figural murals seem to portray the initiation rites of a mystery religion, probably the cult of Bacchus, which were often performed in private homes as well as in special buildings or temples. Perhaps this room in this villa was a shrine or meeting place for such a cult to this god of vegetation, fertility, and wine. Bacchus (or Dionysus) was one of the most important deities in Pompeii.
How is the scene in the Villa of the Mysteries depicted- with what included in the composition and setting?
The entirely painted architectural setting consistis of a simulated marble dado (similar to that which we saw in the House of the Vettii) and, around the top of the wall, an elegant frieze supported by pilaster strips. The figural scens take place on a shallow “stage” along the top of the dade, with a background of a brilliant, deep red-now known as Pompeian red-that, as we have already seen, was very popular with Roman painters. The tableau unfolds around the entire room, perhaps depicting a succession of events that culminate in the acceptance of an initiate into the cult.
Describe the paintings in the Cubiculum of P. Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale, near Pompeii - what is the subject?
The walls of a room from another villa, this one at Boscoreale, farther removed form Pompeii, open onto a fantastic urban panorama. Surfaces seem to dissolve behind an inner frame of columns and lintels, opening onto a maze of complicated architectural forms, like the painted scenic backdrops of a stage.
. What may have inspired Synistor’s type of decoration? What evidence suggests that? What god is invoked here?
The theater may have inspired this kind of decoration, as the theatrical masks hanging from the lintels seem to suggest.
What is intuitive perspective, and what visual evidence of its use is here?
The artists have created a general impression of real space. In intuitive perspective, the architectural details follow diagonal lines that the eye interprets as parallel lines receding into the distance, and objects meant to be perceived as far away from the surface plane of the wall are shown gradually smaller and smaller than those intended to appear in the foreground.
What are the main problems and issues discussed in “Saving Pompeii From the Ravages of Time and
Tourists”? Discuss with details.
- •2.6 million tourist a year eventhough considered endangered world treasures
- •buried under pumice and steaming volcanic ash
- •declared a state of emergency for the ruins of Pompeii
- •Frescos are being ruined and chipped by tourist and not enough employees
- oFaded by sun and chipped by souvenir hunters
- •Italian government hired former perfect of Naples to combat degradation at the site
- •Viewer only have 35% access to ruins
- oHoped that the rest can be opened and protected
- •109 acre ruins= 1/8 of the size of central park
- oanother 50 acres underground
- •workers prone to strikes leaves visitors unable to visit site
- •local criminal organizations must constantly be kept at bay
- •Antonio Irlando, president of a local conservation group monitors Pompeii’s cracking walls, falling stones, and flaking intonaco, the thin layer of plaster on which a fresco is painted
- •Cant meet financial needs by government and ticket sales
- oQuestioned if private investors should operate
- •But around the world there is always considerable unease with the notion of the privatization of cultural heritage
- oPompeii is a government responsibility don’t want it to become too much like Disney land
- •Despite the deterioration and bad publicity the ruins are still inspire awe
. Where did Aegean cultures live? Locate the region on a map.
Before 3000 BCE until about 1100 BCE, several Bronze Age cultures fourished simultaneously across the Aegean: ona cluster of small islands (including Tgera) called the Cyclades, on Crete and other islands in the eastern Mediterranean, and on mainland Greece.
Where & what is Akrotiri, & why is it important: what happened to it in ancient times, and what happened in 1967?
More than 3,600 years ago, when the volcano that formed the island of Thera erupted, spewing pumice that filled and sealed every crevice of Akrotiri- fortunately, after the residents had fled. The rediscovery of the lost town in 1967 was among the most significant archaeological events of the second half of the twentieth century, and excavation of the city is still under way. The opportunity that Thera affords archaeologists to study works of art and architecture in context has allowed for a deeper understanding of the Bronze Age cultures of th eAegan. As the image of the girl gathering crocuses illustrates, wall pintings may reflect the ritual uses of a room or building, and the meanings of artifacts are better understood by considering both where they are found and how they are grouped with one another.
When did the Aegean Bronze Age begin? How does this time period compare with Egyptian history?
c. 3000-1200 BC Compare with Egypt, New Kingdom Ruled by powerful pharaohs Massive statues of kings, pyramids
How did Aegean people relate to the sea, that was different than Egyptians?
- For the ancient Aegean peoples, the sea provided an important link not only between the mainland and the islands, but also to the world beyond. In contrast to the landlocked civilizations of the Near East, and to the Egyptians, who used river transportation, the peoples of the Aegean were seafarers and their ports welcomed shops from other cultures around the Mediterranean. For this reason shipwrecks offer a rich source of information about the material culture of these ancient societies.
- Seafarers (international/ global) versus river farers
What is the Ulu Burun, and what things does its cargo suggest about it?
Why is it important?
- Ulu Burun was a the wreck of a trading vessel (probably from the Levant, the Mediterranean coast of the Near East) thought to have sunk in or soon after 1306 BCE and discovered in the vincinity of Ulu Burun, off the southern coast of modern Turkey, carried an extremely varied cargo: metal ingots, bronze weapons and tools, aromatic resins, fruits and spices, jewelry and beads, African ebony, ivory tusks, ostrich eggs, disks of blue glass ready to be melted down for reuse, and ceramics from the Near East, mainland Greece, and Cyprus.
- Ship was like a catalog for all the places it had visited.
What object was found in the Ulu Burun, that relates to Egypt? About what date does that suggest?
- Among the gold objects was a scarab
- associated with Nefertiti, wife of the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten. The cargo
- suggests that this vessel cruised from port to port along the Aegean and
- eastern Mediterranean seas, loading and unloading goods as it went. It also
- suggests that the peoples of Egypt and the ancient Near East were important
- trading partners.
- Scarab could conclude only relative
- dating with being made anytime after Nefertiti was in rule.
What is a chief problem in Aegean archaeology? What are 2 sources of evidence to give absolute dates to Aegean
art? What date results from these?
Dating the finds are the chief problem. In the case of the Ulu Burun wreck, the dating of a piece of freshly cut firewood on the ship to 1306 BCE- using a technique called dendrochronology that analyzes the spaces between growth rings- allowed unusual precision in pinpointing the moment this ship sunk. But archaeologists are not always able to find such easily datable materials. They usually rely on a relative dating system for the Aegean Bronze Age, based largely on pottery. But using it to assign specific dates to sites and objects is complicated and controversial. One cataclysmic event has helped: A huge volcanic explosian on the Cycladic island of Thera, as we have seen, devasted Minoan civilization there and on Crete, only 70 miles to the south. Evidence from tree rings from Ireland and California and traces of volcanic ash in ice cores from Greenland put the date of the eruption about 1650-1625 BCE.
. Describe the legend of Minos, using the names of all characters. What British archaeologist used it, to name what
The British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans named it Minoan after the legend of Minos, a king who had ruled from the capital, Knossos. According to this legend, a half-man, half-bull monster called the Minotaur-son of the wife of King Minos and a bull belonging to the sea god Poseidon- lived at Knossos in a maze called the Labyrinth. To satisfy the Minotaur’s appetite for human flesh, King Minos ordered the mainland kingdom of Athens to send a yearly tribute of 14 young men and women, a practice that ended when the Athenian hero Theseus killed the beast.
What was the ‘Palace of Knossos’? What is a problem with calling Knossos a ‘palace’? Explain, including the most recent concept of how Minoan palaces functioned. Does this remind you of any other seemingly residential settlements we’ve studied?
- Minoan civilization remained very much a mystery until 1900 CE, when Sir Arthur Evans began uncovering the buried ruins of the architectural complex at Knossos, on Crete’s north coast, that had been occupied in the Neolithic period, then built over with a succession of Bronze Age.
- Like nineteenth-century excavators before him, Evans called these great architectural complexes “palaces.” He believed they were occupied by a succession of kings. While some scholars continue to believe that Evan’s “palaces” actually were the residences aand administrative centers of hereditary rulers, the evidence has suggested to others that Minoan society was not ruled by kings drawn from a royal family, but by a confederation of aristocrats or aristocratic families who established a fluid and evolving power hierarchy. In this light, some scholars interpret these elaborate complexes not primarily as residences, but as sites of periodic religious ceremony or ritual, perhaps enacted by a community that gathered within the courtyards that are their core architectural feature.
- Courtyards-not audience halls or temples-were the central most prominent components of these rectangular complexes. Suites of rooms were arranged around them. Corridors and staircases led from courtyard to courtyard, through apartments, ritual areas, and storerooms. Walls were coated with plaster, and some were painted with murals. Floors were plaster, and mixed with pebbles, stone, wood, or beaten earth. The residential quarters had many luxuries: sunlit courtyards or light-wells, richly colored murals, and sophisticated plumbing systems.
- Workshops clustered around the complexes formed commercial centers. Storeroom walls were lined with enormous clay jars for oil and wine, and in their floors stone-lined pits from earlier structures had been designed for the storage of grain. The huge scale of the centralized management of foodstuffs became apparent when excavators at Knossos found in a single (although more recent) storeroom enough ceramic jars to hold 20,000 gallons of olive oil.
What are the shared features of Minoan palaces, after early earthquake destruction? Describe Knossos in the ‘New Palace Period.’.
- The walls of early Minoan buildings were made of rubble and mud bricks faced with cut and finished local stone, our first evidence of dressed stone used as a building material in the Aegean. Columns and other interior elements were made of wood. Both in large complexes and in the surrounding towns, timber appears to have been used for framing and bracing walls. Its strength and flexibility would have minimized damage from the earthquakes common on the area. Nevertheless, an earthquake in c.1700 BCE severely damaged several building sites, including Knossos and Phaistos. Damaged structures were repaired and enlarged, and the resulting new complexes shared a number of features. Multistoried, flat-roofed, and with many columns, they were designed to maximize light and air, as well as to define access and circulation patters, Daylight and fresh air entered through staggered levels, open stairwells, and strategically placed air shafts and light-wells.
- The early architectural complex at Knossos, erected about 1900 BCE, formed the core of an elaborate new one built after a terrible earthquake shook Crete in c.1700 BCE. This rebuilding, at Knossos and elsewhere, belonged to the period termed “New Palace” by scholars, many of whom consider it the highest point of Minoan civilization. In its heyday, the Knossos complex covered six acres.
- Because double-axe motifs were used in its architectural decoration, the Knossos “palace” was referred to in later Greek legends as the Labyrinth, meaning the “House of the Double Axes”(Greek labrys, “double axe”). The organization of the complex seemed so complicated that the word labyrinth eventually came to mean “maze” and became part of the Minotaur legend.
- This complicated layout provided the complex with its own internal security system: a baffling array of doors leading to unfamiliar rooms, stairs, yet more corridors, or even dead ends. Admittance could be denied by blocking corridors, and some rooms were accessible only from upper terraces. Close analysis, however, shows that the builders had laid out a square grid following predetermined principles, and that the apparently confusing layout may partially be the result of earthquake destruction and rebuilding over the centuries.
- In typical Minoan fashion, the rebuilt Knossos complex was organized around a large central courtyard. A few steps led form the central courtyard down into the so-called Throne Room to the west and a great staircase on the east side descended to the Hall of the Double Axes, an unusually grand example of a Minoan hall. (Evans gave the rooms their misleading but romantic names.) This hall and others were supported by the uniquely Minoan-type wooden column that became standard in Aegean palace architecture. The tree trunks from which the columns were made were inverted so that they tapered toward the bottom. The top, supporting massive roof beams and a broad flattened capital, was wider than the bottom.
- Rooms, following the earlier tradition, were arranged around a central space rather than along an axis, as we have seen in Egypt and will see in mainland Greece. During the “New Palace” period, suites functioned as archives, business centers, and residences. Some must also have had a religious function, though the temples, shrines, and elaborate tombs seen in Egypt are not found in Minoan architecture.
What invention spurred the development of ceramics on Crete? What are the features of Kamares ware?
The introduction of the potter’s wheel early in the second millennium BCE spurred the development of ceramics on Crete. The features of Kamares ware its extreme thinness, its use of color, and its graceful, stylized, painted decoration.
What 2 features of the Palace of Knossos led to it being called the Labyrinth by later people?
Because double-axe motifs were used in its architectural decoration, the Knossos “palace” was referred to in later Greek legends as the Labyrinth, meaning the “House of Double Axes”. The labyrinth eventually came to mean “maze” and became part of the Minotaur legend.
Describe the Palace of Knossos in its peak in the New Palace period.
In typical Minoan fashion, the rebuilt Knossos complex was organized around a large central courtyard. A few steps led from the central courtyard down into the so-called Throne Room to the west, and a great staircase on the east side descended to the Hall of the Double Axes, an unusually grand example of a Minoan hall. This hall and others were supported by the uniquely Minoan-type wooden columns that became standard in Aegean palace architecture. The tree trunk from which the columns were made inverted so that they tapered toward the bottom. The top, supporting massive roof beams and a broad flattened capital, was wider than the bottom. Rooms, following earlier tradition, were arranged around central space rather than along an axis, as we have seen in Egypt and will see in mainland Greece. During the “New Palace” Period, suites functioned as archives, business centers, and residences. Some must also have had a religious function, though the temples, shrines, and elaborate tombs seen in Egypt are not found in Minoan architecture.
What were the 2 painting techniques used by Minoan painters called, and what does each mean?
- Buon fresco- murals that are painted on
- a still-wet plaster surface. Fresco secco- murals that are painted on a dry
- plaster surface.
What stylistic conventions does Minoan wall painting display? How is it like Egyptian painting?
Minoan wall painting displays elegant drawing, and, like Egyptian painters, Minoan painters filled these linear contours with bright and unshaded fields of pure color. They preferred profile or full-faced views, and they turned natural forms into decorative patterns through stylization.
What is important about the Spring fresco at Akrotiri (4-12)? Describe it. How is it different than Egyptian art?
- In another Akrotiri house, an artist has created an imaginative landscape of hills, rocks, and flowers, the first pure landscape painting we have encountered in ancient art. A viewer standing in the center of the room is surrounded by orange, rose, and blue rocky hillocks sprouting oversized deep red lilies. Swallows, sketched by a few deft lines, swoop above and around the flowers. The artist unifies the rhythmic flow of the undulating landscape, the stylized patterning imposed on the natural forms, and the decorative use of bright colors alternating with darker, neutral tones, which were perhaps meant to represent areas of shadow, The colors may seem fanciful to us, but sailors today who know the area well attest to their accuracy, suggesting that these artists recorded the actual colors of Thera’s wet rocks in the sunshine, a zestful celebration of the natural world.
- Landscape (springtime fresco)- from Thera, near Crete One of the first Greek paintings The first landscape? Fresco technique
the Bull Leaping fresco. What may it represent in real life at
The restored panel is one of a group of paintings with bulls as subjects from a room in the east wing of the complex. The action- perhaps representing an initiation or fertility ritual- shows three scantily clad youths around a gigantic dappled bull, which is charging in the “flying-gallop” pose. The pale-skinned person at the right- her paleness probably identifying her as a woman- is prepared to catch the dark-skinned man in the midst of his leap, and the pale-skinned woman at the left grasps the bull by its horns, perhaps to help steady it, or perhaps preparing to begin her own vault. Framing the action are strips of overlapping shapes, filled with ornament set within striped bands.
Name 2 objects (one stone, one gold) that further show the Minoan interest in bulls.
- Bull’s-Head Rhyton: Rhytons were made in the form of a bull’s head. The sculptor carved this one from a block of greenish-black steatite to create an image that approaches animal portraiture. This rhyton was filled with liquid from a hole in the bull’s neck, and during ritual libations, fluid flowed out from its mouth.
- Vapheio Cup: A pair of magnificent gold cups found in a large tomb at Vapheio, on the Greek mainland south of Sparta, were made sometime between 1650 and 1450 BCE, either by Minoan artists or by locals trained in Minoan style and techniques. The relief designs were executed in repousee-the technique of pushing up the metal from the back of the sheet. The handles were attached with rivets, and the cup was then lined with sheet gold. In the scenes circling the cups, men are depicted trying to capture bulls in various ways. Here, a scantily clad man has roped a bull’s hind leg. The figures dominate the landscape and bulge from the surface with a muscular vitality that belies the cup’s small size-it is only 4 ½ inches tall. The depiction of olive trees could indicate that the scene is set in a sacred grove.
What material is the Woman or Goddess with Snakes made from? Describe it, with all parts. How does this object differ from many Egyptian sculptures (several ways)? What do scholars disagree about with her – and why?
It is intriguing both as a ritual object and as a work of art. This faience figurine was found with other ceremonial objects in a pit in one of Knossos’s storerooms. Bare-breasted, arms extended, and brandishing a snake in each hand, the woman is a commanding presence. Her shapely figure is dressed in a fitted, open bodice with an apron over a typically Minaon flounced skirt. A wide belt cinches the waist. The red, blue, and green geometric patterning on her clothing reflects the Minoan weavers’ preference for bright colors, patterns and fancy borders. Lifelike elements combine with formal stylization to create a figure that is both lively and dauntingly, almost hypnotically, powerful-a combination that has led scholars to disagree whether statues such as this one represents deities or their human attendants.
What style is the Octopus Vase a part of, and why? How does its decoration relate to the vase’s shape?
Octopus Vase is shown in the Marine style because of the depictions of sea life on their surfaces. The decoration on the Kamares ware jug had reinforced the solidity of its surface, but here the pottery skin seems to dissolve. The painter captured the grace and energy of natural forms while presenting them as a stylized design in calculated harmony with the vessel’s bulging shape.
What people conquered Crete, when? Where did political and cultural power shift to at this time?
About 1450 BCE, a conquering people from mainland Greece, known as Mycenaneans, arrived in Crete. They occupied the buildings at Knossos and elsewhere until a final catastrophe and the destruction of Knosssos about 1375 BCE caused them to abandon the site. But by 1400 BCE, the center of political and cultural power in the Aegean had shifted to mainland Greece.
Who were the 3 chief designers and artists credited for building and decorating the Parthenon? But what aspects took a vast team of experts, from architects to painters? What is meant by the Parthenon’s noted ‘harmony and balance,’ and how is that achieved? What is meant by refinements here? Describe 3 refinements on the Parthenon, and their effects. What was Pheidias’ role in the Parthenon project, and what vision and 3 political themes did he apply to it?
- •Designed by Iktinos and Kallikrates, Phidias the sculptor
- oConstruction began in 447 BCE and was completed nine years later, the last of the sculptures being set place in 432 BCE
- Sometime around 490 BC, Athenians had begun work on a temple to Athena Parthenos that was still unfinished when the Persians sacked the Acropolis a decade later. In 447 BCE Perikles commissioned the architects Kallikrates and Iktinos to design a larger temple using the existing foundation and stone elments. The finest white marble was used throughout-even on the roof, in place of the more usual terra-cotta tiles. The planning and execution of the Parthenon (dedicated in 438 BCE) required extraordinary mathematical and mechanical skills and would have been impossible without a large contingent of distinguished architects and builders, as well as talented sculptors and painters. The result is a much a testament to the administrative skills as to the artistic vision of Pheidias, who supervised the entire project.
- One key to the OArthenon’s sense of harmony and balance is an attention to proportions-especially the ratio of 4:9, expressing the relationship of breadth to length and also the relationship of column diameter to space between columns. Also important are subtle refinments of design, deciations from absolute regularity to creat a harmonious effect when the building was actually viewed. For example, since long, straight horizontal lines seem to sage when seen from a distance, base and entablature curve slightly upward to correct this optical distortion. The columns have a subtle swelling (entasis) and tilt inward slightly from bottom to top; the corners are strengthened visually by reducing the space between colums at those points these subtle refinements in the arrangement of seemingly regular elements give the Parthenon a buoyant organic appearance and assure that it will not look like a heavy, lifeless stone box. The significance of their achievement was clear to its builders-Iktinos even wrote a book on the proportions of this masterpiece.
- The sculpture decoration of th ePArthenon reflects Pheidias’ unifying aesthetic vision. At the same time, it conveys a number of political and ideological themes: the triumph of the democratic Greek city-states over imperial Persia, the preeminence of Athens thanks to the favor of Athena, and the triumph of a enlightened Greek civilization over despotism and barbarism.
Know the issues discussed in the NYTimes article on the syllabus, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/09/arts/09abroad.html “Who Draws the Borders of Culture?”-with cultural patrimony in genera-l and in particular, the Parthenon and the Elgin marbles. What are they? Who has them now, what do they depict, how did they get here – and what are two arguments on opposing sides for their return or not? What do you think?
- They have been in the Bristish Museum for 2 centuries ever since Lord Elgin, the British ambassador to the Sublime Porte at Constantinople, and with the consent of the ruling Ottomans (not to mention a blithe disregard for whatever may have been the wishes of the Greek populace), spirited them from the Acropolis in Athens. The pamphlet stresses that the British Museum is free and attracts millions of visitors every year from around the world, making the sculptures available to, and putting them in the context of, a wide swath of human civilization.
- For their part the Greeks, before their economy collapsed, finally opened the long-delayed New Acropolis Museum last year to much fanfare: it’s an up-to-date facility, forbidding and frankly ugly outside, but airy and light-filled inside, a home-in-waiting for the marbles, whose absence is clearly advertised by bone-white plaster casts of what Elgin took, alongside yellowed originals that he left behind. Greeks deem the museum a slam-dunk argument for the marbles’ return. Their case has always been more abstract, not strictly about restoration but about historical reparations, pride and justice. It is more nationalistic and symbolic. That’s why Greek authorities always decline diplomatic solutions like sharing the marbles or asking for their loan. They assume any loan request would legitimize Britain’s ownership.
- What he means is that people make connections across cultures through objects like the marbles. These objects can become handmaidens for ideologues, instruments for social division and tools of the economy, or cicerones through history and oracles to a more perfect union of nations. Art is something made in a particular place by particular people, and may serve a particular function at one time but obtain different meanings at other times. It summons distinct feelings to those for whom it’s local, but ultimately belongs to everyone and to no one.