2009年12月11日 星期五

Art History 7: Greek Art VI (Hellenistic period)

-Alexander the Great died as the Hellenistic period started
-heroic city-states passed away, and the power of Athens also passed away
-more into a cosmopolitan (citizen of the world ) civilization
-sculptors played with traditional subjects in new ways, and also portray new subject matters

Nike alighting on a warship from Samothrace, Greece, ca 190 BCE. Marble. 8'1"high.
-wings still beating
-winds sweeps her drapery
-placed in a fountain of splashing water -->heightened the dramatic visual effect
-water: the sense of lightness and movement
-Hellenistic statues: interact with the environment, as living, breathing, emotive. (Classical statues: ideally proportioned, and more self-contained)


by Alexandros of Antioch-on-the-Meander, Aphrodite (Venus de Milo) from Melos, Greece ca 150-125BCE. Marble 6'7"high.
(right: restored view)

-originally: her left hand holds the apple Paris awarded her when he judged her the most beautiful goddess, and right hand may have lightly grasped the edge of her drapery near the left hip
-displaying eroticism
-slipping garment to tease the viewers

Old Market Women, ca 150-100BCE. Marble 4'1/2"high.

-realism in the Hellenistic art
-lowest class (never was a suitable subject in the earlier Greek statuary
-different ethnic types (more foreigners in Greek, more cosmopolitan)

Art History 6: Greek Art IV (Late Classical Period)

Characteristics of Greek Art in this late classical period (4th century BCE):

-in the Classical period(5th century BCE): they believed that rational human beings could impose order on their environment, could create "prefect" statues and discover the "correct" math formulas for constructing temples

-BUT Wars and unstable political environment in the last Classical period affected the art Greeks produced: an end to the idealism of the previous century
-Here, Greeks art focused more on the individual and on the real world of appearances rather than on the community and the ideal world of perfect beings

by Praxiteles, "Aphrodite of Knidos" Roman marble copy of an original of ca 350-340 BCE 6'8"high.

-Praxiteles: a famous sculptor in the 4th century BCE
-Aphrodite of Knidos: represent the goddess of love completely nude
-Female nudity was rare in earlier Greek art (only on vases designed for household use, and only for slave girls, but not noblewomen or goddesses)
-the goddess engages in a trivial act of everyday life: removing garment and draped it down to a water pitcher, so to prepare for her bath
-though sensuous, but not erotic (right hand covers her pelvis)


- by Lysippos, Apoxyomenos. Roman marble copy of a bronze original of ca 330 BCE. 6'9" high

-new proportion system: thiner
-not as balanced
-break down the dominance of the frontal view: with his right arm forward (encourage multiple angles in view)

Art History5: Greek Art III (High Classical Period-- Parthenon)


-ideal solution to the Greek architect's quest for perfect proportions in Doric temple design

-short ends have 8 columns and long sides have 17 (can be expressed algeraically as x=2y+1 -- 17=2(8) +1 )

-with harmonious design and mathematical precision of the sizes

-but also have irregularity: for examples:

1. the stylobate (the base) curves upward at the center on the sides and both facades

2.the columns lean inward slightly

--->contrapposto (shifting of weight) in architecture

East and West Pediments

left hand side of the East Pediment:
the horses of Helios (the Sun) emerge from the pediment's floor, suggesting the sun rising above the horizon at dawn.

right hand side of the east pediment: the statues conform perfrectly to the slope, and the thin and heavy folds of the garments reveal the body forms nicely

Art History 2: Egyptian Art

Right: Palette of King Narmer

(left: back; right: front)

from Hierakonpolis, Egypt, Predynastic, ca. 3000-2920 BCE. Slate, 2'1"hight.

-earliest preserved labeled historical reliefs
-a utilitarian object used to prepare eye makeup
-commenmorate the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt. (signified by the two interwined necks of the animals)
-Narmer, the largest figure, defeating a foe on one side, and on the other survys the beheaded enemy

Great Sphinx:

-the largest statue in the Near East
-carved out of stone directly
-represents a pharaoh
-associated with the sun god
-combination of human intelleigence with the immense strength and authorith of the king of beasts

The Papyrus Scroll of Hu-nefer's Last Judgment.

The book of the Dead contained spells and prayers. This scroll depicts the weighing of Hu-Nefer's heart against Maat's feather before the deceased can be brought before Osiris, god of the Underworld.

Art History 1: Art Before History

No one knows why humans began to paint and carve images or what role those images played in the lives of earlier hunters. Women were far more common subjects than men, but animals, not human, were the major themes in many of the panitings or 3-d works in stone age.

Right: Nude Woman (Venus of Willendorf)
ca 28000-25000 BCE

-it is one of the oldest and famous prehistoric femal figure
-tiny limestone of a woman
-a ball-like shape
-the exageeration of the breasts: celebration of fertility and emphasis of the child-bearing capabilities that ensure the survival of the species
-not aim for naturalism
-not trying to represent a particular person, since the facial features are not shown and covered up by a mass of curly hair


Hall of the Bulls (in the cave at Lascaux, France, ca. 15000-13000 BCE. Largest bull: 11'6"long

-the hunters in the Stone Age believed they were bringing the beasts under their control.

-dance or rituals might have been performed in front of the cave paintings

-some historians guested these images served as teaching materials for teaching new hunters

2009年12月10日 星期四

Art History 4: Greek Art II( Early and High Classical Periods)

“Kritios Boy” from the Acropolis, Athens, Greece. Ca. 480 BCE. Marble, 2’10” high
First statue to show how a person naturally stands. The sculptor depicted the shifting of weight from one leg to the other (contrapposto). The head turns slightly and the Archaic smile is gone.

From the end of the Archaic Period:


By Polykleitos, “Doryporos” (Spear Bearer) Roman marbel copy from Pompeii Italy.

Like harmonic chords in music: intervals: 2:1, 3:2, 4:3
Look for the ideal: “standard of perfection” Canon
Cross balance, weight shifting
Asymmetrical balance:
Right arm, left leg: relaxed
Supporting leg and left arm: tensed
Head: turn to the right, hips twist to the left

Ratio of head/body: 1/7


Aesthetic Philosophy:

'Beauty, Chrysippos believes, inheres... in the commensurability of the parts, such as that of finger to finger, and all these to the palm and wrist, and of these to the forearm, and of the forearm to the upper arm, and of everything to everything else, just as it is written in the "Canon" of Polykleitos. For having taught us in that treatise all the commensurate proportions of the body, Polykleitos made a work to support his account; he made a statue according to the tenets of his writing, and called it, like the treatise, the "Canon". '
written byGalen, a physician who lived during the second century CE


Golden Section: AB/AG=AG/GB. If AB=1 and AG=x then GB=1-x and 1/x=x/(1/x) and it follows x2 =1-x, ie. x2+x-1=0

By Pythagoreans. Pythagoras might have visited Egypt which might found this ratio there earlier already.

2009年12月9日 星期三

Art History 3: Greek Art I (the early Geometric Art and Archaic Period)

Cultural values of the Greeks: fundamental elements of Western civilization (e.g. concept of democracy ) (but also had slavery/ women were not treated equally as men etc.)
-The Greeks or Hellenes (as they called themselves) never formed a single nation, but independent city-states
-they also borrowed ideas, motifs, conventions… from older civilization, like Egypt


Geometric krater from the Dipylon cemetery 740BCE. 3’4.5” high
Abstract angular motifs
(most early Greek painters decorated vases this way)
-the mourning for a man laid out
-figures: 2 dimensional, triangular frontal torsos
-bottom: the horses have the correct number of heads and legs, but share a common body-> there is no sense of overlapping or depth


Mantiklos Apollo, statuette of a youth
dedicated by Mantiklos to Apollo,
ca.700-680BCE. Bronze 8” high

Orientalizing Art
-long hair, unnaturally elongated neck
Muscles, triangular torso and face..
-motifs borrowed from or inspired by eastern artworks from Egypt, Iraq etc.

The start off of the Archaic Period
-Lady of Auxerre 650-625BCE 2’1.5”
-Daedalic style (Daedalus used to work in Egypt and learnt a lot form Egyptian Art)
-impact of Egyptian Art
-triangular face, hair
-geometric fondness for abstract pattern

Statuary from the the Archaic Period
Above: Kouros, ca.600BCE. Marble, 6' 1/2" high.
Bottom: Kroisos, from Anavysos, Greece, ca. 530BCE. Marble 6'4"high

-In both Egypt and Greece, the figure is rigidly frontal
-with left foot advanced slightly
-the arms are held beside the body, with the thumbs positioned forward.
Kourous on the left:
-triangular shpae of head and hair
-flatness of the face
-slim waist
-V-shaped ridge of the hips suggest the muscle of the body (though doesn't reproduce very well)
Kroiso on the right:
-Archaic smile
-a more naturalistic manner
-head is not too large/ face is more rounded, with swelling cheeks
-rounder hip instead of the V-shaped ridges
Doric and Ionic Orders of Greek Temples in the Archaic Period
Temple of Hera I, Paestum, Italy ca 550BCE
- early Doric Temple with heavy, closely spaced, columns
** Transition from the Archaic Period to the Classical Period
Both are from the Temple of Aphaia, but the one at the top was installed earlier.
Top: Dying warrior, from the west pediment of the Temple of Aphaia, Aegina, Greece. ca 490 BCE. Marble 5'1/2"long
Bottom: Dying warrior from the east pediment of the Temple of Ahpaia, Aegina, Greece. ca 480BCE. Marlbe 6'1"long.

The west pediment's warrior (above) is still in the Archaic mode:
-His torso is rigidly frontal
-he looks out directly at the viewers
-with the Archaic smile, even though he has got an arrow in his chest.
The east pediment's warrior is very different
-more natural and more complex
-his torso placed at an angle to the viewer
-he reacts to this wound more naturally
-he is not looking at the viewers, but is concerned with his own pain
**** This statue belongs to the Classical world, where statues move as humans move and has the self-consciousness of real men and women. *****