Basic History of Western Art Term Paper

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Art History

What conclusions can you draw about the social, political, economic and aesthetic values of the 3 cultures (Prehistoric, Ancient, Egyptian) if all you had was their art on which to base your interpretation?

With Prehistoric art, circa 30,000 years ago, by looking at the cave paintings found in southern France and northern Spain, particularly at Altamira and Lascaux, it is clear that the art had special meaning. Socially, artifacts found in these caves suggest they were gathering places where the social bond was reaffirmed and strengthened. Aesthetically, the paintings found in these caves suggest that the artists celebrated some type of religious or pagan rites, probably most closely linked to hunting and food gathering. With ancient art, circa 6000 B.C.E., the best example is Stonehenge, a megalithic monument in England. Because its orientation is clearly related to the movement of the sun, Stonehenge may have served as a social or political gathering place where ancient astronomers could track a number of heavenly events. Some anthropologist suggests that this site was important for major public ceremonies, such as planting or harvest rituals linked to the economy of the people who designed and built Stonehenge.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Basic History of Western Art Assignment

With Egyptian art, many examples express all aspects of this ancient society, being social, political, economic and aesthetic values. The prime example is the Palette of Narmer (ca. 3150 B.C.E), a slate slab carved in low relief on both sides with scenes and identifying inscriptions. For example, with King Narmer as the central figure, these scenes proclaim the king as the great unifier, protector and leader of his people. Politically, Narmer is the king of Egypt and rules with a firm but understanding hand; economically, Narmer controls all of the daily functions of Egyptian society, especially those related to farming and agriculture; aesthetically, this palette uses pictographs and symbols as a way of expressing the important role of art in not only the lives of the ancient Egyptian artisans but also the people themselves.

QUESTION #2: What evidence is there in Greek art forms that show a belief in idealism as well as in the importance of humankind and nature?

During the Classical Period of ancient Greece, two important pieces of sculpture were created, namely, Nike Fastening Her Sandal (ca. 410 B.C.E. And once part of the parapet of the Temple of Athena Nike) and the Doryphoros (ca. 450 B.C.E.) by Polykleitos, both of which express the Greek trait for idealism and their love for beauty and naturalness. The first piece symbolizes the classical perfection of the human form, especially through the supple beauty of the body of Nike which is an idealized form of true womanhood. This piece also expresses the importance of nature in sculpture, for Nike is draped in fabric in such a way that it reminds the viewer of being drenched in water. The second piece, with its mighty body, broad shoulders, thick torso and muscular limbs, stands as the embodiment of the Spartan ideal of the warrior physique. Yet this piece of sculpture does not truly represent the human body as it appears in reality, for its details are somewhat ambiguous and smooth. As a symbol of nature, the Doryphoros shows man in all his natural beauty as an idealized youth with physical power and animal magnetism.

QUESTION #3: Describe Etruscan murals and tombs. How do the wall paintings compare and contrast with Roman, Minoan, Egyptian and Greek wall painting?

The most common Etruscan tomb type is the tumulus, a round structure partially excavated and covered with soil. The interiors of these tombs are generally rectangular and reproduce the rooms of domestic homes. A striking example is the Tomb of the Reliefs… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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