HUMN303N Week 1: Ancient Works of Art
- Alice D
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Looking at art from chapter 1 I am amazed at the painting at Chauvet, a 6 foot painting on limestone from 30,000 BCE, in a time before art supplies as we know them today were available they created a beautiful masterpiece. In Chauvet the paintings are believed to have a sacred meaning, and although the pattern of colors used to paint change as you go deeper within the caves there is no known reason as to why, showing us so long ago they had such creative minds and a rich history in values and beliefs. I am absolutely amazed by this painting, it is beautiful and yet now when we have so many resources available to teach and help you draw I can barley draw a stick figure, their artistic abilities amaze me. I am also surprised to read that in Chauvet many animals that were painted were not hunted as other cultures have done, leading me to believe they truly had such a respect and understanding of nature.
Sayre, H. M. (08/2012). Discovering the Humanities, 2/e VitalSource for DeVry University. [Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from https://online.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781256884774/Hello Katie,
I am also amazed by the creativity exhibited in the paintings. I also find it surprising that many of the animals painted were not hunted. I agree that they could have been painted out of respect for the animals and nature. Maybe they appreciated the beauty that surrounded them. I enjoyed reading your post. I must admit that I have very little artistic ability.
Melissa GillilandHi Katie,
Discovered as late as 1994, the Chauvet cave art is one of the most famous pre-historic rock art. I am, particularly, impressed that art as old as 30,000 BCE could exhibit such aesthetic quality. The fact that this cave painting was executed so skillfully and as far back in pre-history forces us to abandon the view that early art was nativist, but a masterpiece as you referred to. Excellent post!
- Exploring our past informing our future: Retrieved from www.bradshawfoundation.com
The painting at Chauvet that you have discussed about here is a wonder and I completely agree with your discussion on the point that the resources required for creation of art back in those days were not so easily available. In this regards I would like to share a certain fact with you that in the earlier ages people used to make colors out of vegetable peels, fish oil and other such naturally available agents. These colors were not only more durable but at the same time were better in quality than the artificial colors that are created today.Hi Katie,
I agree with you that Chauvet paintings had such creative minds and a rich history in values and beliefs. It does seem as though they were trying to document their stories of life. They were thinking ahead of the future generations obviously, to leave behind documentation of such meaningful events. To us it is art, but to them, I'm sure it was just like a history book. It gives us just a peek into what life was like for them.
Gang ZhangHi Katie,
You bring up some really good points. In todays's time, we can easily walk inside an art supply store and get supplies for whatever we need. Way back in those times, that was not the case. Despite that fact, they created the most beautiful work of art and are still priceless today. These artists found ways to paint and cult their emotions with what they had on hand and it came out perfect.Christina,
Thank you so much for your input! I love your information on how "paint" was created by using vegetable peels and fish oils. I found some information online about how historic cave paintings were created and again I am absolutely fascinated by the creative mindset of these people. Using sea shells as holders for their paint, and knowing clay was available in different colors, such as red yellow and brown, as well as charcoal for black it gave them the ability to create these works of art with even more dimension. The information I found also spoke about how they would use their fingers to paint, and eventually began using animal hair to create pain brushes, and hollow bones as a form of spray paint. Their creativity and ingenuity was very impressive.
Encyclopedia of stone age art (N.D.), Stone Age Cave Painting, Prehistory Characteristics, Origins, History, Types, Retrieved from: http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/prehistoric/cave-painting.htm#paintingmethodsHello, professor and class,
The statue of Menkaura with a woman introduced in Chapter one is a stunning artwork. It was created in the Old Kingdom of Egypt dated from 4th-6th Dynasties of Egypt. The Old Kingdom of Egypt is known as the Age of Pyramids. “The pyramid was the first monumental royal tomb” (Sayre, 2013, p.30). For Egyptians, a king’s death was not the end of the king’s life. His ka and ba, which were his soul and personality respectively, still existed. They could recognize the well-preserved body and rejoin it when the king was reborn someday. Before the king’s rebirth, the ka rested in the monumental royal sculpture. Same as pyramids, such sculptures were created “to preserve and guarantee the king’s existence after death,” according to Sayre (2013, p.31). Therefore, it is understandable why pyramids and sculptures were built during the period of the Old Kingdom of Egypt.
What amazes me the most is the quality of the sculpture, especially the faces of the two figures: the bone structures, the eye lids, the noses, the lips, and the ears. They look so natural that I am surprised with the skills the ancient Egyptian artists mastered. The sculpture was well polished. It looks like the natural skin texture of human. This is another surprise for me that the ancient Egyptians already mastered the technology of polishing stones. It is impressive that the sculpture was made with a single piece of greywacke (Boston Museum of Fine Arts, n. d.). If one mistake was made during the process, the piece of the stone would be abandoned and the whole job would be wasted. However, this sculpture was perfectly carved. After so many years, there is still no damage from what I see.
I wonder why there are no eyeballs in the figures. With that skills, I am sure the artists could make them easily. Maybe like certain saying, eyes are the windows of soul. Only a live person can look at the world with his or her eyes. Once a person is dead, the windows are closed. I also wonder why people are uncertain about their relationship. From the female’s posture, her right arm embracing his back and her right hand resting on his waist, I assume an intimate relationship must exist between them. Although “later kings are often shown with their mothers,” I am not convinced that she could be his mother or a goddess (Boston Museum of Fine Arts, n. d., para.4). The interesting part when appreciating a work of art is that there is not enough information that explains the work. We have to question and then imagine the possible answers that keep us further searching any clue.
Boston Museum of Fine Arts. (n. d.). Artwork. Retrieved from www.mfa.org/collections/object/king-menkaura-mycerinus-and-queen-230
Sayre, H. M. (2013). Discovering the humanities (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.Hi Camille TanCamille, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. It was very well written, interesting, and educational. I like that you included that if a mistake was made during the creation of the statue it would be restarted with new stone. That is amazing, and I can imagine just how long it took to create this intricate art work. I did not know that the statues of kings often included their mothers, and in some ways i agree with you that it is hard to believe with some of the poses the statues are in. I thought your idea about the eyes was fantastic, I never thought of it that way.Hello Camille,
The fact that the Egyptians were magnificent sculptors is eminent in every pyramid related structure that we find in Giza. However the structural build up of the anatomy of humans that we find in the work of Egyptians is undoubtedly unimaginable back in those days. The proportional perfection of the 8 foot statue of Menkaura as well of his queen speaks about the inimitable artistic expertise of the Egyptian sculptors. To acknowledge you of a certain fact I would like to that the slaves who carried the marble stones to the pyramid construction sites in Giza used to do so on foot and no automation was provided to them .Hello Tan,
Great post Camille. It is pretty amazing to think how they would have accomplished this building these massive pyramids. I found this picture very interesting as well! I have always wanted to see one in person! It amazes that they were able to create such pyramids with such little materials! Also I can't believe how long they stayed standing when old built out of mud and clay! It would be a pretty site to see some day. I watched a documentary many years ago that gave possible suggestions as to how historians believed they were able to move these massive stones. One of the theories was by using tree logs to roll the stones to the base of the pyramid. Since the Egyptians had such a strong labor force back then they would have many of the laborers pulling the stones with ropes up inclines and that they would possibly use horses to help pull the stones as well. It was a very interesting documentary on the History channel, I can see if I can still find it somewhere if you would like.Hi Camille,
I found your post pretty interesting and informative. I do agree that Egyptians were amazing sculptors as shown by their work. I do not know. however, that they would abandon any work that they did not find perfect. I can only imagine how long it would take them for one sculpture. The fact that they made sure everything was perfect can clearly be seen today. Thank you so much for your post.I really enjoyed reading your post. Egyptians were one of the most amazing sculptures and their works are very impressive from the tombs to the elaborate pyramids they built with basic tools. The archeologists and historians are still surprised and impress as to how they achieve this. The Egyptians believed in the afterlife, the focus was on eternal life and the certainty of personal existence beyond death. The wealthier Egyptians were buried in tombs that were painted with various scenes had various meanings; some for protection on their journey. Objects and animals are often included because they had great symbolic importance. According to Sayre (2012), religion was an integral part of the life of the Egyptians and manifested itself through nature. According to Eiland, the goal was to draw an ideal scene from memory. The scenes in the tomb represented the hoped-for after-life, in which there were fertile fields and harmony and happiness at home; representing it in the tomb was thought to ensure an ideal existence in the next world. The deceased is usually portrayed in the prime of life, with no physical defects and is not usually an accurate likeness of the person.
Sayre, H. M. (2013) Discovering the humanities (2nd ed.). [Vitalsource]. Retrieved from devry.vitalsource.com
Eiland, M. (n.d.) Paintings of the Tomb-Chapel of Nebamun. Museum Reviews: Egypt. Athena Review, (5). 1. Retrieved from http://www.athenapub.com/17nebamun.htmHello Regla, I Enjoy watching documentaries on architecture as well. "Architecture is about the use of space" (Chamberlain University 2018). I recently watched a show about the development of Chicago during the Industrial Age. It amazes me how high rise buildings were created without the use of modern technology. It shoed how artwork influenced the look of buildings. The use of differnt moldings, tile and ceiling details inside and outside of buildings were explained and shown how it's characteristics are related to Historical architecture.
Chaberlain University. (2018). HUMN303N Introduction to Humanities: Week 1 lesson. Tinley Park, IL: Online Publication.
Remember, I just said, "I'd like to know what YOU think" - so there is no "right" or "wrong" answer here, only your opinions on the works of art you have chosen.
Have fun with this! :)
At first the head was real confusing. I wasn’t sure what was going their so I just moved on. Come to find out its suspected to be a braid wrapped around her head. Still think I’m confused about that one. I thought she was on the bigger side which I was excited about. I hate all the promotion of skinny, tiny woman cause really that doesn’t mean your healthy. If you see a skinny dog, the assumption is they are mistreated so I wonder why it’s total opposite when it comes to humans. I like the detail in the sculpture. A lot of people are uneasy when it comes to sexual images but I think there beautiful.Hi Professor,
Ok, my first impression of the Venus of Willendor statue was, wow! Her body is pretty realistic to many women in today's society. I am including myself, since I am not in the best shape right now, especially after the holidays! But with society today and the obesity epidemic, I am sure we can all see someone we either know or have seen with this body. I did appreciate the realistic reference to today's woman, instead of the size zero models and actresses that today's society displays in every magazine and tv show, depicting their view of what they think woman should look like. So looking at that little statue, I thought, ok, even ancient women had some what real bodies. By the way, I am smiling while writing this, fun stuff!Charlotte,
I am right there with you - the promotion of unrealistically skinny women in our society is a real problem. I too was pleased to see the female body expressed in a more realistic way. I was even more impressed when I read the description of the piece of work which explained that it was assumed that this was the carver's ideal image of female beauty. Sayre (2013) also explained that the exaggerated abdomen and breasts could be representative of fertility/childbearing and that having body fat could mean the difference between life and death. This still rings true today - one cannot survive without body fat. I wonder what caused such a drastic shift in society - from valuing women who could bear children and survive and thrive in part due to their fat stores - to various points in modern history where being thin is in and fat shaming is a pervasive problem.
Sayre, H. M. (2013). Discovering the humanities (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.Professor and Class,
In our text (Sayre,2013 pg.8) Stonehenge in England is a reflection of the ancient culture that created it. Stonehenge consisted of upright stones stuck in the ground. This was a basic design, constructed without a mortar. Some of the stones weighed 50 tons and were 24 feet tall. Some of the sand stones were retrieved from 120 miles away. In these times, when this was built, it seems that a lot of thought was put into this as for the architectural design. There must have been some sort of a measuring device to get the stones just the right distance apart from each other. There must have been a pulley or a lift type of system that was used to move the heavy stones around. It was said that during the Summer Solstice that the sun rose over the Heel Stone and that this group of stones was connected to the movement of the sun. It was also said that this was some sort of a burial ground. To me this resembles the monuments of today’s cemeteries.
What surprised me the most was how this was built without the use of the heavy machinery that we use today. It must have taken quite a few workers to build this. I am also surprised that it is still standing after all these years. It is a simple design that was created without tools. It took someone that was able to think and plan of how all of these stones were to be put together and how they were going to get there.
Sayre, H. M. (2013). Discovering the humanities (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Thanks for your post. I am also curious how those huge stones were managed to put together in the ancient time. Putting them at a certain distance, especially the sun rises over the Heel Stone during the Summer Solstice must be extremely difficult. However, the people did it successfully. Isn’t it amazing?
The Stonehenge reminds me of another stone work, the Great Wall in China. The Stonehenge was built in one location, but the Great Wall was built on top of mountains. The total length of the Great Wall is more than 13,000 miles long. How did people transport those stones to the top of mountains? I do not know how difficult to build the Great Wall, but I do know it is difficult to walk in some areas. The stairs are so steep that I had to grab the side walls carefully while going down.
There are still many unanswered questions about the amazing works in the world. We will continue seeking the answers. Meanwhile, we should enjoy these artworks to appreciate human history and cultures.Jill and Camille,
The Stonehenge in England was a huge project for even today's heavy equipment. They definitely would have needed a great deal of planning and a huge amount of man power to move the stones from as far away as they did. This is just one example of something from the past that was created with out machines. Camille gives us another example with the great wall of China. The planning that had to go into a project of this magnitude is huge. The determination to complete such a project and to have workers committed to such a huge undertaking. Another huge project from the past is the great pyramids. The sheer size of the pyramids and the size and weight of each stone. The decades of commitment to complete. The engineering involved with completing them. All of these were built with no machines to lift stones in place. I find it amazing that these projects were ever started let alone completed. I hope in thousands of years something from our generation is still standing and students are studying them. Great posts, and topic! Thanks for sharing!
You mentioned some great questions. The amount of strength and determination it must have took to complete such massive works of art amazes me. The Great Wall of China amazes me too, I just can't put the thought of the amount of effort it took for that wall to be created. Looking at how these works of art are still standing today kinda makes me chuckle. Back then, the method of building was so much more precise and complete where as today, objects are being made so cheap as the primary concern is simply how to make the most profit. Because of this, I feel the younger generations such as myself are unable to experience the full beauty of art.Hello, Sarah,
Thanks for your comment and humble thoughts. I do believe people in the past truly pursued and appreciated what they loved without financial purpose. Maybe that is why the artworks have been thought to be valuable and well preserved. I am not saying there is no true art in the current age. There are still many enthusiastic artists working on their pursuits. Since the capitalism is dominant in the economic world, the demand in the market is more important than the value of art. In the industrial age, artisans gradually disappeared because their work was replaced by machines that could quickly make more products. Using the cheapest material and labor is one of the means for businessmen to earn the most profit at a lowest cost. Today, when we hear something is hand-made, we feel it must be precious and unique. Unfortunately, we are unable to go back to the time that every single thing was made by men. However, the beauty of art has been existed. As long as we look for it with our hearts, we will discover it.