Historical Views of Western Art


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Historical Views of Western Art

  1. 1. 4228465-319405Historical Views of Western Art<br />Ancient Greece<br />Athena Lemnia is a large bronze sculpture made by Phedias or Phidias-- one of the greatest sculptors of ancient Greece.As we consider the diversity and complexity of the modern world, it is only natural to ask: “Where did it all begun?” To answer the question, we must go back to a small town on the western edge of the settled world about five hundred years before the birth of Christ- Athens. It was the Athenians who, for the first time in the history, discovered how to achieve happiness by using their minds. Their time of glory was brief, only a couple of hundred years. But, what they had accomplished had shown more influence of Western Civilization than the achievements of any group of people even before.<br />In fact, the Greeks were intellectuals with a passion for using their minds. The word “school” comes from the Greek word, “leisure.” They thought that if a man had leisure, he would use it in thinking and finding out about the world. They called their healers as physicians, which mean those associated in the ways of nature. Scientific method is found on this concept:”Man is the measure of all things.” It was logical that their artists should be primarily concerned with the representation of the human figure.<br />They started when the Egyptian left off. If you have seen relics of Egyptian tombs, you will remember that they depict the human form in the easiest and most characterized pose. The head is always seen in the profile, the torso is strictly frontal, and the feet again in profile. The Egyptian did not experiment, they depicted people in this way because people had always been shown in this way.<br />In an ancient Greece, the Word “techne” is the closest equivalent of the word “art.” Techne, which means work or technical skill, can be applied to giving shape to any sort of object. But the Greeks had a special appreciation of mimesis (the imitation of reality) in painting sculpture and architecture.<br />The civilization of ancient Greece or Hellen began at about 1000 B.C. the geography of Greece varies greatly from that of Egypt, for Greece has a mountainous interior and a long and rugged coastline with many harbors.<br />Unlike Egypt, Greece was divided politically into small city-states (polis) with autonomous governments. This encouraged diversity of political structures, with Athens creating the first democratic state with popular representation. The ancient Greeks or Hellenes developed an outgoing disposition as seafarers and enjoyed an active commercial and cultural exchange with their neighbors.<br /> The development of countries in the near East and the eastern Mediterranean Sea continued. There were many great cultural achievements in Babylon, Assyria, Persia, Crete, Mycenae, and Greece. Although Greek civilization is recorded as early as 1100 B.C., its art became important after 500 B.C. beautifully proportioned sculpture and architecture were the joy of Greek people during the Golden Age of Pericles, 480-404 world’s most beautiful buildings.<br />Since the Athenians were intellectuals, we must approach their art intellectually; there are no trivia to capture the emotions. The finest of the buildings were those on the Acropolis, a hill formerly used as a fortress.<br /> The fundamental elements of Greek architecture are three types of columns or orders and entablatures such as the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian orders. They play a central role in classical architecture.<br />EVOLUTION OF DORIC ORDER<br />A) HALF ELEVATION OF PRTHENON<br />B) HALF SECTION THRO PORTICO<br />The Doric Order, with a plain abacus capital, is the shortest and the most massive of the three classical orders.<br />THE IONIC ORDER<br />A) ARCHAIC TEMPLE OF ARTEMIS: EPHESUS<br />B) TEMPLE ON THE ILISSUS: ATHENS<br />C) TEMPLE OF APOLLO EPICURIUS: BASSAE<br />The Ionic order is taller and more slender; it has a capital characterized by a pair of spirals or volutes, and a base<br />THE EVOLUTION OF THE CORINTHIAN CAPITAL<br />A) EGYPTIAN BELL CAP<br />B) FABLED ORIGIN<br />C) NATURAL ACANTHUS<br />D) TYPICAL GREEK LEAF<br />E) TYPICAL ROMAN LEAF<br />F) ………<br />G) ………<br />H) ……..<br />CORITHIAN ORDER<br />shaftcapitalarchitecturefriezecornice<br />The Corinthian order is the tallest and the most slender of the three; it has a capital featuring curly acanthus leaves, and a base. The shafts of all three orders have flutings which are vertical grooves for a light-and-dark effect as the rays of the sun hit the columns.<br />You will note that the great philosophers came at the end of the “Golden Age” and the beginning of the fourth century B.C. the fourth century B.C. was an age of contemplation; there was time then in which to think. The fifth century B.C. was an age of doing: building, decorating, providing plays to entertain the doers.<br />402971059055<br />Painting in ancient Greece was largely confined to pottery. Greek pottery was first in a highly stylized, geometric style, which later developed into the expressive, flexible style of the red-and white-figured vases. These were produced in a wide variety of shapes to suit diverse purposes: some were to contain wine oil, others were drinking vessels, while still others served as trophies awarded to the winning athletes in the Olympic games. The vase paintings portrayed genre scenes, such as important family occasions and athletes grooming for a contest; often they were graced with scenes from classical mythology.<br />*Greece is a mountainous peninsula that juts into the Mediterranean Sea. It includes hundreds of rocky islands off the coast. But the people of ancient Greece settled over a much wider area, from southern France to Asia Minor (now Turkey). Everywhere they went, they brought their language and traditions with them.<br />Ancient Egypt<br />4276725721360Ancient Egypt, which grew along the banks of the Nile River, Branching out into the fertile delta of Lower Egypt and emptying into the Mediterranean Sea, was one of the earliest important agricultural civilizations. The beginning of its history is marked at about 3, 000 B.C. with its simple geography based on sharp contrast---the fertile river banks with the linear disposition of cities along the Nile, flanked by the arid desert on both sides --- Egypt for a long period was under the centralized rule of a Pharaoh, “the great house,” the dynasties of which mark the periods of Egyptian history.<br />The art of ancient Egypt was closely related with religion, and to understand it, we must realize that the core is a profound preoccupation of death and immortality.<br />The mummy case. (Inside, the body is tightly bound in linen and preserved by oils and salt.) Among the ancient Egyptian deities were Ra, the sun god and the source of energy who is perpetually renewed at sunrise; Osiris, the god of the underworld who goes through several death and resurrections; Isis, his loyal and ever-watchful wife; and Ma’at, the goddess of truth who weighs a man’s heart against a feather. The spirit of man was Ka, residing in the body, and it was with utmost importance to provide it with shelter after death to ensure its long life existence. It was, therefore, necessary to preserve the image of the dead in painting and sculpture and preserve his remains by mummification.<br />It was in accordance with this belief that the Egyptians devoted more time and effort in building of tombs rather than the construction of dwellings. The earlier and simpler type of tomb was the mastaba, a chamber for the dead. This later developed, with the addition of several levels, into the step pyramid, such as that of Saqqara.<br />The great pyramids of the kings, especially that of King Khafre or Cheops, were the peak of pyramid construction. The largest was built on a base of 13 acres and rose about 450 feet.<br />According to Herodotus, it took 20 years in constructing The Great Pyramid that included the construction of two funeral temples on a causeway connecting them. Ten years was spent in preparing the site thus in carrying stones from the Nile.<br />The pyramid of Khafre and the sphinx of Giza, Egypt<br /> <br />Pharaoh Ikhnaton3057525962025Pharaoh Khafre ruled Egypt for fifty-six years.-1143001533525Nefertiti(The beautiful wife of Ikhnaton.)Funeral mask of eighteen-year-old King Tutankhamen, who ruled Upper and Lower Egypt 1, 350 years before Christ. Ancient Egyptian Kings were regarded as living gods and their names could not be uttered without a prayer.<br />