Ancient Art

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The progress of an artist is a continual self-sacrifice, a continual extinction of a personality. (T.S. Eliot, Tradition and the Individual Talent, 1919) A good example of a continual self sacrifice and continual extinction of personality is with Greek Art called "The Laocoon Group" and also with Roman Art called "The Arch of Constantine". A bold thesis for this article is "Inward Significance represents Art that brings chaos into order".

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Ancient Art

  1. 1. Ancient ArtCarla J. McCoyUnit 2 Discussion BoardAmerican InterContinental UniversityOctober 15th, 2008<br />IntroductionThe progress of an artist is a continual self-sacrifice, a continual extinction of a personality. (T.S. Eliot, Tradition and the Individual Talent, 1919) A good example of a continual self sacrifice and continual extinction of personality is with Greek Art called " The Laocoon Group" and also with Roman Art called " The Arch of Constantine" . A bold thesis for this article is " Inward Significance represents Art that brings chaos into order" . Identity<br />The Identity of the sculptor(s) who created The Laocoon was Agesander, Athenodorus, and Polydorus which is also been questioned. This sculpture was created in the 2nd century BC - 1st century AD in the stylistic tradition of the sculptures of Hellenistic Pergamon. The Identity of the sculptor(s) who created The Arch of Constantine was Constantine by putting up a triumphal arch to remind people of his victory. This arch was created in the time period of 312 AD. The name of this artwork is called “The Arch of Constantine”. The name of The Laocoon artwork actually has two names by which it’s known. One is “Laocoon and his Sons” and the other is “Laocoon Group”. The Laocoon belongs to the Greek culture, where The Arch of Constantine belongs to the Roman culture. Both pieces of art were made of Marble. The Arch of Constantine was built using gigantic marble blocks where as the attic of the art piece was mostly brickwork that was riveted with marble. The Laocoon’s subject matter is representational of an episode recounted in Virgil’s Aeneid (II. 199-231). the Trojan Priest or Apollo Priest and his sons being attacked by serpents in order to punish or devour him and his sons in order to stop the message from being delivered because Laocoon secretly learned of the Greek’s planned trick with the wooden horse. The Arch of Constantine’s subject matter commemorates Constantine’s victory over Maxentius during the battle of Milvian Bridge in 312 AD. During this time Christian Persecution ended and Christendom began. <br />Style<br /> The Laocoon Dimensions are 6 ft ¼ inches and is located in the Musei Vaticani, State of the Vatican City – Museo Pio-Clementino, Octagon, and Laocoon Hall. The Arch of Constantine’s Dimensions are 85 ft wide and 69 ft tall and is located west of the Colosseum in the centre of Rome. Both The Laocoon and The Arch of Constantine are made of Marble which has both advantages and disadvantages. Some advantages to both of these sculptures are that Marble Sculptures are comparable to human skin. When Marble is aged it becomes durable and hardens. The translucency within marble allows the visual depth to surface which gives it certain realism. Some Disadvantages to both of these sculptures are that marble absorbs oils from human skin so doesn’t do well when handled because it causes brown or rusty looking staining. The Arch of Constantine being outdoor will be affected by acid rain which is mostly caused by human emissions of sulfur and nitrogen compounds that react in the atmosphere and produce acids. The Laocoon would not be affected by acid rain being inside a museum but would be affected by human touch. The Laocoon has several elements such as expressive lines because it is three dimensional and has contour as well as possibly being considered a silhouette. Expressive lines were used to create this masterpiece to help define the mass sculpture. It also has shape and holds its natural marble coloring. The coloring is bright and shiny and the texture of The Laocoon is smooth which gives it a more realistic look. The Laocoon also has space because it is three dimensional as well as Composition because it can pull the viewer’s eye to the important parts of the body of the work. This piece of fine art also has Balance because it has stability and some shapes are repeated which gives it a feeling of equal weight. The Laocoon also has Harmony because the look of the artwork is uncomplicated yet you can see differences in the work by viewing different shapes, which could give it variety. Movement is also a part of The Laocoon because it shows action. When it comes to the Arch of Constantine you can see Line because it is also three dimensional and has contour. The Arch of Constantine also has Shape and color because parts of the bridge or railway up above are slightly enclosed and the coloring has brightness. The Marble has different coloring which gives the impression it wasn’t all created at one particular time. The Arch of Constantine also has Texture because it is rough, as well as smooth. It also has Space because it is three dimensional and has Value because some areas hold more lightness and others hold more darkness in this sculpture. There are developing points of interest in this sculpture which give it emphasis. The Arch of Constantine can be viewed as having Balance because some shapes are repeated. I do not believe that this sculpture has Harmony though because harmony gives an uncomplicated look and the Arch of Constantine has a complicated look in my personal opinion, however others may not feel the same way I do about this art. The Arch of Constantine also has Variety because there are several differences in the work such as shapes, textures, colors and values. It also has movement which adds excitement because of the action that’s shown in the art. The Arch of Constantine has Proportion as well because there are small objects and there are large objects seen in the art. The Arch of Constantine and The Laocoon both are abstract, naturalistic, idealistic, and realistic so they both have a combination of style. The subject of each sculpture is being depicted by a victorious war as a result. Both the Arch of Constantine and The Laocoon were victorious in their battles. In The Laocoon Sculpture the Poseidon sent the snakes to devour the Trojan Priest and his sons. In the Arch of Constantine Sculpture is representational of its victory over Maxentius. The Arch of Constantine depicts several events in the life of Marcus Aurelius which includes sacrifice, speeches to the army, a triumphal entry into Rome and giving bread to the poor.<br />Function/Symbolism<br /> The Arch of Constantine was made three years after battle with wording about how Constantine saved the republic “by greatness of mind and impulse of divinity.” It was made to commemorate this victory; the Senate of Rome awarded Constantine a Triumphal arch. The Laocoon was created in the Trojan Priest’s image yet has various definitions and different historical perspectives about it. The Laocoon is sacred and the Arch of Constantine is also sacred. Both of these sculptures communicate messages which show victories achieved on both parts. The Arch of Constantine is of significant importance for Christian History. Both The Laocoon and The Arch of Constantine have symbolism because of the events represented in the sculptures that took place in real life. The Laocoon is functioned as a symbol of past struggles overcome so that Rome's glory could be realized.<br />Cultural Context<br /> What was happening religiously Between 280 – 337 A.D. is that Constantine brought moral force of Christianity to revive the spirit of the declining empire and he created a capital at Byzantium, which was renamed Constantinople. After a series of civil wars, Constantine became the first western emperor in which he ascribed his success to a vision of a Christian Cross and bean favorable treatment of Christians. As the Christian church grew in power; disputes arose. Constantine was also baptized shortly before his death. (HyperHistory Online, 2008) Socially, the Circus Maximus in ancient Rome, expanded under Constantine in the 4th century CE, and had a seating capacity of 250,000. This was the largest hippodrome in Rome that seated an estimated 150,000 spectators during the time of Julius Caesar. Appius Claudius began construction of the Appian Way as a military highway. Co-emperor Licinius unified the whole of the eastern empire under his own rule and Constantine met with the eastern emperor at Milan and agreed on a policy of religious tolerance. The Edict of Milan legalized Christianity, but also allowed Romans religious choice. Constantine also executed his own son Flavius Julius Crispus, born to his 1st wife, under the persuasion of his 2nd wife Fausta. During the time period of 313 CE Constantine and Licinius, the Eastern ruler, agree to end Diocletian persecutions of Christianity also which was called the Edict of Milan. <br />Compare and Contrast<br /> When viewing the Laocoon and The Arch of Constantine there are several similarities. One of which is that they both are made of Marble and both tell a historical story. Both are Sculptures and have Inscriptions. Both the Laocoon and The Arch of Constantine are three dimensional works of Fine Art and have their original Marble Coloring. They have shape, texture, and are both representational as well as abstract. Each piece has a balance as well. The Subject Matter of the Laocoon was created between 160 BC and 20 BC and it functioned as a symbol of past struggles overcome so that Rome's glory could be realized. What was depicted in this piece was that Laocoon, a Trojan high priest and his two sons were being strangled by a sea snake or given divine punishment for having warned the city of Troy not to accept the Trojan wooden horse. The Arch of Constantine on the other hand is representational of its victory over Maxentius. There are several shapes within both sculptures that give them a sense of being real or realistic. Both the Arch of Constantine and The Laocoon are regarded as historical pieces of Greek and Roman Fine Art. One major difference between the two are the characters and their stories that each art piece holds.<br />ConclusionEvery artist holds Inward Significance that represents art that can bring chaos into order. For Instance, The Laocoon for example: when this piece was created it took much diligence, effort and time in creating a piece that depicted the Apollo Trojan priest's punishment for trying to warn the city of Troy not to accept the Trojan Wooden Horse. The Arch of Constantine represents its victory over Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge. It reflects that this victory was due to the aid of God of the Christians which is another comparison to The Laocoon being as Apollo of the Trojan Priest also was aided by god's message in the sky, in warning the city of Troy. The thesis is proven in this article by comparing and contrasting both pieces of art and showing substantial evidence of each. The differences and similarities are intriguing because even though these are in different time eras there is a lot about each piece of artwork that is the same, yet different, and each story told had chaos that was brought to order and brought inward significance to many people, not just the artist. <br />References<br />Electronic Resource: http://www.panoramicearth.com/304/Rome/Arch_of_ConstantineElectronic Resource: http://www.sacred-destinations.com/italy/rome-arch-of-constantine.htmElectronic Resource: http://www.aviewoncities.com/rome/constantinearch.htmElectronic Resource: http://idliketocallyourattentionto.blogspot.com/2007/06/laocoon-group.htmlElectronic Resource: http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/en/pain/microsite/culture3.html<br />Electronic Resource: http://www.hyperhistory.com/online_n2/History_n2/a.html<br />

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