Art History 1
TEST 2 REVIEW de Beaufort
The Ancient Near East
White Temple and ziggurat,
Citadel of Sargon II,
Dur Sharrukin , Iraq.
The Warka Vase,
from Uruk, Iraq.
Two worshipers, from the Square Temple at Eshnunna
Victory stele of Eannatum
Head of an Akkadian ruler,
Victory stele of Naram-Sin,
from Susa, Iran.
Seated statue of Gudea holding temple plan,
from Girsu, Iraq.
Stele with law code of Hammurabi,
from Susa, Iran.
Statue of Queen Napir-Asu,
from Susa, Iran.
Relief from the Palace of Ashurnasirpal II,
Ashurbanipal hunting lions,
Nineveh , Iraq.
The Gods of Mesopotamia:
Many Gods but one above others
Over 2,000 deities and demons
The Two Triads:
Anu: The father of the gods (creator); god of heaven
Ea: God of Water
Enlil: God of earth, wind, and air
Shamash: God of the sun, judge, and law giver; god of wisdom
Nanna: God of the moon
Ishtar (Innana): Goddess of love, fertility, and war
Marduk and Tiamat
Babylonian Creation Story
The Epic of Gilgamesh
The Epic of Gilgamesh
Ca. 2,100 BCE
Gilgamesh: God-like king of Uruk
Part human, part god, blessed with beauty and courage
Spurns the love of Ishtar (the Queen of Heaven) and kills the Bull of Heaven.
He is punished with the loss of his dearest (male) companion, Enkidu, forced to
Emotional bonds between men more common in Ancient World
Gilgamesh then goes on a quest for everlasting life.
When he finds a plant that promises everlasting life, a serpent snatches it away.
He is left with a vision of death, a “house of dust,” and a place of inescapable sadness.
Biblical Parallels ( Pan Babylonism)
Adam(Enkidu) and Eve (Shamhat)
Great Flood and Noah (Utnapishtim)
Serpent and Eternal Life
Defeated by Gutians
Defeated by Elamites
Defeated by Hittites/Kassites
Creation of a writing system (Cuneiform)
Development of the Wheel
Seals verify legal documents and ownership
Horizontal narrative bands
Figures: Men – bare chested with kilts
Women – left shoulder covered
Nudity is a debasement, only slaves and prisoners are nude
Perpetual prayer to cult god
Royal Cemetery of Ur-excavated Sir Leonard Woolley
Interest in afterlife
Massive structures having the form of a terraced step pyramid of successively receding
stories or levels. The Mesopotamian ziggurats were not places for public worship or
ceremonies as they were believed to be dwelling places for the gods. Only priests were
permitted on the ziggurat or in the rooms at its base, and it was their responsibility to care
for the gods and attend to their needs.
Symbolic Mountains (Axis Mundi)
The White Temple and Anu Ziggurat
Named after the principal god Anu
The White Temple was constructed over the Anu Ziggurat
Both temples entailed massive manpower inputs—7500 man-years alone
Center of the temple (“Waiting Room”)
Ziggurat of Ur
The “Nanna” Ziggurat
Tapers outward for rain to wash off
Four corners oriented to the compass
Guardhouse at top of stairs
Not built in stages
Nanna (Sin) is Moon God
Royal Cemetery of Ur
Discovered by Sir Leonard Woolley ca. 1922
Akkadian, Neo-Sumerian, Babylonian, and Hittite Cultures
Sumer is taken over by the Akkadians.
The style of rule is different – city-state rulers are not as important – one king for all the
Art deifies the king – who rules with the gods’ approval, not assistance
Appropriates Sumerian iconography in their art – why not?
Sargon I (head of)-lost wax casting method
The Victory Stele of Naram-Sin
Taken to Susa by the Elamites in 1150 BCE as “War Booty”
Frontal chest but the rest of the body in profile. (Same as Egyptian) This shows
his power and the correct side “right side” of the ruler. Soldiers as well.
Symbols of Authority and Kingship –
Largest Figure (Hierarchical Scale). Larger even than the Gods (stars).
Wears the horned crown typical of several cultures in Mesopotamia.
Directional Symbols –
Upward diagonal motion of King’s soldiers at left, downward motion of enemy.
Symbolic of death. We will see this convention even in Medieval art.
The “Guti” people invade from the mountains and wipe out Akkadians.
Only Gudea, and Lagash remain independent.
Gudea’s patron God is Ningirsu.
Seated Statue of Gudea 2100 BCE diorite temple statue
• Ensi (priest King) of Lagash- 20 statues survive
• Holding temple plans- he built /rebuilt many temples
• Power and authority:
– messages to the gods, temple plans,
– diorite (rare), bare shoulder,
– muscular physique
The Amorites conquer the “Guti” and make their capital in Babylon
Law Code of Hammurabi
One of the earliest law codes ever written.
Different punishments for different people (rank)>
Most laws concern property rights
Sun god (Shamash), hands Hamurabi a rope, a ring, and a (measuring)rod of kingship.
He is literally given right to rule by god.
Horned helmet, bare shoulder
Engages his God directly.
Winged Human-headed guardian figures meant to ward off enemies, seen and unseen
Front – at attention
Side – walking
Babylon falls to the Hittites in 1595 BCE
From 900-600 BCE Assyrians take charge
Praised the greatness of the King
Figures are stoic but the animals are expressive
Domination over wild beasts shows authority of king over his people.
Lion Slaughters are the most frequent
The Assyrians continued this same interest in detail and brought it to an even
higher level. Primarily they are known for their historical battle scenes. These
lined the palace courtyards at cities like ancient Khorsabad, Nimrud, and
Their main function was to impress dignitaries and visitors with the might and
heroism of their Empire, which lasted longer than any other in the region—for
approx. 600 years.
Citadel at Dur Sharukin
“I caused a mighty wall to circumscribe Babylon…so that the enemy who would
do evil would not threaten…
King Nubuchadnezzar the biblical Daniel’s “King of Kings”
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
"temple of the foundation of heaven and earth"
Glazed brick over mud walls
Animals guard the city
Lions sacred to the goddess Ishtar
Marduk- Patron God of Babylon
Dragon is sacred to Marduk