SCTD Art History I -Exam I

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study guide for SCTD's art history I class, exam I.

Prehistory

eras prior to evidence of the written word.

Greek term "Palaios"

Old or Ancient

Greek term "Lithos"

Stone

characteristics of the Paleolithic

ice age in Europe, portable deer skin tents, small family groups, stone tools, hunter-gatherer society, nomadic life style, cave art, few human images.

Bulls: rotunda. Lascaux Cave, France

describe quality of cave art images/animals

life sized, realistic, anatomically correct, detailed, some in outline, some painted realistically in colors, overlapping images from different eras.

are human images common in Paleolithic cave art?

no, only one image, a stick figure, likely dates from this time.

tools for making cave art

hands, fingers, hollow reeds, animal-hair brushes, freyed sticks, charcoal chunks...

pigments/materials used in cave art

terra-cotta clay (red), white clay, ochre, charcoal-mixed with animal fats/water/saliva.

Statuette of a Woman: Willendorf, Austria

why were the titles for statuettes of women changed from "Venus of..."?

To prevent possible misconceptions about the figures being goddesses, representing ideal beauty, being sexualized objects, etc.

What are some accepted interpretations for the statuettes of women like the Willendorf figurine?

"Clan mother" figure, amulet for protection of women, child's doll, symbol of well-being, representations of women's life cycle from puberty to old age.

Why might Paleolithic female statuettes have no facial features?

It may not be an important focus of the work. They may not represent specific individuals. It may represent the concept of womanhood in general.

What might the textured pattern on the top of the Willendorf statuette of a woman represent?

A woven cap, braided hair, a repeated decorative motif.

Characteristics of the Neolithic

Warming climate, more complex stone tools, improved spear-thrower, invention of the wheel, invention of pottery, larger groups of people in clans, semi-permanent shelters of mud brick, more human figures appear in art, megalithic structures, etc...

Head. Nok region, Africa

What were the Nok Heads used for?

Ancestor veneration, communication with the spirit world, finials on posts of ceremonial structures.

What might the triangular patterns on the cheeks of the Nok Heads represent?

body art: tattoo, scarification, paint, etc..

Stonehenge complex. Salisbury Plain, England

Post and Lintel or Trilithon

Henge

A circle of posts or stones surrounded by a low ditch.

accepted purpose of Stonehenge complex

An astronomical observatory/planting calender/spiritual and ceremonial structure.

city-state

A walled settlement with job specialization, a trade economy and a population of 20,000-50,000 people.

"Firsts" of the Ancient Sumerians

love song, epic poem (Gilgamesh), library, historian, written laws, organized government, common use of the wheel, pharmacopia, etc...

name of sections in relief carvings that divide the action.

registers

What is being celebrated in the carvings on the surface of the Sumerian ceremonial vessel?

Harvest and the fertility goddess.

Low relief carving

Sumerian Worshipper figures

Why were Egyptian grave statues made to be so square and rigid-like the seated image of Khafre from his tomb?

To be stable, to last forever, to be formal and serious showing the importance of the individual depicted.

Are Egyptian statutes of royalty typically accurate portraits?

No, they are idealized and 'perfected', all using the same basic faces and bodies.

The Cannon of Proportions

An Egyptian grid system for enlarging snd reducing images in 2D or 3D while maintaining correct proportions.

How did the Cannon of Proportions make the production of sculpture faster?

It enabled quarry workers to follow the grid plans and remove excess stone, therby creating the basic shape for the statue which would be finished by the more skilled sculptors.

How did the Nile make Egypt a good place for agriculture?

It provided water for irrigation, easy travel for trade, and its flooding left behind silt/fertilizer/topsoil.

Votive Palette of King Narmer

What event does the Palette of Narmer commemorate?

The uniting of Upper and Lower Egypt.

What practical purpose did palettes serve in ancient Egypt?

They were for the grinding and mixing of eye makeup.

Characteristics of Egyptian Art.

Formal, side view of heads, frontal views of eye, frontal view chests, side view legs, both feet on a ground line, realistic style, size equals status, meant to be read like text.

The god Horus presides over the capture of 6,000 lower Egyptians.

Symbolizes the uniting of upper and lower Egypt

Pond in a garden. Tomb of Nebamun

Why does the artist of Pond in a Garden combine multiple view points to make the image?

To show the maximum amount of specific detail, it is meant to be more of a list of goods that a painting for decorative purposes.

Fresco

Painting into wet plaster.

Why would removing the cartouche and other symbols from an Egyptian statue be problematic?

It would make it nearly impossible to identify who it represents, since the images of royalty were standardized and idealized.

How might the Egyptian custom of wearing eye makeup have begun?

As a means to darker around the eye, reducing the sun's glare in the desert.

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