The second unit of Art History was jammed packed with sculptures of the ancient world. These sculptures were primarily of Ancient Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Mesopotamian origins. One of the more noteworthy ideas, is the uncanny similarities between statues and the evolution of ideas, art and thought throughout civilizations and time. I will be taking works of art from Ancient Mesopotamia, Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome and showing the evolution in concepts, and the art itself.
One of the first ancient civilizations we focused on was Mesopotamia. Mesopotamian Art features something radically different from the other ancient civilizations we have seen. Mesopotamian Art focuses primarily on religion, deities and hybrid humanoids. More specifically Mesopotamian art is highly symbolized with art works that include depictions of their gods, the after life and even nobles and gods with certain physical characteristics of animals. For example, the Stone Statue of Lamassu featured below is a classic example of a depiction of a human hybrid. Lamassu is depicted as having a human head, the body of a bull and a lion, and the wings of a bird. Mesopotamian and Egyptian Art work both value super natural and divine elements in their works. Both believed that humans alone are weak but when merged with certain animal characteristics, like the wings of a bird can help strengthen the human and make him much more powerful. For example, Horus, the god of the skies was commonly portrayed with the head of a falcon as seen below. Both the stone statues of Lamassu and the statue of Horus represent the divine aspects and representations that both Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt gave their works of art.
(Stone Statue of Lamassu) (Statue of Horus)
Ancient Greek and Ancient Roman art work share similarities within each-other, however vastly differ from works of art featured in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. While Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia valued supernatural elements in their works, the Greeks and Romans valued a more realistic depiction of humans in art. For Example, the two art works below show a more realistic approach to the human body than the art featured in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. While Egypt and Mesopotamia focused more on divine aspects and creating a powerful hybrid Greece and Rome were more realistic with their works. Roman and Greek sculptures and statues were comprised of either bronze or marble while ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian art was comprised of papyrus, clay, stone and other materials. The difference between the Greek and Roman art works is that the Roman work of art on the left shows an elderly man and features a bald, tired wrinkled expression of a man, a very realistic depiction of a man. While the Greek statue on the right features a very athletic young man who has a very fit body while muscles that are unrealistic and more importantly idealistic view point of humans during that time period.
We can view the progression of art throughout the ancient world as a linear development from divine and the supernatural to the idealistic depiction of a male featured in greek art to finally a realistic depiction of a man.