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Annotated Bibliography

Topic: Animals in ancient art and the role of animals in depicting people, settings, and period of artworks.

Thesis: Animals have played a significant role on enhancing the way we perceive beings in
ancient artworks.

“Last Judgement of Hunefer, from His Tomb.” Khan Academy, Khan Academy, www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ap-art-history/ancient-mediterranean-ap/ancient-egypt-ap/v/judgement-in-the-presence-of-osiris-hunefer-s-book-of-the-dead.

I will use this citation to analyze the use of animal heads in depicting ancient Egyptian gods and their significance of their representation in the judgment to afterlife.  I will deconstruct the meaning as to why each god has a different animal head representing their roles in the afterlife.

“Venus of Urbino by Titian at Uffizi Gallery Florence.” Visit Uffizi, www.visituffizi.org/artworks/venus-of-urbino-by-titian/.

With this source, I will explain the significance of the dog in Venus of Urbino and why it is at the foot of the bed in this painting.  I will explain the correlation of the young naked woman and the reason as to why this painting would be a good gift for a young, newlywed couple.

“The Significance of the Horse in Ancient Greece.” It’s All Greek, It’s All Greek, 29 Apr. 2015, itsallgreeklondon.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/the-significance-of-the-horse-in-ancient-greece/.

Horses are commonly depicted in ancient Greek art.  I will discuss the significance of horses during this time period, while also explaining why they were so often carved into so many works.

UNIT 2 SUMMARY

The art of the ancient worlds has offered us a significant historical information about very unique ancient civilizations. While sharing many commonalities with one another, ancient Egyptian, Roman, and Greek art has enlightened us about each civilizations beliefs, morals, ideals, and hierarchies in differentiating ways. They served as historical records of gods, powerful people, governments, and rituals.  These works allow us to see what various ancient civilization depicted as godly and worthy of worship. From the depiction of the human body to fine details like the utilization of lines to create depth in settings, these works revolutionized and inspired the art of the future.

Firstly, ancient Egyptian artworks depicted godlike figures as larger than normal.  They were mostly carved into stone to display an event, important person/god, and record history.  Depictions of the afterlife were common in ancient Egyptian art. This meant that the people in Egypt at this time were very in tune with the afterlife and the means to make it passed death.  Anubis was known by almost every Egyptian. He was prominent in carvings depicting the afterlife. Many times, godly figures did not resemble humans at all. Many times they appeared as several different animals as one being.  For example, Anubis had a jackal head and Ammit was part lion, hippopotamus and crocodile.

In contrast, Greeks and Romans depicted gods as having more human like characteristics. Humanism was the focus of many of their ancient artworks.  These figures depicted gods and nobility with ideal human figures body. Athletic and manly builds, were shared by powerful male figures that were represented in sculptures.  They were made of long lasting materials such as bronze, marble, and other stones. They believed that people should strive to be more like those figures. In addition, many of these figures were nude, something the ancient Egyptians did not do, as nudity was not seen in a positive light.  Romans depicted their figures as more realistic, thus embracing nudity in many of their sculptures. Humanism would cause sculptures to reflection actual people at the time. Humanism would cause sculptures to showing an aged face, scars, and differentiating postures and positions.

In all, no matter the way they these civilizations depicted their ideals and beliefs, they reflected the culture and society these ancient civilizations lived in.  It gives us a window into history as to how these people lived and their ideas. It tells us about their government, religion, morality, and important people and gods.   all ancient artistic cultures aimed to depict individuals of power or significance, ideas, and events with differences only lying in material use and style.

Humanism in Greek and Roman Art

The definition of humanism is an outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters.

Humanism in Greek art history focuses on the human figure. Gods and nobles are represented as aesthetically superior to average individuals.  Defined bone and muscle structure in Greek figures are very common. When observing different examples of humanism in Greek art, one can see that the human form reflected their religious beliefs, mythical stories, and people in their everyday lives.  Men were depicted with youth, an athletic build, and confident stances. In contrast, women were made to look feminine, shy, and relaxed.

Unlike Greek art where nudity was an implication of power and divine status, Mesopotamian and Egyptian art depicted their kings and other people of high status with clothing.  In addition, gods depicted in ancient Egyptian art are depicted with non-human qualities. Animal heads were common in the depiction of gods in Egypt. An example of this is of Anubis.  Anubis has a jackal head because he would guide you to the afterlife.

In Greek art, powerful beings were depicted as distinguishable humans while in Egyptian art, powerful beings were depicted as large beings with human-like qualities along with several animal characteristics.  Gods were physically distinguishable from the average man.

The Discobolus is an example of humanism in Greek art.  It displays all the physical ideals a man should embody.  An athletic build, youth, and strength. You can see the effort made to make the sculpture embody the ideal male physique.  From the hair to the individual muscles, it is clear to see that the Greeks tried to make their pieces as realistic as possible.

In The Weighing of the Heart Ceremony, Papyrus is depicted overseeing the weighing a heart.  This was done to determine if one could pass on to the afterlife or not.  Anubis is seen adjusting the scale and comparing his heart to a feather. If the heart weight heavier than the feather, the heart would be fed to the goddess Ammit.

Museum Visit

Part 1:

The Brooklyn museum’s ancient Egypt exhibit was truly a spectacle. The exhibit displayed many ancient artworks, but the one that caught my interest was the statue of Queen Ankhnes-meryre ll and her son, Pepy ll. The first thing I noticed about it was the material that was used. It was carved out of a glassy stone that had a beige/ivory color. Its condition has remarkably been preserved after thousands of years. This is significant because it means that the queen and her son were very important figures because of the quality of material that was used to sculpt them.
The second thing I observed was the queen sitting on what appears to be a step, cradling her son. The child can be identified as male because of his head dress. His size compared to his mother can determine that he is still young. Another thing I noted about the sculpture is that both the queen and her son’s feet are rested on a platform. This might represent their status and god-like figure.
Lastly, I noticed that the queen and her son are not facing the same direction. The queen is the face you would notice first. This could represent the importance of her role in raising her heir and the future of Egypt. It could also represent the role of women in general during this time in Egypt. Women were responsible for raising the children of the future. In some aspects, they were the most important member in the family.

PART 2:

In the Soul Of The Nation exhibit, There were many pieces that represented the different kinds of discrimination amongst people of color. One piece that I found interesting was “Did The Bear Sit Under a Tree”, by Benny Andrews. The first thing I noticed was the medium used to create this piece. A combination of fabrics were used in the flag, shirt, and canvas. Paint was layered on thick, as if the painter was angry and slapping paint onto the canvas. Lines were not straight, and the stars on the flag were not uniform in size either. I believe the artist’s intention was to send a message rather than creating an art piece for its aesthetic. I also noticed the various splatters and drips distributed on the flag and the black man standing behind it. The American flag is rolled up, revealing an angry black man. He is holding his fists up at the flag. I think that the message of this painting was to show the hypocrisy of the American flag. The flag symbolizes freedom and equality, but hiding behind it is the tyranny of American history. The man is depicted with a zipper for a mouth. African Americans were not able to exercise the same freedoms as other citizens. The zipper symbolized the censorship of their voices. This piece along with the other artworks in the Soul of The Nation exhibit, show us the systematic oppression of African American in American history. It allows us to understand the pain and frustration of these people even if you weren’t there at that time.

Unit 1 Summary

The first thing we learned in Unit 1 was Paolo Friere, Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Friere’s Banking Model was explained as the systematic oppression of students through standard methods of education in schools.  Teacher instruct students a binary fashion and creativity is never acknowledged as an asset. There is only wrong and right answers in this method of educating. It assumes that children have no existing intelligence and that they must give them all the information they need to succeed.  Instead of building upon their existing intelligence and creativity, their intelligence is based upon grades and performance. This methods empowers teachers and their superiors. By eliminating the individuality and uniqueness of each child, they are treated as machines. Children who can’t catch up are punished or left behind.  Those that can meet performance criteria are easy to control and overall cost less effort for teachers to produce good grades.

The subject after Pedagogy and Power was Formal Analysis.  Formal analysis is a point by point assessment of components of an artwork. It is used to formulate a better understanding of  an artwork such as its purpose, historical significance, and artistic qualities. Formal analysis allows us to understand the mind of the artist the best way we can.  In every artwork, we look at several components, They are color, space, line, scale and mass.When you observe the color of an artwork, you can identify its color scheme and link it to an emotion.  Warm tones like red and orange can convey a message about love or passion while cool tones could represent winter or sadness. Contrast can help direct the eyes to a specific subject in an artwork.  It can bring attention to a certain element to convey the artist’s message. Lines can create depth perception in an artwork. By including light and dark shades, subjects could appear closer or farther. Sharper lines would mean the subject is closer while faded undefined lines would mean the subject was farther.  The size of the artwork can also tell us information about the painting. It tells us the intended audience of the painting. A large painting would be made for a large audience, while a very small painting could be made as a personal gift for someone. When observing Titian Venus of Urbino, warm tones are prominent and may have been used as a link to its historical context or the emotion of the painting.  Although formal analysis does not tell us exactly what the artist had in mind, it allows us to have a cohesive understanding of the painting.

  Unit 1 has given me a lot of insight into things that are outside of the subject of art.  It gave me a new perspective on the nature of humans and their need to express their thoughts and emotions.  With each medium an artist uses, it represents a historical significance. I now assess all works of art through formal analysis in order to understand the story a work of art tells.

Formal Analysis

Formal analysis is a point by point assessment of  components of an artwork. It is used to formulate a better understanding of  an artwork such as its purpose, historical significance, and artistic qualities.   Formal analysis allows us to understand the mind of the artist the best way we can.  In every artwork, we look at several components, They are color, space, line, scale and mass.

When you observe the color of an artwork, you can identify its color scheme and link it to an emotion.  Warm tones like red and orange can convey a message about love or passion while cool tones could represent winter or sadness.

Contrast can help direct the eyes to a specific subject in an artwork.  It can bring attention to a certain element to convey the artist’s message.   Lines can create depth perception in an artwork.  By including light and dark shades, subjects could appear closer or farther. Sharper lines would mean the subject is closer while faded undefined lines would mean the subject was farther.

The size of the artwork can also tell us information about the painting.  It tells us the intended audience of the painting.  A large painting would be made for a large audience, while a very small painting could be made as a personal gift for someone.

Although formal analysis does not tell us exactly what the artist had in mind, it allows us to have a cohesive understanding of the painting.

 

Pedagogy & Power

Freire used the banking model of education to criticize the faults in methods of teaching in the education system.  It assumes that children have no existing intelligence and that they must give them all the information they need to succeed.  Instead of building upon their existing intelligence and creativity, their intelligence is based upon grades and performance.  This methods empowers teachers and their superiors.  By eliminating the individuality and uniqueness of each child, they are treated as machines.  Children who can’t catch up are punished or left behind.  Those that can meet performance criteria are easy to control and overall cost less effort for teachers to produce good grades.

Most of my childhood education included elements of the banking model system.  Although some teachers valued my uniqueness and the individuality of their students, they still had to give grades out to each student.  Those report cards could destroy a students self-esteem and maybe even discourage them from being passionate about learning.

However, the banking model system was even more prominent in after-school private tutoring.  I work at a private tutoring center where everyone is expecting high grades and improved performance. Parents pay private tutors to get better performance from their children, so tutors are forced to push students to study and get good grades.  I have a hard time explaining to the children the reason why they have to do so much classwork.  These already struggling students are pushed to do things they already despise, thus creating an even greater hatred for learning.