Woman from Willendorf

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-a highly abstract image of a very prego woman, images primarily used to help mother and child get through the pregnancy (charms in easing the pains of childbirth) 
-symbolic of the female’s (and therefore the earth’s) fertility
-found in Maya civilization




Soundbox of a Lyre


 -decorative panel shows mythic animals bearing food and wine to a banquet 

-from a royal tomb at Ur, Iraq

 -Old babylonians



Wall paintings from the tomb of Nefertari


-at left crowned queen approaches the ibis-headed god Thoth, the divine scribe who records human deeds, to the right Osiris is seated on the throne where he judges the souls of the dead.
-Nefertari’s figure is carved in a high relief that captures the contours of fingers, legs and facial detail, displaying the egyptians highly stylized form of art





Classic Greek

-used to be much gaudier in classical times, with its sculptures brightly painted in red, gold and blue
-dedicated to city’s patron deity Athena
-Athens, made of pentelic marble with doric columns
-embodies the classical spirit of ancient Greece
-a refined example of the Greek temple style, expressed the city’s wealth and power
-construction funded by allied states
-shows evidence of a recurring mathematical ratio of 1 : 2 + 1, as in the number of columns


Bronze statue of a warrior

Classic Greek
-Riace Warrior, bronze with glass-plate, bone, silver and copper inlay
-such figures were greek ideals of male prowess and nobility
-possibly the work of Phidias himself and one of only a few original bronze statues surviving from the classical period



Augustus of Primaporta – Roman

-discovered in a provincial roman town
-one of the porpagated official images throughout Caesar Augstus‘ empire
-face slightly idealized but still recognizable
-dolphin at his side alludes to the goddess Venus, mother of trajan hero Aeneas, from whom Augustus claimed descent (effective propaganda)




Roman the Pantheon

-perfect geometry and lavish interior decoration made it one of antiquity’s most admired buldings
-to romans it’s interior hemispherical dome symbolized the unity of the cosmos and of the roman imperial world
-perfect hemisphere resting on a cylinder of exactly the same diameter (144 ft; 44m)
-built by emperor Hadrian at the height of Rome’s imperial power
-dedicated to seven planetary gods



Portrait bust of Cicero


-inspired by the Romans‘ veneration of their ancestors, roman sculptors excelled in portraiture
-displayed is the late-republican orator and philosopher Cicero portrayed as a man of principle and deep conviction
-captured the rugged naturalism of republican Rome
-suggests the hard-headed realism and self-reliance of this leader of the republican era




Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus


-carved sarcophagus was a Roman tradition readily adapted to christian use
-figures in a finely carved classical style, scenes of affliction and sin, alternate with scenes of redemption
-evident of Judeo-christian symbolism and the classical style


Mosaics of Justinian and Theodora


-figures‘ exaggerated eyes and strictly frontal poses are features of Byzantine pictorial art, which moved toward greater spirituality and abstraction, away from classical-style naturalism
-courtly retinues
-Justinian portrait represents the union of state power and church power that distinguished the Byzantine from the Roman church
-both in the interior of San Vitale church in Ravenna, Italy
-ultimate fusion of the imperial splendor and Christian piety


Ivory Book cover showing Gregory and scribes

Medieval – Carolingian

-portrayed the early Christian pope as inspired by the holy spirit, represented by a dove

-pope gregory I’s authorship of the so-called gregorian chant was more legendary than historical 



Church of St. Surnan, Toulouse France


-an important way-station on the most traveled pilgrimage routes
-basic cross-shaped christian church that was expanded to serve medieval pilgrims
-a spacious nave was required to accommodate the masses of pilgrims who gathered
-possessed monumental solidity and an ordered hierarchy of parts, to the pilgrims and monks who filled the church, the graceful subordination of half-domes  in the apse and chapels must have been evidence of God’s ordered creation while the massive nave piers and walls seemed like ramparts against a world of sin and temptation


Gislebetus, “Last Judgement”

Medieval – Romanesque

-tympanun sculpture, west portal, Cathedral of St-Lazare, Autun, France
-among Romanesque sculptors, Gislebertus was a master of engagin narrative detail
-sculptor intended such vivid images to instruct illiterate churchgoers in the horrors that awaited the sinful at the Last Judgement





Hilldegard receiving a vision

Medieval – Romanesque

-elaborate cosmology that was revealed to Hildegard in painful, ecstatic visions that seized her
-insights were expressed as powerful images
-the abbess is shown receiving her first vision, while a monastic scribe records her testimony



Abraham and Isaac – Chartres Cathedral


-this jamb sculpture creates an animated drama, preparing to sacrifice his son, Abraham turns toward the angel who instructs him instead to slay the ram

-more animated and dramatic looking then those of earlier gothic sculptures

-frank emotionalism


Giotto – Madonna Enthroned

Medieval – Gothic

-tempera on wood

-Italian painter Giotto di Bondone’s break 

-revolutionary technique used shading to create a feeling of volume and depth
-foreground angels, receding lines, obscured background figures-that contribute to the sense of spatial realism 



Santa Maria del Fiore – Santa Maria

Florence Cathedral


-dome by Filppo Brunelleschi

-became the city’s trademark

-the bell tower was designed by Giotto in the previous century

-a symbol of Renaissance humanism



Ghiberti’s doors to the Cathedral Baptistry, Florence


-Lorenzo Ghiberti
-touchstone works of the early renaissance; the project of designing and casting the doors occupied Ghiberti for nearly his entire caree
-the creative process took mastering in many different arts including drawing, architectural design, sculptural techniques and metalworking


Michelangelo, David

-a statement of the sculptor;s and his city;s aduacious confidence
-carved for the Florence Cathedral

-combined classical values with a biblical subject 


Raphael, School of Athens

-In Stanza della Segnatura, Vatican Palaces, rome
-pays homage to the wisdom of the classical past; tribute to christian learning
-horizontal division between the painting’s human actors and the classical architectural setting; and the vertical division between the philosophical them of abstract thought and practical knowledge


Marriage of Giovanni Arnolfini – Jan van Eyck


-oil on panel

-mastery of light, color and pictorial space, benign realism

-subtle command of pictorial detail

-portrait which served as a pictorial wedding certificate, shows the couple surrounded by symbols of fidelity and fertility 


Palladio, Villa Rotunda, Vicenza Italy


-rigorously symmetrical floor plan which consists of a circle within a square, with four identical classical-style porticos
-classical porticos on all four sides took advantage of the surrounding vistas
-use of a central dome in a non-sacred building was unprecedented in the Renaissance and would influence the choice of domed buildings for residences and capitols throughout Europe and the Americas