Art History Slide Notes

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Venus of Willendorf
from Willendorf, Austria
28,000 – 25,000 BCE
Naturhistorisches Museum, Vienna
- representation of a woman
- female anatomy is exaggerated
- serves as a fertility image
- no facial features, just hair/hat
- freestanding sculpture
Statuettes of 2 worshipers
from the Square Temple at Eshnunna (Tell Asmar), Iraq
2700 BCE (early dynastic/Sumerian)
Soft gypsum and inlaid with shell + black limestone
Iraq Museum, Baghdad
- represent mortals praying
- tiny beakers were used in religious rites
- men wear belts + fringed skirts + have beard + shoulder-length hair - women wear long robes
- heads tilt upwards with large open eyes
- not proportionate, eyes=too big and hands=too small
Bull-headed lyre
from tomb789 (King’s Grave), Royal Cemetery, Ur (Tell Muqayyar), Iraq 2600 BCE
Bull’s head = gold leaf over a wooden core
Hair, beard = lapis lazuli
University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia - sound panel depicts a hero grasping animals that look human, serving at a banquet + playing music
Spotted horse+ negative handprint
from Pech Merle, France
22,000 BCE (Paleolithic)
Wall painting (cave)
- negative hand imprints
- horse in profile Hall of the Bulls
from Lascaux, France
15,000 – 13,000 BCE (Paleolithic)
- coloured and non-coloured silhouettes
Wall painting of horses, rhinos, aurochs
from Chauvet Cave, Vallon-Pont-d’Arc, France
30,000 – 28,000 BCE
- oldest cave paintings
- advanced features (overlapping animal horns)

Bird Headed Man with Bison
from Lascaux, France
15,000 – 13,000 BCE
- depicts a possible hunting scene
- early example of a narrative
Victory Stele of Naram-Sin
from Susa, Iran
2254 – 2218 BCE (Akkadian empire)
Pink sandstone
Louvre, Paris
- king defeats his enemies; one has spear through throat, one begs for mercy, one thrown off cliff - 3 stars=3 gods
- hierarchy of scale is used to emphasize king’s absolute power and influence; he is the focal point b/c he wears horned crown (signifies divinity) + larger + leads army (who look at him for guidance) up the mountain + in profile - diagonal tiers, relief sculpture

- narrative
Stele of Hammurabi
from Susa, Iran
1780 BCE (Babylonian)
Louvre, Paris
- top = relief of Hammurabi with sun-god, Shamash
- Hammurabi salutes Shamash, hand up and is able to rule as he is given permission from Shamash - one of the first examples employing foreshortening (representation at an angle) e.g. Shamash’s beard = series of diagonal lines
Palette of King Narmer (back)
from Hierakonpolis, Egypt
3000 – 2920 BCE (Predynastic)
Egyptian Museum, Cairo
- relief carving
- utilitarian object; carried eye makeup which was also used to protect eyes from sun - circle stands for union of Upper + Lower Egypt
King of Narmer = detailed, largest, calve muscles, directional lines lead up to him, wears a crown, has a beard, has an aggressive pose, holds a baton, has a bull’s tail, wears decorated kilt Horus – King’s protector/falcon

- organized into registers very flat, linear
Palette of King Narmer (front)
- 2 heads of a cow (top) with woman’s face = identified as goddess - hieroglyphic represent Narmer’s name
- narrative art

King Narmer combined Upper + Lower Egypt

Khafre enthroned (Statue of Khafre)
from Gizeh, Egypt
2520 – 2494 BCE (4th Dynasty) Old Kingdom
Diorite – hardest stone to sculpt
Egyptian Museum, Cairo
- idealistic portrait
- carved for the pharaoh’s valley temple and for the king to reside in, in case the mummy disintegrates - king sits firmly/rigidly upright on throne (fused); bare-chested, detailed kilt, feet placed firmly on the ground, right hand fisted, false beard attached, royal linen nemes headdress with the uraeus cobra of kingship on the front, looking strong and young (regardless of age), calm, head tilted slightly upwards - might have held something important in his hand—a symbol...
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