August 2, 2012
The Ancient Near Eastern gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York contained a widespread of art pieces that regurgitated reminiscence of materials learned in the early weeks of World Art I. The first art form that I became engrossed by was a stone relief titled Orthostat relief: lion attacking a deer. This relief was said to be accredited to the Hittites culture during the Neo-Hittites Period, and dating 19th century. Its precise geographic origin is Syria, Tell Halaf. The subject matter of this relief, as stated in its given title, is of a lion viscously attaching a deer, or buck. Other orthostats found Syria, Tell Halaf also share a comparable theme of vulgar executions, and frequent use of animal subjects such as lions, boars, stags, and hybrid creatures (Halaf, Tell). The description of this orthostat relief says that it is inscribed, although I could not identify where the inscribing were, “Palace of Kapara, son of Hadianu.” The artist of the orthostat relief chose limestone for his medium. Limestone was commonly used in this period, especially by the Hittites culture, because of its durability. The texture appears to be faintly smooth, slightly grungy, and to some extent chafed. The line form of this relief was executed spectacularly because the subjects still have been able to maintain solidity and vitality. The current color of the orthostat relief is a rusted red, however, The relief may have originally been white. During the era this sculpture was created white limestone and black basalt were traditionally used to decorate panels. (Bertman, 2003.) Background scenery is not present, but the two subject forms create a vivid action event. The lion sinks his teeth deep into the throat of the deer. The ferocity of the lion is depicted in the lion’s eyes while the deer’s eyes are wide and blank as if in shock from the vigorous attack. The details of the animals are simplistic but give the relief a naturalistic...
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