Category Archives: Art Education

Art Education: Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans – Oh my!

We’re trekking through time at a quick pace! Last week we covered (MORE) Greek, Etruscan, and Republican Roman art. It’s a toss up between black-figure Greek painted vases and Republican Roman wall paintings as to which I like more.
For example, the Greek black-figure painted vases were really intricate and stunning, like this one of Achilles and Ajax by Exekias:

But the Republican Roman wall paintings were really cool, too. Romans were cool in general, though. They had indoor plumbing and roads and gladiators. And also, four different styles of wall painting. At the Villa of the Mysteries (cool name, too) ‘architectural’ wall painting was used to make the rooms look they connected to other rooms – making the wall an ~illusion~ – see:


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Art Education: Greek

Nike of Samothrace is such a beautiful sculpture, even if she is missing her head!

Both styles of Greek art – classical and hellenistc – paid a lot of attention to detail and human bodies. ‘Contraposto’ balance was an important and amazing part of their sculptures – balancing the figure as a human body balances itself (i.e. if one arm moves, a leg has to shift weight, too). Unfortunately, a lot of their amazing sculptures remain today as Roman marble copies because the original bronzes were melted down for weaponry. The Romans couldn’t manage the balancing situation, so a lot of the figures have to be propped up by logs and bridges and vases, etc.

See this example of Hermes and the infant Dionysis has a cross on the right? That’s to keep the sculpture upright because this is a copy. Just Ignore his man parts if they offend you.

We’ve moved from Egyptian art into Greek art and we have our second exam today.
Thursday we’ll be starting Roman art. What I enjoy most about this particular art history class is how the art objects clearly relate to the culture of the people at the time. I can’t really say I felt as intrigued about the 359035 different types of impressionist paintings during art history II – because even though it said a lot about the progress of art at that time, I don’t feel convinced that it says a lot about the culture of people. With ‘Egyptian’ art we learn a lot about who Egyptians were, what they did, what they believed in and how these artifacts relate to their lives.


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Art Education: PREHISTORY

Today’s art history lecture started at the very beginning of ART! We went through the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic art movements (more like ‘artifacts from these different cultures’). Very interesting stuff! We were exposed to many round women fertility fetishes, cave paintings of animals and spotted horses, and some stone megaliths at Stonehenge. All in all, a quick jump through time and an interesting dip into cultural history. This is the first time that this class has truly felt more like a ‘cultural understanding of the world through art, time, and history’ than before, which I think is sort of why we’re required to take it.

My favorite ‘piece’ from today is the “Landscape with volcanic eruption” from the seventh level at Catal Hoyuk, carbon-dated to 6150 BC. The piece is really a carving on a rock wall, but what is beautiful and interesting to me is the painting representation of the relief. This carving of the possible eruption of the neighboring Hasan Dag volcano was considered ‘totemic’ because the ritual performed in the act of carving it would be the part providing the “magical protection” to the city. It is also a good example of a ‘composite’ piece – combining a perspective view and a frontal view of the volcano in one landscape representation.

'Landscape with volcanic eruption' is both the first landscape in history and a map to Catal Hoyuk

All of the cave paintings and sculptures are very cool and worth looking at. Check out Lascaux Caves, Pech-Merle Caves, Le Tue d’Audoubert Caves (the two clay bison), and the ‘Deer Hunt’ wall paintings from Catal Hoyuk.

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