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AP Art History Study Guide Test 1

AP Art History Study Guide Test 1

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Published by Nicole Lim
Pre-historic to Mycenae
Pre-historic to Mycenae

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Published by: Nicole Lim on Dec 11, 2011
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09/07/2014

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STUDY GUIDE AP Art History Test #1
PRE-HISTORIC
 Venus of Willendorf 
  Willendorf is a place in Germany. Sometimes just called the Woman of  Willendorf, this sculpture is actually small enough to be carried around in yourhand. Her body is obviously plump, probably because if there are problems with the conditions in which you live, i.e. very little food, then those with morefat will be able to survive in drought or cold winters as opposed to those areskinny. It could also be a sign of fertility, or it may be a way of saying we needto guarantee a way that humans will reproduce—it was a time when human life wasn’t taken likely. In Paleolithic art in general, there is a preoccupation with women, whose child-bearing capabilities ensured the survival of the species.There are traces of paint on this so the artist carved it and also decorated it withcolor of some sort. This piece would obviously not stand up, so it probably hadsome magical significance and purpose because of the size. As with mostPaleolithic figures, there are no facial features. There is either curly hair or ahat women from plant fibers.
 Woman with Horn
The Laussel woman is one of the earliest relief sculptures known. The subjectmatter is similar with a figure of pretty much the same proportions. It seems likeshe’s split down the middle with her but on both sides. She has a large belly, large breasts, the hand is a little more carefully defined, and an arm in front, and she’sholding a horn. The horn is another symbol of fertility because it was a sign of male animal fertility (most male animals at this time at horns). Even now, werelate cornucopia with Thanksgiving with the straw basket and fruit flowing out,etc. Some scholars think it looks like something else, though. A moon crescent. We don’t know if they were sophisticated enough to know about women andperiods, but it could be another symbol of fertility.So remember this is carved into the stone; it’s not a 3-D piece to be carriedaround and so is larger.
Clay Bison
This is a bison modeled in clay and laid down in the grown. Over itsthousands of years in existence, it’s hardened, but originally was modeled by hand in clay. It shows that artist was good at observing these creatures:it has hair, eye, ear, mane, a hump, and a little tail with legs in the rightplace.It’s interesting that the first sculptures we found were of humans becausehumans play little to no role/representation in Paleolithic paintings.
Bison
 This is another material used in sculpture. This is bone. Probably an antler of a bison. It’s in fairly good condition, but the legs are likely broken off a little bit. There are horns, a vein on back of head, and what is a wonderful detail is that there is a little tongue sticking out. Have to imagine that this is acreature out in the field and it’s been bitten, so he has his head turned to look. The artist’s observation is a wonderful thing—he’s seen something and reproduced it.
 
 
Human Skull
This is definiltey Neolithic. It’s a skull found in the wall of Jericho. We’ve discovered that many later people did the same thing as these peope, which is that they wanted to preserve the bodies of theirancestors. It was difficult to preserve the whole thing, so they preserved the best part: the head. Youremove the head and place it out so all the soft material can disintegrate. Then you have just the skull, and you replace the soft material, the flesh and skin, with plaster.
Lascaux
—a paintingMost of the painting from class today is from France and Spain and fairly recently discovered. The earliest was discovered in 1940 by boys playing with a dog and a ball, the ball rolled into the cave, dog chased, andsaw lots of painting. Some are in France, some in Asia, up in China, and some from Australia. Thepaintings are way up on ceilings, high up, and deep under ground. But that means there is no light—youcan’t see things, so there must have been some sort of oil lamp burning animal fat or something. And youneed to get to a high place on a wall or ceiling to be able to paint there. Human figures are mostly stick figures, but animal figures were much more realistic and plentiful.
 Altamira Bison
  A single figure that is reddish orange and has black for hair.Occassionally we’ll find paintings where artist has consideredthe surface of the wall, so they try to incorporate that into their work (i.e. bumps would be stomach or something round)Lascaux—Cow and little horsesLascauz—Black Bull (det.)Spearking Kangaroo
Dolmen
How we’re guessing they constructed things like this is to diga trench that is fairly deep that is the length of the stone,push it up to the edge of the deep whole that you dug until itfalls into it and is a standing stone. You do that twice, Butleaves the lintel (spelling?), the top stone. We thing they  built a soil ramp of sorts, pushed it up the slant until it sadacross, and dug away the ramp. We think that at some pointthe whole thing was goverened with soil and just looked likea big mound of earth because bodies decomposed and thesoil was washed away. We see this architecture but we haveto imagine it when it was made. It was a way of protectingand memorializing the dead—probably important people being buried.
 
Stonehenge
 This is in the southern part of England. The whiteareas/dots on the outside are chalk. If you dig the soildown, you don’t have to dig very far before you findchalk. They are thought to have stood for the days of the year, so you’ll probably find 365.There are two circles of stones and a stone in the centerthat make it so that two times a year the sun will rise upright over the center stone in the morning. It marks theequinox, of equal night and day.The stones come from Wales, and the easiest way to getfrom Wales to the place where this was built,Stonehenge, is by water. We that that they carved these blocks of stone in a quarry in Wales, floated them onraft across to the closest landsite of Stonehenge, pulled them (probably by manpower), and we think they did the same thing by digging a whole on one side.
MESOPOTAMIA 
9/1/11
Painted Beaker
This is a beaker, which is simply a drinking cup, and it’s made of clay. You’ll find in theseearly cultures that the oldest things tended to be made of clay. It’s decorated, so we’vegotten to a point in history where people want to make their cup or bowl a little moreattractive to drink out of. Clay is light colored—that’s the color you’ll see in background.Then they paint with glaze. It’s black glaze here. The decoration on it is largely geometric,so you’ll find a lot of the designs are just circles, repeating the idea of circularity, but it’stall. Lots of it is geometric, but we do have a figure here, a ram. He has enormous hornsand is made of what looks like two triangles. Early artists like to full up space so they putthings in there that didn’t add much meaning or decoration—we call this horovacuei,Latin for fear of empty spaces. There isn’t only the ram, but also animal figures chasingeach other above. There are animals, which are primary decorative motifs of the area, which likely has something to do with the lifestyle of living, like herding.
 White Temple on its Ziggurat
This is an early example of a style of building that we’ll talk about in more detail a little later. Because there are nomountains and really no hills, we don’t know where thesepeople came from. They were not indigenous, but we assumethey came from mountain areas. Generally there is a universalfeeling that whatever deity you believe in, it’s somewhere in thesky, and generally in order to reach those deities, you want toget as close as possible. So we have here in this area of Mesopotamia a similar attempt to get towards these cosmicdeities, and their deities usually had something to do withnature (rain, moon, etc.). So what we have here is a base, whichlooks simply like a mountain, is all mud brick. There were stepsto get to a temple on top. So you have this structure that is usedas a base to get to a temple. It’s referred to as the White Temple because it was white-washed. People walk around on a set of stairs to get up to the temple on the top of that base.

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