History of Art through the Middle Ages, Week 2 Discussion

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Question 1: Sculpture in Ancient Civilizations

The civilizations studied this week created impressive works of sculpture, with varying purposes and meanings. Carefully examine the following sculptures, and read about each one in your textbook, course and video lectures, and through reliable internet resources:

Stele of Naram-Sin, c. 2254-2218 BCE
Palette of Narmer, c. 3150-3125 BCE
Akhenaton and Nefertiti and their three daughters, c. 1350 BCE

Then, in a well-developed paragraph of at least 5-7 sentences, describe the composition of each sculpture, including the representation of figures, objects, and space. Consider whether the figures fit into the space around them, whether their movements seem believable, and/or whether their clothes fit their bodies properly. What does the way the figure and objects are represented tell us about the time and place in which the sculpture was created? What similarities or differences do you observe in the compositions of the three works?

Next, in a second paragraph of at least 5-7 sentences, describe the overall subject matter of each sculpture; the meaning of some of the objects in the painting; and any social, historical, political, and/or religious factors that are important to understanding the painting. Explain what the subject of the sculpture tells us about the society and culture in which it was created. Be sure to provide citations for any outside sources you reference in this part of your response.

Question 2: Monumental Architecture

The cultures we studied this week produced grand architectural structures. Carefully examine the following structures, and read about each one in your textbook, course and video lectures, and through reliable internet resources:

Ziggurat, Ur, c. 2100 B.C.E
Aerial view of the Fourth Dynasty pyramids (looking north), Gizeh, c. 2601-2515 BCE
Lion Gate, Mycenae, c. 1250 BCE

Then, in a minimum of 3 well-developed paragraphs, answer the following questions about each structure:

  1. Who created each structure? Who commissioned its creation?
  2. What was the function of the structure?
  3. What historical events or social or cultural influences affected the creation of each structure?
  4. How do the visual characteristics of each structure contribute to or enhance its message or meaning?
  5. How do the reasons these structures were created compare with those of a more modern example of monumental art work, such as Mount Rushmore, the 9/11 Memorial, etc.?

Be sure to provide citations for any outside sources you reference in this part of your response.

Respond to both questions as thoroughly as possible, making sure to use information from this week’s readings, lectures, and additional resources. All responses should be in complete sentence form, using proper spelling and grammar.

As soon as possible, review and comment on the work of two of your peers. In your comments, consider areas you would suggest for expansion or clarification.

Submission Details:

  • Post your response to the Discussion Area by the due date assigned. Respond to at least two posts by the end of the week.
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