ART 315 Art as Necessity: POWER & AUTHORITY QUICK NOTE: The multiple choice test and short compare/contrast essays will take place next week. The review for the test will be posted Wednesday, along with part two of this week’s lecture on images of authority. Please email me with any questions you have in regards to taking the test. If you experience any technical issues during the course taking the test, please email me immediately. Even if, by chance, I don’t see the email until the next day, it will be documented that you had the issue during the time you were taking the test (which is also documented in canvas). Good luck! And now back to this week’s lesson: The Imagery & Architecture of Power From the earliest Neolithic cultures, art was used as a means to illustrate the power and authority of a ruler, often through affiliating that ruler with the deities. Think back to the monuments we have looked at: How might these also be construed as reflecting the power of the ruling figure? Art also depicted rulers as heroic warriors who led their army to victory over the enemy. Note what similarities exist between the various cultures and epochs in the representations of their rulers. What common features are linked to the ideals of a “ruler.” Also, make note of the differences and what those distinctions might suggest about the priorities, values or necessities of the civilization over which the ruler reigned. Early Cultures As you look through the following slides, ask: • What possible functions did each of the examples serve? Why were the objects made? • Why are we uncertain as to the function of some of these images and objects? • What aspects of objects imply the value of the object in its culture? • What aspects of artistic creation imply the value of the object in its culture? • What do we learn about the culture from these examples of art and architecture? Introduction of Mesopotamia • There are several shared characteristics between the early to late Neolithic Cultures which are reflected in the art, objects and architecture they left behind. • This section will focus on the images and architecture monuments through the lens of how they were not only functional, but also served to portray the authority of the ruling figures through visual means. • For the unit on images of authority, we begin with the sequence of cultures which were dominant in Ancient Mesopotamia, the third major Neolithic civilization in our series. This area, nicknamed “the fertile crescent” now corresponds to modern-day Iraq, as well as parts of Iran, Syria and Turkey. • Notice the differences & similarities that exist in how the rulers of the succeeding cultures were represented. Also, how does the representation of the ruler also suggest about the other aspects of these early civilizations? Mesopotamia (aka Ancient Near East) Mesopotamia: The Land Between Two Rivers • Every Neolithic needs… a river! (Redundant, but true!) Mesopotamia had two! The location of Mesopotamia is quite literally the “between the rivers,” the Tigris and Euphrates • The area is also known as “The Fertile Crescent” People: • Instead of a single culture being dominant, as we saw with the Indus Valley an Ancient Egyptian cultures, in Mesopotamia, there were several different Citystates, many of which rose to power and ruled over the region creating a succession of empires • Like other Neolithic cultures: – – – – Largely agricultural and trade-based economies Specialized labor and social hierarchies Early Writing systems Complex hierarchal religions Major Cultures of Mesopotamia • Sumer: 3500-2332 BCE • Akkad: 2332-2150 BCE • Neo-Sumer: 2150-1800 BCE • Babylon: 1800-1600 BCE • • • • Period of disunity Assyrian: 900-612 BCE Neo-Babylon: 612-559 BCE Achaemenid Persia: 559-330 BCE Culture of Sumer (c. 3500 – 2332 BCE) The earliest culture of Mesopotamia: The Sumerians culture developed advanced agricultural methods which, in turn, allowed for an increasingly complex social structure. We know many details about this theocratic administration because the Sumerians left numerous documents in cuneiform script (as seen on the left). The writing was created in order to keep track of goods and services at the temples, which were the center of the social structure of the independent city-states of the Sumerian culture. Innovations of Sumer (c. 3500 – 2332 BCE) The relative stability of the Sumerian culture for over 1000 years, allowed for advances in social structures and technology. Some examples of Sumerian innovation: Writing : cuneiform The Wheel Pottery Wheel The City-State Narrative Art At the center of each of the independent Sumerian city-states a temple was built and dedicated to state’s chief god. The leader of these early societies were linked with the temple, and considered to be the “gods’ representatives on earth and steward of their earthly treasure.” Therefore, take notice of how the architecture is tied to this relationship between the religious function and authoritarian message displayed by the monumental temple. Question: Does this remind you of any culture we have examined in previous lessons? Ruins of the White Temple and Ziggurat at Uruk, ca. 3200 BCE, Thesewalledcity-states weredesignedwithsafety inmind! Asyoucanseeinthis artistrendering,there wereadditionaltiersand wallsinthetowngiving certainbuildings additionalprotection.In face,thezigguratitselfnot onlyrisesthetempleup thetoheavens(closerto thegods),andisnotonly aspectacleofpower,but alsoservesasadefensive structure,simplyby makingithardertoreach! Ontopofthezigguratstoodatemple,insidethetemplewasarectangular centralshrinecalledacella,whichprovidedaplaceforthegod’semblem orstatue.Infrontofthestatuewasanaltar,amudbricktableforofferings tothegod.Onlytherulerandpriestswereallowedinthistemple. InthisreconstructionoftheZigguratatUruk,thedarkerstoneistheZigguratandthebeige buildingthatstandsontopisthetemple. Inactuality,thezigguratinUrukisknownasthe“WhiteTemple,”fortheouterbrickswere whitewashedonthetemplestructurewhichstoodatthetopoftheZigguerat.Intheearly Sumerianculture,thecityofUrukwasprobablythemostpowerfulofthecity-states. Likeallzigguratsandtemples,themainpurposewastohaveaplaceofrespectandworshipfor thegods.Sumeriansbelievedblindobedienceandconstantgiftsandsacrificeswould givethemprotectionandsuccessonearth. Take a moment and imagine standing before the Ziggurat of Uruk in the Sumerian epoch (After being awed by my awesome Photoshop skills…) Imagine the impact of this structure on the ordinary Sumerian looking up at the sacred space of the White Temple on the nearly 10-story tall ziggurat (which is estimated to have been 100-feet-tall and over 200 feet wide). The commanding presence of the structure itself along with the notion of the sacred space which only the elite priest and leader could enter. (Remember, the Sumerians would not technically be considered citizens, but rather the “subjects” of the priest-king ruler.) The Great Ziggurat of Uruk dates to a later era, known as Neo-Sumerian, has been restored quite thoroughly (minus the original pigmentation and lack of a temple on top of the ziggurat structure). The Neo-Sumerian period (2150 – 1800 BCE) of the Sumerian culture after their defeat by the Akkadians, in which they regain a dominant position in the Mesopotamian valley. Much of their original culture is revived, such as the centrality of this structure and its purpose as both religious and political nucleus of the city-state. BacktotheearlySumerianperiod: Althoughthemasseswerenotallowedwithin thetemple,thereofferingswere.Seenhere arefigurescarvedfromGypsum,andinlaid withshellandblacklimestone.Thefiguresare knownas“votivefigures”becausetherewere madeasanofferingtothecity’schiefdeity.In theirhandsaresmallbeakers,whichwould holdvotiveofferingsusedinreligiousrites. Thefiguresrepresentworshippers(notthe gods),andhavebearinscriptionswiththe nameofboththedonor,thenameofthegod thatthestatueisdedicatedto,and/ora prayerfromthedonor.Thesefigurineswere placedonthealtarinthecella,standingand waitinginastateofeternalwatchfulnessfor theirgod. Statuettes of two worshippers c. 2700 BCE height: man 2’4” woman 1’11” What else can we learn from these statues? All Statues from the Abu Temple, ca. 2700–2500 BCE Size ranges from less than a foot to over 30-inches tall Not only the importance of the deity, but we see what would have been appropriate attire for the worshipper to wear in the sacred space on the temple cella. There is great consistency in the appearance of the men and women in terms of attire and hairstyle, leading scholars to believe that this is reflective of the cultural norms of their time. Hmmm.. I wonder what would a votive figurine look like today? All Statues from the Abu Temple, ca. 2700–2500 BCE Size ranges from less than a foot to over 30-inches tall Standard of Ur • Discovered in 1927 by Leonard Woolley in a Royal Cemetery in the city of Ur. • Woolley originally believed it was meant to be raised on a pole (like a flag), and so named it the Standard or Ur. Today, that theory is largely disregarded. The site, labeled “tomb PG 779” by Woolley and his team, was the largest royal cemetery in the city. Standard of Ur, ca. 2600 BCE, Fig. 1-14. Other items found in the tomb which also suggest the importance of the tomb’s occupant include: – – – – – – Gold helmets Decorative, jeweled daggers Gold Jewelry, beakers and bowls Musical instruments Horse-drawn chariots Sacrificed bodies of servants, musicians, charioteers and soldiers! Materials include: Lapis lazuli, red limestone, bitumen, dimensions: 8 ½ x 19 ½ inches Standard of Ur: “The Peace Side” Now we get to the meat of our lesson: Look carefully to find the king. Visual Analysis: How do you know which figure is the ruler? Be specific! What else appears to be going on? Standard of Ur: “The Peace Side” Each row is known as a “register,” and shows specific activities. On the top tier, both pictorially and socially is the king, he is the obvious focal point of the majority of the other people depicted within the top register. He also appears abnormally large! While all of the other occupants of the top register fit comfortably within the space, the king is so large that his head breaks into the “ceiling” of the register space, even while seated This is an example of the artistic technique known as “hierarchy of scale.” Standard of Ur: “The Peace Side” The overall story being told seems to relate to a great banquet. On the bottom two registers, we see the gathering of food products-both harvested and livestock, which will be later consumed by the participants in this banquet/ceremony taking place on the top row. Here, in the presence of the king, his subjects seem to partake in libations and music. This is not only the “peace side” it also appears to be the “party side.” Sumerian Lyre Another famous artifact from the Royal Tomb was a decorated stringed instrument known as a lyre. Click on the link below to see a replica of this instrument being played: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JU4QRxsZhjg Standard of Ur: “The War Side” Look carefully to find the king. Many of the same ideas can be applied to this side, but the activities surrounding the king are quite different. What do you notice about the two groups of people on the middle and bottom register? Which group are the soldiers of the king? How are the enemies represented? Be specific. Hierarchy of Scale Bigger = Better This term refers to the artistic strategy in which the largest figure is also the most important. Here we see that not only is the King the tallest figure, but also stands in the exact middle with all soldiers facing him, and also in the top register. The artist makes it very clear who is IN CHARGE in times of both PEACE and WAR! Materials include: Lapis lazuli, red limestone, bitumen, 8.5 x 19.5 inches See more images of the Standard of UR: :https://www.penn.museum/sites/iraq/?page_id=48 Think of the adjectives you would use to describe the soldiers on the left versus the figures on the right. Do those same terms apply to the charioteers and those who are seeming to be trampled underfoot? We have the organized, strong and defensive line of soldiers and the naked, defeated prisoners of war, most of whom would become slaves. See more images of the Standard of UR: https://www.penn.museum/sites/iraq/?page_id=48 The Fall of Sumer Ø Around 2350 BCE, the Sumerian city-states began to fight among each over access to fertile lands and water. As the ruling class, the “stewards of the gods,” began to battling among one another they also weakened one another which ultimately led to the collapse of Ancient Sumer. Gradually, the northern people began to assume positions of power over the southern Sumerian states. Ø In about 2334 BCE, Sargon (meaning “true king”) of Akkad defeated other northern tribes and the Sumerian states and ruled over the entire region. Sargon incorporated the Sumer lexicon of deities into the Akkadian pantheon in order to ensure loyalty to the new kingdom. Ø The location of the Akkad capital remains a mystery (it would be later overthrown!), but key artifacts recovered illustrate how the Akkadian rulers projected a sense of their authority through art. Mesopotamia: Akkad Culture (2332-2150 BCE) The Akkadian rulers used the visual arts to promote and reflect the power of the ruling kings. This copper portrait is believed by some scholars to have been made in the image of Sargon, the founder of the Akkad Culture. Others believe it was made in the image of his grandson Naram-Sin, who expanded the Akkad empire even further. Head of an Akkadian ruler, ca. 2250-2200 BCE, Copper. Mesopotamia: Akkad Culture (2332-2150 BCE) Question: In what ways does this sculptural work project the authority of a ruler? NOTE: This work is made of copper, showing an advancement in artistic technologies, but also would originally been dazzling with glinting reflections of light. (Think of the difference between a shiny new penny with an older coin.) Also, the eyes were inlaid with shell and stone. The damaged areas are from later rulers who ordered the destruction of this statue. Head of an Akkadian ruler, ca. 2250-2200 BCE, Copper. Mesopotamia: Akkad Culture How does the style of this portrait align with a more authoritarian rule over a unified Mesopotamia, as opposed to the image of the Sumerian priest-king who was ruled the discreet geographical locale of the individual city-states? Head of an Akkadian ruler ca. 2250-2200 BCE Copper, height: 12 inches How are these two objects similar? Mesopotamia: Akkad Culture The formality of the portrait: -Frontal gaze -Serene, composed expression The combination of idealized and stylized features: -Symmetry of the face -Evenness of his countenance -Stylization of the beard/hair These are traditional characteristics that will often be seen in the depiction of ruling figures. Head of an Akkadian ruler, ca. 2250-2200 BCE Copper, height: 12 inches Mesopotamia: Akkad Culture (2332-2150 BCE) Take a moment to look over what is taking place on the carved image. Look closely: What is going on here? What adjectives would you use to describe the two groups of people? How is this scene different than the imagery of the Sumerian culture? Victory Stele of Naram-Sin, ca. 2254-2218 BCE, Pink Sandstone, height: 6’ 7” Mesopotamia: Akkad Culture (2332-2150 BCE) How is this scene different than the imagery of the Sumerian scene of war? What is similar? What seems more sophisticated? Mesopotamia: Akkad Culture The Victory Stele of Narim-Sin is a symbolic image of the Akaddian king’s mighty defeat of his enemies. Notice how the battle is set in a dramatic landscape, instead of tiered registers, as seen on the earlier Sumerian art objects. The landscape is conveyed through a pair of trees, meandering path, a mountain which is taller even than Narim-Sin. This is thought to be among the earliest known depictions of the landscape in the chronology of “Western Art History.” Victory Stele of Naram-Sin, ca. 2254-2218 BCE, Pink Sandstone, height: 6’ 7” SIDEBAR: NOTES ON ARTWORK TITLES √ The Victory Stele of Narim-Sin is a symbolic image of the Akaddian king’s mighty defeat of his enemies. Looking back to the opening sentence of the previous page and you will notice that the title of the artwork is written in italic type. This is how you should format the name of an artwork’s title, in italic or underlined. This tells the reader that you are referring to the artwork. In this case, I am writing about the artwork titled Victory Stele of Narim-Sin, not the actual event or quote. In this case, the title of the artwork contains the word “stele” which refers to the large slab which is engraved with a specific message and text. However, not all artwork titles are so descriptive. Remember: every formatting and grammatical “tool” exists to create clarity. Please be sure to always put any artwork title in italic or underline. Also, most often artworks will be in Title Case, meaning that the first word and every word 3 letters or longer (except for definitive articles, such as “the”) should be begin with a capital letter. Note 1: quotation marks are NOT the proper formatting for an artwork’s title. Note 2: Works of architecture are NOT put into italic, but written in Title Case. Mesopotamia: Akkad Culture What other specific techniques did the artisans use to depict the king and his troops as powerful and victorious over his enemy? What is the term for the artistic technique seen here to illustrate to the viewer the importance of the king? Victory Stele of Naram-Sin, ca. 2254-2218 BCE, Pink Sandstone, height: 6’ 7” Mesopotamia: Akkad Culture Hierarchy of Scale: Notice how the king stands nearly twice the height of his foes! Also notice he wears the horned crown, a symbol of his rank, and holds weapons of war. His physique is youthful and muscular, but he also is shown with a full beard to denote his age and wisdom. Victory Stele of Naram-Sin, ca. 2254-2218 BCE, Pink Sandstone, height: 6’ 7” Mesopotamia: Akkad Culture “The original text written in Akkadian tells us that this stele was made to celebrate the victory of Naram-Sin, king of Akkad, over the Lullubi, a mountain people of the central Zagros region. Naram-Sin was the grandson of Sargon, the founder of the Akkadian empire and the first to unify the whole of Mesopotamia in the late 24th century BC. Naram-Sin reigned after his uncle Rimush and his father Manishtusu, making him the fourth sovereign of the Dynasty.” Notice how the words seem to descend from the heavens, suggesting Narim-Sin has the blessing of the gods, represented abstractly here by the 3 star-like images. Read more: http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/ victory-stele-naram-sin Sumer Akkad Babylon Ø The Akkadians were overtaken by the Guti people, Ø c. 2230 BCE. Following the disruption of the Akkadian rule, the Sumerians, who had lived under the rule of the Akkadian kings, rose up against new invaders and drove the Guti people from the region. Ø King Urnammu of Ur established a “Neo-Sumerian” revival that would last about 200 years Ø After the relatively short Neo-Sumerian period, the region was unified under the Babylon Dynasty Ø Babylon was first established as a minor city-state during the Akkad empire. Ø The most famous ruler of Babylon was Hammurabi, who after fortifying the city of Babylon united all of Mesopotamia under his rule. Mesopotamia: Babylon (1800-1600 BCE) Hammurabi cast himself as “the favorite shepherd” of the sun-god Shamash, stating his mission “to cause justice to prevail in the land and to destroy the wicked and evil, so that the strong might not oppress the weak nor the weak the strong.” The Stele of Hammurabi is the earliest known written code of law. The majority of the 7’4” tall stele is covered in 3,500 cuneiform, which details the glory of the king and then a list of the crimes and punishments for the offenses. Stele of Hammurabi, ca. 1780 BCE Babylon Culture Basalt, height: 7’4” Mesopotamia: Babylon (1800-1600 BCE) On top of the stele is a scene depicting Hammurabi greeting Shamash, the sun god. How does the image reinforce Hammurabi’s authority as king? How does it legitimize the law code below? What similarities can you read between these two images of the king? Louis XIV, 1701, Artist: Hyacinthe Rigaud, Oil on canvas, 9’2” x 6’3” Once again, we see the artistic strategy of “hierarchy of scale,” but who is actually taller??? You might notice first that the king appears to be ever so slightly taller than Shamash! Then you quickly look to realize that the god is seated and would easily tower over Hammurabi should he stand. However, that the king stands tall and erect before the god (instead of bowing or subservient) is also quite telling. Note also, that it is the god who bestows gifts upon the mortal king, as opposed to the king making an offering to the immortal ruler. Example Translations of Hammurabi’s Law Code • If any one bring an accusation of any crime before the elders, and does not prove what he has charged, he shall, if it be a capital offense charged, be put to death. … • If any one steal the property of a temple or of the court, he shall be put to death, and also the one who receives the stolen thing from him shall be put to death. … • If any one steal cattle or sheep, or an ass, or a pig or a goat, if it belong to a god or to the court, the thief shall pay thirtyfold; if they belonged to a freed man of the king he shall pay tenfold; if the thief has nothing with which to pay he shall be put to death … • If a man wish to separate from a woman who has borne him children, or from his wife who has borne him children: then he shall give that wife her dowry, and a part of the usable truct of field, garden, and property, so that she can rear her children. When she has brought up her children, a portion of all that is given to the children, equal as that of one son, shall be given to her. She may then marry the man of her heart. … • If a son strike his father, his hands shall be hewn off. If a man put out the eye of another man, his eye shall be put out. If he break another man’s bone, his bone shall be broken. • • The Fall of Babylon • • • • The Babylon culture reached its height under the rule of Hammurabi Following his death, the empire began a slow disintegration, and was eventually sacked by the Hittites in 1595 BCE, followed by the Kassites in 1531 The next 700 year period is sometimes called a “dark age” or “period of disunity.” The next major culture to rise in the region (to our current knowledge) is the Assyrian Mesopotamia: Assyrian Culture (900-612 BCE) The Assyrian Empire was founded in the northern regions of Mesopotamia, which had previously co-existed relatively peacefully with the Babylonian culture. The Assyrians rose as a major power in the region in the 9th century BCE Much of the extant art of the Assyrian culture celebrates the power and authority of the kings, who were considered to be chosen by the gods as their surrogates on earth. Diagram of the Capital City What do you notice about the placement of the palace and temple? Which building do you think is for the king? Which for the gods? Assyrian Culture (900-612 BCE) The Assyrian Palace and Temple (highlighted in red circle) stood together on a raised platform 50 feet high, suggesting the close relationship of the rulers and gods. But, look closely at this Diagram of the Capital City. Question: What else do you notice about the palace compound? Learn more about the excavations https://www.bbc.com/news/ magazine-31941827 Assyrian Culture (900-612 BCE) • The Assyrian Empire was founded in the northern regions of Mesopotamia, and had previously co-existed relatively peacefully with the Babylonian culture. • The Assyrians rose as a major power in the region in the 9th century BCE, and emerged as the region’s major power of the period after the “Period of disunity.” • The Assyrians are widely considered by historians as a militaristic cultures. As you will see, much of the extant art of the Assyrian culture celebrates the power and authority of the kings, who were considered to be chosen by the gods as their surrogates on earth. Assyrian Culture (900-612 BCE) • Conquest brought great wealth and spoils of war to the Assyrians, which is reflected in the great palaces of the rulers which were built throughout their empire. • The temple in the capital city was brilliantly colored had at least 4 stages, each about 18 feet high and different color, and a spiral ramp wound around it to the top. • The palace complex comprised about 30 courtyards and 200 rooms, many decorated with monumental imagery of the ruler coexisting with guardian figures, stewards of the gods and the deities themeselves. As noted by the historian George Rawlinson, it is the palaces of the kings which displays the wealth and might of the Assyrian Empire, even more so than their religious structures. “Among the architectural works of the Assyrians, the first place is challenged by their palaces. Less religious, or more servile, than the Egyptians and the Greeks, they make their temples insignificant in comparison with the dwellings of their kings, to which indeed the temple is most commonly a sort of appendage. In the palace their art culminates— there every effort is made, every ornament lavished. If the architecture of the Assyrian palaces be fully considered, very little need be said on the subject of their other buildings.” Source: “THE SEVEN GREAT MONARCHIES OF THE ANCIENT EASTERN WORLD” BY GEORGE RAWLINSON, M.A., Camden Professor of Ancient History in the University of Oxford http://www.heritageinstitute.com/zoroastrianism/rawlinson/ 2assyria/r2c.htm#image-0003 Assyrian Culture (900-612 BCE) • In other words, if you want to understand the art and architecture of the Assyrian Culture, you look to the Royale Palaces of the King. Assyrian Culture (900-612 BCE) An inscription of the Assyrian King Sargon II states: “I built a city with [the labors of] the peoples subdued by my hand, whom [the gods] Ashur, Nabu, and Marduk had caused to lay themselves at my feet and bear my yoke.” • Having said all this: What kind of imagery are you expecting to see? Take a moment to closely look at this mythological creature. Write down what strikes you as the most significant features of this figure. Question: What purpose do you think this serves? To illustrate the massive scale of the Lamassu statues, notice the man standing next to the Lamassu on the right! Each individual works was carved from a single monolithic stone, the end result weighs several thousand pounds and stands nearly 14 feet tall! Excavations c. 1840s The Lamassu is a composite creature (part human-part animal), it was carved from Limestone c. 720-705 BCE. They Lamassu stood at the gates of the king’s palaces and served an apotropaic function. Apotropaic is an adjective that means that it is designed to avert evil influences or bad luck. Therefore they can be seen as protective forces. The sheer scale and musculature also evokes the power and authority of the king to all those who physically enter into the palace building. Food for though: Why does the Lamassu have five legs? How does the use of 5 legs create two distinct impressions and reinforce idea of the apotropaic function the Lamassu serves? As we look at the following austere images in seemingly natural stone, the stone panels are known as orthostats, remember that these carved stone reliefs were originally brightly painted, and that after nearly 3,000 years (the majority in neglect or buried in the earth) the paint has simply worn away. Above is an artist rendering of how the palace interior may have originally looked. The Assyrian empire dominated Mesopotamia and all of the Near East for the first half of the first millennium, led by a series of highly ambitious and aggressive warrior kings. Assyrian society was entirely military, with men obliged to fight in the army at any time. State offices were also under the purview of the military. Looking at the orthostats of the palace interiors, the connection between the themes portrayed and style of portraiture and the military ideology of the ancient Assyrian kings seems quite obvious! Notice not only the activities taking place, but the artistic emphasis on the musculature of nearly every human and animal rendered. Among the many remarkable scene carved on the multiple palaces of the Assyrian kings, one of the most famous is the: Lion Hunt relief, from the North Palace of Ashurbanipal, Nineveh. ca. 645 BCE The scenes are carved onto large slabs of gypsum stone called ____ (do you remember the term?). These large panels lined the lower walls of the Assyrian Palaces and served an architectural purpose as they protected the mud brick walls from moisture. They also served the political purpose in spreading messages of authority and wealth. And remember, these scenes were originally painted! In the detail image above, we see the king engaged in the Royal Lion Hunt. These were not hunting parties in the wild, but were staged events that took place within an arena on the confines of the palace grounds. Release the lions! The entire process of the hunt is depicted over the course of a series of orthostats. Seen here: the gate is lifted by a servant and the powerful (and highly stylized) lions are released from their cages. The Lion Hunt scenes which decorated the palace halls not only celebrated the prowess and strength of the king, but also suggest his power over the violence of nature-which the lions represent. Around the edge of the “battle area” guards stand at the ready to protect the king, just in case things went awry and the lions got lucky! (though of course that would not be something that would be depicted on the palace walls!) Note: The stacked figures were an artistic convention to show depth on the flat surface. Assyrian Palace Panels on view at LACMA Relief: King and eunuch attendant, 883–859 B.C. Can you guess which figure is the king? LACMA WALL TEXT King and eunuch attendant, 883–859 B.C. Neo-Assyrian period, reign of Ashurnasirpal II Excavated at Nimrud (ancient Kalhu), northern MesopotamiaAlabaster (gypsum) Each panel height: 7 feet, 8 ¼ inches The palace rooms at Nimrud were decorated with large stone slabs carved in low relief, with brightly painted walls and ceilings and sculptural figures guarding the doorways. The throne room contained narrative scenes commemorating the military victories of Ashurnasirpal, while in other areas of the palace were protective figures and images of the king and his retinue performing ritual acts.On this relief slab, the king Ashurnasirpal II wears the royal crown, a conical cap with a small peak, and a long diadem. He holds a bow, a symbol of his authority, and a ceremonial bowl. Facing him, a eunuch, the "beardless one," carries a fly whisk and a ladle for replenishing the royal vessel. The peaceful, perhaps religious, character of the scene is reflected in the dignified composure of the figures. Assyrian Palace Panels on view at LACMA Relief: King and eunuch attendant, 883–859 B.C. As described on the previous page, The king (Ashurnasirpal II) is identified by his attire. He wears the royal crown, a conical cap with a small peak, and a long diadem. He holds a bow, a symbol of his authority, and a ceremonial bowl. (LACMA) Assyrian Palace Panels on view at LACMA Relief: King and eunuch attendant, 883–859 B.C. Visual Analysis: Think of combined role of iconography (as discussed on previous pages) and style in the effectiveness of communicating the king’s authority through these carved orthostats. Among the many remarkable scene carved on the multiple palaces of the Assyrian kings, one of the most famous is the: Lion Hunt relief, from the North Palace of Ashurbanipal, Nineveh. ca. 645 BCE Summary of Mesopotamia • The Mesopotamian era continues with a revival of the Babylonion culture (Neo-Babylon) and then with the might Achaemenid Persia. Much of both of these cultures works was lost in subsequent centuries of war among each other and the Greco-Persian wars. • A typical Art History survey dedicated to “Western Art” would continue with art and architecture of these cultures, but we will turn back to Ancient Egypt to consider a few objects, not in terms of immortality (as we did last week), but as objects that communicate the power and authority of the Egyptian kings. Achaemenid Persia StudyGuide:Terms • • • • • • • • city-state cuneiform cylinder seal votive offering hierarchy of scale register or frieze ground line incised lines • • • • • • cella Zigurrat Stele Apadana Lamassu Orthostat StudyGuide:Artworks • • • • • Ziggurat at Ur Statuettes of Woshippers Standard of Ur Victory Stele of Narim-Sim Stele with the Laws of Hammurabi • Lamassu • Lion Hunt Scene AnotherLookatAncientEgypt • Predynastic Period ca. 3500-2575 BCE – The unification of Upper and Lower Egypt takes place under King Narmer • Old Kingdom ca. 2575-2040 BCE – Great Pyramids at Gizeh What is the Rosetta Stone? Soon after the end of the fourth century AD, when hieroglyphs had gone out of use, the knowledge of how to read and write them disappeared. In the early years of the nineteenth century, some 1400 years later, scholars were able to use the Greek inscription on this stone as the key to decipher them. Soldiers in Napoleon's army discovered the Rosetta Stone in 1799 while digging the foundations of an addition to a fort near the town of el-Rashid (Rosetta). On Napoleon's defeat, the stone became the property of the British under the terms of the Treaty of Alexandria (1801) along with other antiquities that the French had found. Thomas Young, an English physicist, was the first to show that some of the hieroglyphs on the Rosetta Stone wrote the sounds of a royal name, that of Ptolemy. The French scholar Jean-François Champollion then realized that hieroglyphs recorded the sound of the Egyptian language and laid the foundations of our knowledge of ancient Egyptian language and culture. THE PALETTE OF NARMER Last week we focused of works that date to the Old Kingdom period, but remains and artifacts have been found from Neolithic cultures along the Nile River in Northern Africa that date back to c. 7000 BCE. For this lesson, we will first consider a ceremonial object commemorating what might be the most important moment of Egypt’s long history: the inaugural unification of its kingdom. In Predynastic times, Ancient Egypt was divided geographically and politically into Upper Egypt (the southern, upstream part of the Nile Valley), which was dry, rocky, and culturally rustic, and Lower (northern) Egypt, which was opulent, urban, and populous. The imagery on The Palette of Narmer symbolically depicts these two regions coming together under the jurisdiction of a single ruler: King Narmer. Palette of Narmer Where is the king? What do you notice about how he is depicted? The Palette of Narmer is a ceremonial object that was rediscovered in 1898 by archeologists among a group of sacred objects buried at a temple dedicated to the falcon god, Horus. It is believed that the object probably was used in for ceremonial purposes before being ritually buried at the temple. The temple was located in the city of Hierakonpolis which was then the capital of the united Egypt in the pre-dynastic period. It is fitting that this ceremonial object was found at a templ in the capital city… The narrative told on both sides of the panel tell the legendary story of the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt by King Narmer. In addition to hierarchy of scale, There are numerous artistic conventions taking place on the Palette of Narmer that tell the viewer what is going on. v The term: Iconography refers both to the visual images and symbols used in a work of art as well as to the study of those images. v What images seem as though they are symbolic in nature? Symbolic Attire (or the iconography) of King Narmer On the palette, we see the king wearing these crowns, which are symbols of royalty. Symbols of the Ruler In the time it was made, these symbols would have been instantly recognizable to the viewers relating to specific regions and authority SYMBOLS OF A RULER Just like you would never confuse a Pope Hat, King’s crown or a princess tiara… the symbols see in the Palette of Narmer would have been easily recognized to the Ancient Egyptians Iconography of Palette (top register) On both sides of the palette, there are two similar looking figures with a hieroglyphic symbol in between. What do they mean? v In the middle, a horizontal fish is a pictograph meaning “Narmer” v 2 images of Hathor, the cow goddess, is symbolically the king’s mother/protector (remember, the kings of Egypt were divine!) Iconography of Palette (side one) v King Narmer powerfully defeats his enemy and is larger to show his status (hieratic scale) v Narmer wears the tall white crown of Upper Egypt v a servant carries his sandals, bare feet suggest a divine event v The falcon represents Horus, god of Upper Egypt, standing triumphantly on a head and papyrus, representing Lower Egypt. This symbolizes his authority over both regions. v bottom register, dead prisoners shown in disarray the feet of the king. How is this similar to the enemies we saw in the art of Ancient Mesopotamia? Iconography of Palette (side two) v The upper registers are the same on this side v On the next tier, to the left, Narmer wears the cobra crown of Lower Egypt behind a priest and his army as he inspects beheaded & castrated enemies (on the far right) v intertwined necks of beasts may represent unification of Egypt v In the lowest register a bull, another symbol for the king, tramples his enemy and breaks down the protective walls surrounded a city Before moving on… what is a pallet? v The Palette of Narmer is a ceremonial object based on a functional object, but was never intended for actual use (it stands over 2 feet tall!) v The depression in the palette is where the black pigment used in the protective eye makeup would be prepared for application (similar to the functional pallets pictured below) approx. 2' 1 high The Palette of Narmer was one of several pallets which have been discovered from the late pre-dynastic period, such as this example from the British Museum, the Hunters' Palette (c 3250-3100 BC). Look familiar? Last week this image was one of two statues discussed in terms of its FUNCTION. Do you remember what purpose the statue served? In addition, how does this work also fit into this lesson on Art and Authority? Questions to consider: What is your first impression of the the king? What physical traits symbolize his power? What symbolic images also tell the viewer of his importance? Look familiar? Again… how does this work also fit into this lesson on Art and Authority? Questions to consider: What is your first impression of the royal couple? What does the artisan stress about their appearance? 10.3 Menkaure and His Wife, Queen Khamerernebty, Gizeh, Egypt, Fourth Dynasty, c. 2600 BCE. Slate, approximately 4' 6 1/2" high. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. THE GLORY OF THE RULER Notice how the artistic devices are not only functional, but used to GLORIFY the ruler’s image: Visual characteristics: ² idealized image ² head held high, straight forward, unfaltering stare, dignified ² body depicted without flaw suggesting youthful strength and vigor ² Menkaure and Khamerernebty stand with similar posture, with one foot slightly ahead, suggesting forward movement. ² Their almost equal height, and her embrace of Menkaure suggests a she plays an important role in the dynasty. 10.3 Menkaure and His Wife, Queen Khamerernebty, Gizeh, Egypt, Fourth Dynasty, c. 2600 BCE. Slate, approximately 4' 6 1/2" high. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. • Menkuare was a very popular ruler, though it is uncertain just how long he actually ruled! • The key piece of information which describes the length of his rule has been damaged over the millenia, and so perhaps the exact year may never be know. • He is believed to have been born around (c. 2575– c. 2465 bce) but those dates would put his age at 110 years old! • Though we don’t know he exact age of death, we can assume he lived longer than the youthful appearance of this statue, which not only suggests his immortality, but also his power. How are the two related? 10.3 Menkaure and His Wife, Queen Khamerernebty, Gizeh, Egypt, Fourth Dynasty, c. 2600 BCE. Slate, approximately 4' 6 1/2" high. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In Conclusion • In addition to the images in this lesson, what other objects/artworks in the first 4 weeks of the semester might also relate to the theme of “authority”? • This week, I will also post a study guide for the test next week which will include possible images for a compare/contrast short essay. For comparisons, think of how there are multiple examples which could easily fall within more than one thematic topic, just as we just reexamined the statue of Menkuare and His Queen from Ancient Egypt. • Part two will continue with images of authority on Wednesday.