ARTH150 Lecture 1: Sculpture Unit (Ancient World)

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4 Nov 2018
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Sculpture:
- art of making 3D representative or abstract forms, especially by carving stone or wood,
by shaping or molding clay, or by casting metal or plaster
Carving:
- Subtractive process, removing material to define form
- **additive - molding or shaping (as with clay)
Lion Man Figurine:
- Oldest zoomorphic animal shaped sculpture in the world
- Oldest ex of figurative art
- Fusion figure: human type body with animal type head
Material: clay/terracotta
- Fine-grained earth material, made from the weathering of rock
- Deposited in and around riverbeds, streams, flood plains
- Can include silicates, iron, magnesium, other minerals
- *unfired clay is air-dried, no heating in a kiln
- Hardens naturally by evaporation of moisture
- Remains fragile
Mycenaean Period - 1400-1100 BCE
- Made up of city states
- Trading networks across the Mediterranean
- Terracotta jars--neutral colors, limited palate, olive oil
- Joined together under one single Kingdom → Mycenae
- Lion Gate → entrance
Cyclopean Masonry
- Fits stones together → puzzling
- As if a “cyclops” put the city together for them
Pottery
- Coil building / slab building
- Coil:
- Vessels tend to be heavier and thick walled
- Time consuming and labor intensive
- Seams may become vulnerable to leakage or breakage
- Joined with slip (mixture of clay and water)
- Wheel “throwing” of pottery
- Vessels can be made thin and light without loss of strength
- Pots can be made rapidly, one after another
- Lack of obvious seams help make pots more impermeable
- Steps:
- Prepare clay by kneading or wedging out excess air
- Throw the pot on a potter’s wheel
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- Prepare clay for firing by allowing the pot to dry -- several days
- * Greenware = dried pots that have not yet been fired
Kiln
- Type of high heat oven where the temp, airflow, and other factors can be controlled
- 900 degrees celsius
Vitrification
- When clay is heated, organic materials inside it melt, dissolving and filling in spaces
between clay particles
- Process strengthens the clay body
Vessel
- Lip
- Neck
- Handle
- Shoulder
- Body
- Foot
Stages:
- Kiln vents are left open to allow the flow of oxygen, clay turns reddish
- Kiln vents are closed, reducing oxygen flow, clay turns brown/black
- Vents are re-opened, bringing oxygen back. Clay turns back to light red but areas painted
by slip remain brown/black
Visual Rhetoric:
- Rhetoric: an argument or justification; a way of framing or presenting an idea
Stone Sculpture:
- Sandstone
- Egyptian sculptures
- Made of: sedimentary rock composed of sand size grains of mineral, rock, or
organic material (carbon). Sandstone is one of the most common types of
sedimentary rock and is found throughout the world
- Worked: mallet & chisel - come in different sizes
- Squaring:
- For creating large scale or monumental sculpture
- Grids are drawn onto prepared clay tablets or papyrus sheets
- Figures are drawn, according to rules of proportion, onto grids
- Scaled-up grids are drawn onto the sides of stone blocks, and figures are
copied to scale
- Basalt
- Dark colored, fine grained, igneous rock
- Smooth basalt surfaces were polished with crushed sandstone and emery
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