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Art History Textbook Reading - Sculpture (Carving and Casting).docx

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Art History
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Neil Mc Kay

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Art History Readings – Sculpture (Carving & Casting) STONE CARVING:  “Artifacts or Works of Art?” p. 5-9  As early as 30,000 BCE small figures of people and animals made of bone, ivory, stone and clay appeared in Europe and Asia  Referred to today as examples of sculptures in the round  Relief Sculpture: the surrounding material is carved away, forming a background that sets off the projecting figure  Woman from Willendorf  Abstract art: the reduction of shapes and appearances to basic yet recognizable forms that are not intended to be exact replication of nature  Egyptian sculptors were adept at creating like life three-dimensional figures that also express a feeling of strength and performance consistent with the unusually hard stones from which they were carved  Male figures were usually painted red in Egypt  Menkaure and a Queen & Seated Scribe  Nude Torso from Harappa is an example of a contrasting naturalistic style of ancient Indus origins. It is one of the most extraordinary portrayals of the human form to survive from any early civilization Technique: Color in Greek Sculpture (p. 113)  Stone sculptures in Greece did not always have stark white, pure marble surfaces but were originally painted with brilliant colors  Pigments include malachite, azurite, arsenic, cinnabar and charcoal  Recent reconstructions of figures in painting to make them seem more lifelike Free Standing Sculpture:  Sculptors of the Archaic period created a new type of large, free-standing stature made of wood, terra cotta (clay fired over low heat, sometimes unglazed), limestone, or white marble  They were brightly painted and sometimes bore inscriptions indicating that individual men and women had commissioned them for a commemorative purpose  Line entrance to main temple  A female stature of this type is called a kore/kourai  Greek for young woman and a male statue is called a kouros/kouroi  Metropolitan Kouros:  Still resembling Egyptian sculptures, the background has been cut away from around the body to make the human form free-standing  The total nudity of the Greek kouroi is unusual in ancient Mediterranean cultures, but it is acceptable – even valued in the case of young men. Not so with women  Closed lip expression known as Archaic smile  Berlin Kore:  Uses thin sheets of gold adhere indicate that it was once painted  Anavysos Kouros:  More lifelike to the human figure  Archaic smile echo the earlier style  Suggest heroic strength  A symbolic type  Peplos Kore:  Unlike Anavysos Kouros, figure is clothed  Same motionless vertical pose of the Berlin Kouros  Once wore a metal crown and jewellery  The name is based on an assessment of her clothing as a young girl’s peplos- a draped rectangle of cloth pinned at the shoulders and belted to give a blouse effect Example of a kouroi Marble Sculpture:  Greek sculptors have moved far from the stiffness of the Archaic kouroi to more relaxed, lifelike figures  Softly rounded body forms  Broad facial features  Calm expression  No Archaic smile  Weight relaxed on one leg  Contrapposto: the convention of presenting standing figures with opposing alternations of tension and relaxation around a central axis that will dominate Early Classical art Kritios Boy  Technique:  Used attributes most desirable (smooth skin, regular facial features, particular body proportions, and combine them into a single ideal of physical perfection  Ex = The Canon of Polykleitos/Spear Bearer, Polykleitos, Marble  Perfectly balanced body parts  Suggests movement based on bent leg  Late Classical Sculpture (p. 143-146):  Fourth-century sculptors began to modify and challenge the standard of the idealized human figure  A new canon of proportions emerged for male figures – now eight or more heads tall rather than the six-and-a-half or seven-head height of earlier works  Expressions of wistful introspection, dreaminess, even fleeting anxiety or lightheartedness  This period saw the earliest
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