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Ancient Art Essay

1. Between 35,000 bce to 12, 000 bce, people back then used to live a simple life that survive by means hunting. This period was called the Paleolithic era which means “old stone age. ” The name was derived from the stone tools which were the main devices that were utilized by the early inhabitants to perform their daily activities for subsistence. It was also during this early period that man started to create artworks on the surface walls of caves. This later on became know as “paleolithic art” or “cave paintings” (Hoover). Most of the cave drawings or painting used animals as the subject matter.

The reason behind this is that the animals were perceived as “either those needed for food and that the paintings were some type of ritual related to the hunt, or that the animals were sacred and were given god-like qualities. ” More so, these visual artworks were considered as “calendars or almanacs, ‘coming of age’ ceremonies, records of tribal migrations and mystic paintings during a shamanistic trance. ” Some of the examples of these paleolithic cave paintings are the following: Cow and a horse from Lascaux cave in France, “Big Cats” from Chauvet cave in France and the Horse at Lascaux cave in France.

The animal theme was prevalent in these three paintings. More so, the colors used were mostly concentrated on earth tones such as red, brown, yellow and black. At that time, the resources of man were limited so the color scheme was monochromatic but with just a little touch of bold colors. For the outlines and silhouette of the animals, it was rigid and not proportional which was caused by the uneven stone surfaces. Also, it lacked depth making it appear two-dimensional. However, cave artists have mastered color blending that added some drama to the overall look of the painting.

In Ancient Egypt, the royals were treated with utmost respect during their lifetime as well as in their after life. In order for them to be immortalized, sculptures were made in their honor. Also, it is to assure that the elites and royalist’s identity will be for eternity. The sculpture of King Menkaure and his Queen Khamerernebty is a clear example of this ancient practice. The statue of the two royal figures measures 4 feet 6. 5 inches in length and it is located within the pyramid of Menkaure which is the “smallest of the Great Pyramids. ” The sculpture is primarily composed of a common material found in ancient Egypt, which is slate.

The statue’s perfect body proportions and regal body gestures displayed Menkaure and Khamerernebty’s royalty. Back then, it was part of tradition that artists should represent their kings and queens in an ideal manner. Their flaws or physical defects should not be highlighted so that the public would forever remember them in a good light. Moreover, the formality of their position wherein the arm of Khamerernebty was wrapped around the torso of Menkaure and both their legs were straight and placed close together was intentional to ensure that the statue would last a lifetime.

“By making the figures very compact and solid without any arms or legs projecting out, the sculpture has very few breakable parts. ” Also, the headdress worn by the king as well as the “queen’s long hair” served as a support to the neck which is considered to be the most delicate part of the statue. More so, the perfect posture and affectionate gesture of the king and queen demonstrated that they were related through marriage. This strategic positioning of the figures was meant to look like that they are associated with each other.

The artists wanted the viewers to immediately determine that King Menkaure and his Queen Khamerernebty are husband and wife and that they will forever remain that for the “rest of time” (Art History Adventure). Works Cited Hoover, Marleen. “Art of Paleolithic and Neolithic Eras. ” 15 August 2006. San Antonio College Visual Arts and Technology Department. 17 November 2008 <http://www. accd. edu/sac/vat/arthistory/arts1303/PALNEO. htm>. “Menkaure and Khamerernebty, Gizeh, Egypt, 2490-2472 BCE, slate. ” n. d. Art History Adventure. 17 November 2008 <http://terpconnect. umd. edu/~mcech/m_k. html>.


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