Title: Dying Warrior - from the east pediment of the Temple of Aphaia Date: 500-490 BCE. Artist: Unknown Period: The Archaic period Located: Staatliche Antikensammlungen und Glyptothek, Munich Found: Textbook, page 121
Known today as the “Dying Warrior”, this sculpture was one of many sculptures found in the east pediment of the Temple of Aphaea, which is located on the island Aegina. The temple’s building process began in 510 BCE and was finally completed in 480 BCE. Previously, smaller temples had occupied the build site, but due to disasters and change, the earlier temples were ruined and their rumble was used as the foundation for the final structure. The temple was dedicated to the forestry and hunting goddess Aphaea, who was supposedly seen on the shores of Aegina before disappearing into the landscape. This sighting conveyed that Aegina was under the protection of Aphaea. Her glorification was important to the island, because Aphaea protected shipping, which was seemingly beneficial to Aegina’s major maritime culture.
The temple’s two pediments— east and west— were originally finished in 500 BCE; however, for some unknown reason, and there are many theories as to why, the east pediment was re-sculpted in 490 BCE. The east pediment’s new scene and the original west pediment is the art collection that we have and study today. They depict the first and second campaigns, started by Herakles, on Troy, and in both, the goddess Athena is centered, surrounded by ten battling warriors—five on each side. From the remaining sculptures of the east pediment, “Dying Warrior” is the most complete piece. Found stretched out on the ground in the left corner, the wounded warrior is attempting to pull an arrow from his torso while beginning a rise to his feet. From the right side of the pediment, the Greek archer, Herakles—son of Zeus and the river nymph Aphaea— released this fatal arrow from his bow, injuring the warrior, who is king Laomedon, Troy’s second king.
“Dying Warrior” and the remaining pieces of the east pediment are displayed in its original triangular form at Glyptothek, a museum in Munich, and have been there ever since the excavation in 1800’s.
As a commemorating set of art work, the east pediment depicts Herakles’ war against Troy and king Laomedon. The outcome of the war favored Herakles, Telamon, and their Greek army as they killed the king and all his sons but one. Telamon, who was recruited by Herakles, is the son of Aeacus, the king of Aegina. Therefore, the people of Aegina glorified this victory by decorating their guardian-goddess’s temple with the story. When approaching the temple, the highly-elevated battle scene reminds visitors, friends and foes alike, of Aegina’s might supported by various heroes and Athena. “Dying Warrior” offers a visual account of king Laomedon’s death, which was caused by Herakles with the help of Telamon. It was important to the Greek culture to document significant events and myths realistically as a reminder of the simultaneous existence of love, war, honor, disgrace, pain, and pleasure in life. With only a decade separating the composition of the two pediments, the differences between them is very valuable in demonstrating the drastic style change from the Archaic period to the early Classical period. Because “Dying Warrior” is the most complete sculpture from the east pediment, he is commonly compared to his counterpart from the west pediment to visually display the new developments.
The artist, who created “Dying Warrior”, as well as the entire east pediment, is unknown. Though, it is believed that Onatas of Aegina may have created it. The sculpture is made of marble, an elegant medium of sculpting at the time. When the Temple of Aphaea was in use, the sculpture would have been painted and decorated with the attire and bronze armor of a warrior for a more realistic exhibit. The rest of the pediment’s sculptures display a battle scene in action, as if the fight would break from the periodic pause of a Kodak photo and continue on; however, the “Dying Warrior” lies off on the side, frozen in his last breath. If he was to unfreeze from his solid position and return to life, he would not move in battle as the others, but rather, sink to the ground in minimal movement. “Dying Warrior” and this potential contrast seem to convey the delicateness and mortality of human life, applied even to the kings.
The style displayed in “Dying Warrior” is most apparent when comparing it to its counterpart of the opposite pediment. Shown in the warrior sculpture from the west pediment, the Archaic period was classified by the frontal-posed form, the basic silhouette form, and the use of the “Archaic smile”. Displaying these attributes, the counterpart warrior seems to be posing for a photo shoot rather than dying from a wound. The east pediment’s dying warrior displays a much more realistic portrayal of life, which is associated with the naturalism of the classical period, rather than the more abstract style of previous periods.
The east’s “Dying Warrior” is not facing nor even looking outward to the observer, like the warrior is in the west pediment. The style changed because artists wanted a more realistic character, one that doesn’t follow norms, but instead, conveys a real life-form that provokes sympathetic emotions and thoughts. The “Dying Warrior” is twisted on the ground and positioned not for visual clarity, like his counterpart, but visual realism. In his endeavor, the dying warrior has his grounded body weight distributed to his left hip and shield, and his effort and vulnerability are displayed very well through the subtle, detailed modeling. His arms and legs also explain a change in the art style. His right arm covers his torso as he pulls on the arrow, and his legs are stretched out and relaxed because his attention is drawn to his wounded upper body. This differs from the west pediment, where the warrior’s arms and legs are arranged in semi-awkward positions to define each body part as separate, like in a silhouette.
The west warrior also displays a closed- lip smile, the “Archaic Smile”, even though he is wounded and dying. The east warrior sculpture lacks this Archaic smile, and in exchange, his facial expression is aimed downward and that of painful concentration.
I chose “Dying Warrior” for this project, because when flipping through the book for the first time, it was the first artwork that caught my complete attention with its realistic depiction of an attempt to conquer despair.
Title: Stag Hunt Date: 300 B.C.E. Artist: Gnosis Period: The late classical period Located: in a palace at Pella (Macedonia), present-day Greece Found: Textbook, page 156
The image of the Stag Hunt is one of many framed artworks on the mosaic floor from a palace at Pella. It greatly presents that of Pausian design. This piece of art is conspicuously signed by an artist named Gnosis who signed the top, “Gnosis made it.” This is the first recorded mosaicist known to sign his art. This picture is even more impressive because of the order in which it was made. Instead of being made with consistently cut marble, it was prudently created with a specific assortment of natural pebbles. The frame consists of leaves, twisting vines, flowers, and rippling and rolling stems.
The hunters, dog, and stag all represent linear patterns. All of the figures are precisely drawn and shaped in both shade and light. For example, the vivid dog that is drawn to create the illusion that he is turning at an angle. There also appears to be a range of colors as in comparison to earlier works. A mosaic is said to be a picture made with small colored pieces. They can be created from tesserae, which are small pieces of colored marble or stone. The Romans would use this for important rooms because it provided a waterproof surface.
Because of their everlasting strength, many mosaics and similar paintings are the best evidence for fourth-century BCE art. During this period in time, it was also common to capture the appearance of the real world in which they lived. Highlights, shading, playing with light on three-dimensional surfaces, and modeling all helped the artist create a wonderful illusion and an impressive piece of artwork. The artists in the fourth-century BCE were very interested in creating believable works while representing the real world. Roman patrons appreciated Greek mosaics and other paintings.
One famous known Roman observer, Pliny the Elder, stated that Greek painters were extremely skilled in seizing the manifestation of the actual, physical, and factual world. The fact that the men in the image are nude along with the idea of the struggling stag clearly shows Gnosis’s attempt to capture realistic art and how things occurred in everyday life. To the right is a closer view of the amazing detail that goes into a mosaic.
Title: Assurnasirpal II Killing Lions Date: 850 BCE Artists: Unknown Period: Late Mesopotamian Located: The British Museum, London Found: Textbook, page 40
The title is obviously called Assurnasirpal II Killing Lions, which the person killing the lions is Assurnasirpal II. Assurnasirpal II is apparently the king for this particular culture. According to Stokstad, “This was probably a ceremonial hunt...” (page 40). The king in this scene is protected by his men, which may have been soldiers, with swords and shields as they went out to kill lions for whatever reason being for the ceremonial hunt.
It is obvious from the scene the Assurnasirpal is well respected in his society as he is partaking in a ceremonial hunt, but also that he has soldier or men marching behind him protecting him. The lion to the left, behind the king is presented as being ferocious and in short, a beast with great power as the lion already has, which appears to be, four arrows already shot at him that are still sticking out of him.
Stokstad bluntly states the importance of the scene, “The immediacy of this image marks a shift in Mesopotamian art away from a sense of timelessness and toward visual narrative” (page 40).
Title: Judgment of Hunefer before Osiris Comes from a papyrus copy of The Book of the Dead Date: 1285 BCE. Artists: Unknown Period: New Kingdom Located: The British Museum, London Found: Textbook, page 79
After Osiris’s murder by his brother, he was brought back to life but not as a human. His return was as a deified figure, as the god of the underworld. Egyptians valued the afterlife and lived every day preparing for their final breaths so they could rest in peace and live on after they have passed. This picture depicts the cycle one went through after death. They had to go through a series of stages before they could be presented in front of Osiris himself and be offered a blessing of immortality.
The first portion of the illustration is the judgment area. Once cleared of judgment Hunefer is guided by Anubis into the Hall of Maat to weigh his heart against a feather. Maat is the concept of truth and order. The weighing of the heart against the feather symbolizes that, “heavy hearts carry a burden of evil or guilt and did not merit immortality, whereas those of pure heart and honorable deeds gained the gift of eternal life.” Once the heart is proven to be pure then Hunefer is presented before Osiris and is granted eternal life.
This story is significant because most if not all Egyptians lived their lives preparing for their death and the afterlife that brought them. The creation of mummies and lavish tombs within pyramids showed their devotion for the life after death. This became a popular tradition within Egyptian culture and every status preformed the tasks to preserve oneself after death. Wealth only played a factor in how that was done, but the concept was still portrayed.
This piece is styled as a step by step guide for the afterlife. It serves as instructional but is beautiful in any aspect. It shows the depiction of the New Kingdom and their dreams of afterlife and eternal prosperity. This illustration incorporates hieroglyphics, deities, and animalistic characteristics within humans. They all represent something in particular bringing more meaning to the piece leaving more room for interpretation.
Title: Crucifixion with angels and mourning figures, Lindau Gospels. Date: c. 870-880 Artist: Unknown Period: Medieval Period Located: Pierpont Morgan Library, New York Found: Textbook, page 458
This book cover was made between 870-880 at one of the monastic workshops of Charlemagne’s grandson, Charles the Bald. It is not known what book this cover was originally made for, but sometime before the sixteenth century it became the cover for the Lindau Gospels. These gospels were prepared in the late ninth century at the Monastery of Saint Gall, in a work shop called a scriptorium (room in the monastery set aside for the production of books).
It contained four title and four in script pages in gold on vellum stained purple, twelve canon tables (table of contents) on purple backgrounds, lettered in gold and silver, and two carpet pages (pages of geometrical ornamentation placed at the beginning of each of the gospels).
During this period in history it would be safe to say that most individuals could not read. Works of art such as this book cover served as a metaphor for the story contained within. The Landau Gospel appealed to the grand masses, even those who were illiterate could recognize the significance of what was within the book, based on the art work used to create the cover.
Books such as the Landau Gospel were significant for missionary work of the church during the middle ages. These gospels were carried during church processions, and placed on the alters of the churches they belonged to. It was believed that these books protected the parishioners from their enemies, predators, diseases and all kinds of misfortunes.
The cross and the crucifixion were common themes for book covers during the medieval period. The scene of the crucifixion on the front cover is made of gold with figures in repousse’ (low relief produced by pounding out the back of the panel to produce a raised front) and is surrounded by a heavily jeweled frame. The jewels were raised on miniature arcades. By raising the jewels from the gold ground, the artist allowed reflected light to enter the gem stones from beneath, this imparted a lustrous glow. These gems are meant to recall the jeweled walls of the heavenly Jerusalem. Angels hover above the figure of Jesus and the figures hiding their faces represent the sun and moon.
Those mourning the death of Jesus, Mary, John, Mary Magdalene, and Mary Cleophas seem to float around the jewels below the arms of the cross. These figures represent the expressive style of the Utrecht Psalter (illustrations is a ninth century illuminated Psalter which is a key masterpiece of Carolingian art; it is probably the most valuable manuscript in the Netherlands). The figure of Jesus has been modeled in a rounded naturalistic style similar to that of a classical sculpture. Jesus stands upright with eyes wide open and arms out stretched announcing his triumph over death and welcoming believers into the faith.
Title: Death of Sarpedon Date: 515 B.C.E. Artists: Euphronios (painter) and Euxitheos (potter) Period: The Archaic Period Located: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Found: Textbook, page 127
This is a calyx krater (this is because of the upturned handles that curve like a flower calyx. The scene painted onto the krater is of Sarpedon when he was struck down in battle. He is being carried away by two gods, one is Hypnos the god of sleep, and Thanatos, the god of death. Together they begin to carry the body of Sarpedon off the battle field while being watched over by the god Hermes. This vase has not been restored or recreated.
This vase is created by two different artists. One shaped the pottery, and one was the painter Euphronios. This is part of a scene of the Iliad of Homer which states that Sarpedon the son of Zeus died suddenly in battle, and Zeus not being able to prevent this sends Hermes to watch over the burial and uses the god of sleep and death to transport him from the battle field.
This is significant to the ancient Greeks because Sarpedon was a great Grecian warrior that was killed in battle. On one side the Trojan warrior is trying to mutilate it, and the other is a Grecian trying to save Sarpedon’s body for a proper burial. The three gods lifting Sarpedon is also showing the favor of this great warrior.
Even though the potter created a masterpiece with the design of the krater, the painter Euphronios used a technique called “red- figure”. He used a bag like an icing decorator to draw hundreds which made it turn out without a flaw to the human eye. This is especially amazing because before the pottery was fired it was impossible to see the design of what was on the pottery.
Bentley, Jerry H., and Herbert F. Zeigler. Traditions & Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past. 4th ed. Vol. 1. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008. Print. 2 vols. Textbook: Stokstad, Marilyn. Art History. 3rd ed. Vol. 1. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2008. Print. Pages 40, 127, 155-157, 447- 448, 457-459. Gnosis Custom Mosaics: http://www.gnosistesserae.com/En/GnosisV2/AboutGnosis. php?pg=AboutGnosis&lm=AboutGnosis-Gnosis http://www.gnosistesserae.com/En/GnosisV2/AboutGnosis. php?pg=AboutGnosis&lm=AboutGnosis-Gnosis www.britannica.com www.britannica.com www.historyofscience.com/G2I/timeline/index.php?id=2217 www.historyofscience.com/G2I/timeline/index.php?id=2217 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utrecht_Psalter http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utrecht_Psalter