Venus Of Willendorf During the earliest part of the Stone Age, statuettes like the Venus of Willendorf are found across Europe from Spain to Russia to the banks of Mesopotamia. Archeologists believe that these feminine figures represent a worship of the Mother Goddess, the incarnation of fertility. These figures, simple and voluptuous, are made of stone, bone, ivory and clay. They are frequently given hair in curls or braids, simple garments or belts, and are sometimes pregnant. The Venus of Willendorf was found in Austria, stands 4 ½ inches tall and carved of limestone.
Stonehenge seems to have been built in several phases around 2000 B.C., according to recently calculated radiocarbon dates. Computer-based calculations have raised something of a controversy-not so much over the date as over the purpose of Stonehenge, which seems to have been a kind of astronomical observatory. The mysterious structure, believed in the Middle Ages to have been the work of the magician, Merlin, who spirited it from Ireland, or the work of a race of giants, comes from our own time to be thought of as a remarkably accurate calendar. Found on the Salsibury Plain in Wilshire, England, some of the stones reach as high as 17 feet and weigh tons. Historians call these types of stones Megaliths (great stones) and the culture that produced them megalithic.
Horses, Bull and Stags 14,000-13,500 B.C. Slide 3
Horses, Bull and Stags The caves at Lascaux, France were discovered accidentally in 1940 and their paintings are now generally regarded as the most outstanding work of all known prehistoric art. Incredibly naturalistic pictures of bulls, horses, mammoths, lions and other animals-hardly ever men and never women- were painted in deep underground caves on wet limestone walls with powdered mineral pigments.
Ancient Egypt Historians believe Tutankhamun came to the throne in 1333 BC at the age of nine or ten. He reigned all of Egypt until his untimely death at 19. The following artifacts came from his tomb.
Hieroglyphics Tomb, Ancient Egypt Egyptians were a practical people who viewed their life on earth as a short transition to the "forever." Their art chiefly concerns the daily activities and exchanges with the gods that would best serve them for eternity. Painting was not seperate from the scribal arts. Hieroglyphics consisted of phonograms (the combination of sounds), ideograms (pictures of actual things), and determinatives (to show the meaning of the words they follow).
King Tut In November 1922, an excavation by Howard Carter and funded by Lord Carnarvon, uncovered the tomb of Tutankhamun. When they poked a hole through the debris they could see gold statues, chariots and furniture. All were in the tomb to accompany him on his journey into the afterlife.
King Tutankhmun’s Sarcophagus Within 4 gilded and inlaid, heavy wooden shrines, Carter discovered a richly decorated sarcophagus of golden-yellow quartz covered by a pink granite lid that was painted to match the base. Inside was a nest of three heavy coffins, the innermost made of solid gold. All fitted together so tightly that an improvised crane was needed to lift them out.
King Tutankhamun’s Death Mask Inside the last coffin lay Tutankhamun’s mummy, tightly wrapped in a linen shroud and protected by an array of more than 100 precious jewels and charms. The finest of all the treasures, however, was the fabulous death mask sculpted from beaten gold. The mask’s image is of the boy- king’s young face, made up as Osiris, King of the Dead, with striped headcloth, pigtail and beard. The craftsmanship of the mask is exquisite. The eyes, made of yellow quartz with black obsidian for the pupils, give the mask an eerie life-life gaze that still has the power to engage all who see it.
Canopic Jar To preserve the dead, Egyptian priests removed the internal organs, including the heart, liver, lungs and intestines-the brain was usually removed via the nose and the skull was filled with a preservative resin Organs were preserved separately in special vessels called canopic jars. The body was washed and rubbed with salt to remove all moisture, then left to dry for about a month. It was then rubbed with oils and perfumes, before packed with sawdust, mud or sand and wrapped tightly in resin-soaked bandages.
Cartouche A cartouche was an oval circle with a name written in it, rather like a nameplate. In the early days of ancient Egypt, a cartouche was attached to the coffins of kings and queens. As time went on, many people hired an artist to create a cartouche for their own coffins. The ancient Egyptians believed that you had to have your name written down somewhere, so that you would not disappear when you died. By attaching a cartouche to their coffin, people made sure their name was written down in one place at least!
Olive Gathering Black Figureware. By the Antimenes painter c.520 B.C. British Museum, London. The amphora, a jar used to carry oil or wine, provided the contoured surface for this lively slice of ancient Greek life. The line quality of pottery drawings, which was incised by a sharp tool, is still respected as skillful and sensitive today. Decorative Greek vases in a variety of shapes depict many subjects-mythological legends, feasts for the gods, animals, warriors, athletic contests, and so on.
Discus Thrower Myrone Greek Art 450 B.C. Slide 11
Discus Thrower Myron’s representation of an athlete engaged in the discus throw, still an Olympic event in the Olympic Games, was revolutionary as a result of its vigorous and convincing movement; it has been widely reproduced in both the ancient and modern worlds.
The Parthenon Acropolis East. Athens, Greece. c450 B.C. The ancient Greeks built the Parthenon entirely of marble as a shrine to Athena, the goddess of wisdom. This monumental classical temple of the Doric order stood 65 feet tall; a 40-foot high statue of Athena made of ivory and gold, was placed inside! The Parthenon did indeed achieve the Greek ideal of perfection in its grand scale proportional harmony.