Ancient Roman and Egyptian Art & Culture

Ancient Art & Culture: Four Examples

It seems true that if one really wishes to understand a culture, one must understand their art. It may seem very difficult to approach, let alone comprehend, cultures that died out thousands of years before ours was ever conceived. However, if such comprehension is to be gained, it will be through the artifacts these cultures have left behind. By looking at sample portraits from vastly different eras, one can see the evolution of humankind’s self-conception and culture. Each portrait suggests not only how the artists of a culture worked, but how the people of that culture viewed themselves and their reality. Let one look, for example, at a diorite ...

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preserved sculptural monuments of the Neo-Sumerian age." The Head of Gudea preserved at the Santa Barbara Museum (#1991.104) is dated circa 2120 BCE, and serves as a fine example of Neo-Sumarian portraiture. This piece, like most of the other statues of Gudea, is made of diorite, a rare and expensive stone that had to be imported to the area over a great distance. Gudea seems to have taken particular pride in this choice of material, both for its rarity, as an expression of wealth, and for its great strength and resilience.
This head, which one is sure originally sat atop a carved body, would have been part of a statue designed to serve as Gudea’s stand-in for religious purposes. “Throughout Sumerian history the sole purpose of a human statue was that it should be placed in a temple sanctuary, where the cult statue also stood, to symbolize the perpetual adoration of the man in the presence of his god.” As such, the statue served as a physical double for the Gudea, ...

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squat, roundish shape better suited to seated figures. Thus all figures were seated, and additionally each had a head which was disproportionately large compared to the body. This may be because as a portrait it was more important that the face be recognizable even if the body had to be shrunk to fit it into the required space, and also because of the primacy of the head in relationship to the body in that culture’s worldview. (A little like today’s political caricatures). Additionally, all figures were shown wearing similar clothing, and in similar positions.
In either case, these statues did not serve as perfectly true likenesses, as the proportions would indicate. They were at ...

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Ancient Roman and Egyptian Art & Culture. (2016, January 10). Retrieved December 13, 2018, from
"Ancient Roman and Egyptian Art & Culture.", 10 Jan. 2016. Web. 13 Dec. 2018. <>
"Ancient Roman and Egyptian Art & Culture." January 10, 2016. Accessed December 13, 2018.
"Ancient Roman and Egyptian Art & Culture." January 10, 2016. Accessed December 13, 2018.
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Added: 1/10/2016 06:47:26 AM
Category: Arts
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 3484
Pages: 13

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