For my final essay, the six works of art I am going to write about are the Sumerian sculptures, Venus de Milo, Mona Lisa, Diptych of Martin van Nieuwenhove, The Oath of Horatii, and the sculpture of David. I believe that these works of art have contributed to changes that are present in our society today. Sculptures as simple as the Sumerian sculptures from ancient Sumer to the more complex sculptures like David, have set guidelines and what the “beautiful” or “important” individual should look like in our society. These works of art have changed social status for certain cultures and brought heroes to life.Order now
Art from classical Greece has also influenced icons in our society, like our president. Art has existed from ancient times, like the Sumerian sculptures. I think these sculptures were one of the first to represent religious figures and heroes of their society. They had their own way of portraying their gods. These statues were kept in Sumerian temples. Once in the temples you would see figures and from these figures stood out the 30” carved male. This is how Sumerians portrayed their divine. This figure was carved from alabaster and resembled a human.
Compared to the Greeks their gods did not have strong bodies and were not defined beautiful. This sculpture looks divine because it is the oldest from the other figures. When staring at them the first thing you pay attention to are the eyes, which are huge. I believe that these figures were the beginning of heroic sculptures and later came the Greeks. The next art piece that I find interesting is the Venus de Milo from Classical Greece. In the Classic Period male and female sculptures were treated very differently. Male sculptures were usually portrayed fully nude and seen at many places like the Parthenon and the Temple of Zeus.
I believe that this sculpture set forth for future nude images of women. This also divided the Greek concept of a woman. Women were classified as either the virgin or the whore. In this era it was accepted for men to be nude because they were the dominant ones. Women needed to respect their husband and obey all rules. Women sculptures usually had full clothing were as men were fully nude. This statue changed the way women were looked at and made it acceptable to portray women nude in art pieces. One of the most popular paintings to date is the Mona Lisa.
Before reading the textbook from this class I really did not understand why this painting was so popular. This painting has raised many questions, for instance who the women is, what social class she’s in. In this painting Leonardo idealized the perfect women. In other paintings women were portrayed as minorities and unimportant people. Leonardo changed that in this image. Mona Lisa looks very noble and confident. Her smile and eyes look very mysterious. When I look at this painting I feel as if she is hiding something. She draws your attention and makes you wonder to whom she is.
In a way she doesn’t look as if she is smiling, sometimes I think she is actually frowning. Like the nude sculpture of Venus, Mona Lisa changed the way women were portrayed. Women can now be resembled as important or confident icons in their era. I believe for this reason that the Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci is important and has affected us till this day. Another interesting painting that I find to be important to this day is Han Memling’s Diptych of Martin van Nieuwenhove. This painting expresses the three most enduring values of western culture.
During this time, which was about 1487, technology, religion and individualism were important aspects of this era. During this time portraits of individuals were being painted. In this painting the man’s hands are positioned as if he was praying with what I think is the bible in front of him. This image is still mimicked to this day. In the March 2003 issue of News Week, George Bush is depicted in the same manner as the praying man. On the cover of the magazine it states, “Bush & God”. Images like these derived from past paintings like Memling’s. This is why I find his painting to be of importance.
It might be all right for an icon like our president to be seen as praying on a cover of a popular magazine, but to me it does not really fit Bush’s personality. From looking at that image it looks as if he is trying really hard to look holy and that’s just not right. Comparing this image to Memling’s painting it is very different. The man in his painting looks very peaceful and holy. On the other hand Bush’s image looks like a used car sales man is trying to look very understanding and holy in front of his country. The Oath of Horatii was another spectacular piece that I find interesting.
This painting to me simply presents the social status of men and women in the 1700’s. As mentioned before in my essay, men were the dominant beings in this era. Women were behind closed doors and I guess a servant to their husband. This painting by Jacques Louis David depicts the social status of women. Men in this painting are glorified and have this heavenly light shone on them. They are the ones who seem brave and confident in this painting. The women in the painting are in the dark side of the room wearing rags. They seem helpless without these men. This is quite different from how women are portrayed in our society.
Women are also dominant in our current society. This is shown in advertisements were women look very professional and they are depicted as the decision maker of the company. I would like to end my essay with the sculpture of David from Classical Greece. This sculpture to me portrays of what a man is suppose to be, physically beautiful, confident and heroic. When I look at the sculpture of David these are the aspects that I see. Advertisements in our society today resemble David. The men in our advertisements have chiseled bodies like David and look very confident. One example of this would be the Abercrombie & Fitch ads.
In some advertisements like the Levi’s jeans ad, David is used to sell the item. David’s character and physical beauty is accepted in our society. I believe that he sets the guidelines of what men should look like and want to look like. Looking at David is kind of motivational to me. When I stare at his sculpture it makes me want to be motivated and be fit. His beauty is not only physical but also inner. You can somehow feel the way he feels, and that is very brave and confident. I guess his sculpture was to make the Greek’s feel safe and confident and that someone is protecting them. I really enjoyed this class.
Before taking the class I was not very much into art and did not really understand the meaning. Now when I look at art pieces I see them as people for some reason. I feel like these paintings and sculptures have feelings and want to be noticed. I have learned that art calms you in ways. It takes you to places where you couldn’t imagine. Art also tells people that it’s all right to be different and to think out of the box. From now on art will be associated in my life and I will take the time to appreciate the different pieces by different artists. I look forward to observing future art shows and maybe owning a few pieces.