Tag Archives: Sculpture

St. Francis in Ecstasy

By Andrew S Martin

St. Francis in Ecstasy is a painting that was done by the Italian Renaissance master, Giovanni Bellini.  He began the painting in 1475 and finished it in 1480.  The painting is now part of the Frick Collection in New York City.  It is displayed for viewing in what was once Henry Clay Frick’s living room.  The painting is in very good condition as it has been well-cared for since created.  I viewed this painting on page 332 in the textbook The Western Humanities by Roy T. Matthews, F. DeWitt Platt, and Thomas F.X. Noble.  I copied the picture from the website http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Francis_in_Ecstasy for use in this paper.

            The St. Francis in Ecstasy painting is oil in tempera on a panel that is 49 x 55 7/8.  Oil paintings were new in Venice, Italy and later paintings were done on canvas rather than wood.     Artists had not yet learned how to build thick textures and drag paint for expressive effect.

            Bellini created harmony in this painting with the backward lean of  Francis’s body which matches the leaning tree that is in the upper left corner of the painting.  The diagonal slope of a small ridge behind St. Francis and the contour of the background hill topped by a dominating, high-walled fortress is another example.

            Color is the most harmonizing thing about this painting.  The entire painting is done with warm earth tones and cool grays and greens that are used not only in the foreground desk but also in the background hills.  The colors go from cool to warm.  Then the background is golden and ends with an amazing blue and white sky.

            I like the realistic landscape in this painting.  What draws me to this painting is the harmony of light and color.


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Analyze a Sculpture

By Rondell Lanier

The Greek Era can be affiliated with creative thinkers and artists like Aristotle and Plato.  Greeks were one of the first societies to innovate social events that displayed athletic talents. These traditions are still carried on today, known as the Olympics. The sculpture Discobolos (disc thrower), helps depicts some of the Greek culture. Discobolos was created by a Greek sculptor named Myron, of Eleutherai. The Discobolos is a sculpture of a discus thrower, seen as a male Athlete, shown at the highest point of tension in his swing, it can be notice however, that the statue has no expression on his face. Athletes are known to have expressive faces as they perform intense physical maneuvers. The Greeks felt they should strive for both mental and physical perfection. The classical Greeks were more interested in the human body than in the interior spirit of the person. The statue’s composition also creates an in balance of opposites. The athlete’s arms and left foot create a neat curve down one side, broken by the jagged edges and right angles of his back and legs on the other. His chest faces towards the viewer while his legs are seen from the side. The Discobolus breaks from any kind of symmetry and in the process creates its own unique sense of balance and beauty The composition, highly rhythmical, as it reflects a spirit that’s similar to other works of early classical sculpture. The first statue was bronze and dated back to 450 BC. Viewing can be seen online, with roman marble copies currently found at the National Roman Museum.

Discobolus is displayed completely nude as were many sculpture’s of Greek athletes of this time period. His pose is said to be unnatural to man, and in today’s time period considered to be a rather inefficient way to throw the discus. It may seem that Myron’s desire for perfection has made him focus extremely on the sense of strain in the

individual muscles, and not the complete action of the athlete. The rhythmos of Myron’s Discobolos, as we can see, emerge from the way its parts and shapes seem to echo each other throughout the piece. The actual size of the sculpture is unknown due to the origin of the original.  It was believed that the statue was the height of the sculptor at 61 inches. Any material that can be shaped in three dimensions can be used sculpturally. Certain materials, by virtue of their structural and aesthetic properties and their availability, have proved especially suitable. The most important of these are stone, wood, metal, clay, ivory, and plaster. There are also a number of materials of secondary importance and many that have only recently come into use. Discobolos, like other sculptures, has long been closely related to architecture through its role as architectural decoration and also at the level of design.

The symbolism of Discobolus includes perfection, concentration, and athleticism. His inspiration provides precise mechanics, follows the arts of ancient Greece, and have exercised an enormous influence on the culture of many countries, particularly in the areas of sculpture and architecture. In the West, the art of the Roman Empire was largely derived from Greek models. Discobolus form and precise function even though developed over a thousand years ago, is still emulated and admired by sculptors and artists today. It remains one of the most recognized sculptures of today. Seeing an image numerous times, will incite a person to look into the origins that influences their culture.

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Boy Struggling With a Goose

By LaVonsaye Wilkerson

Over the course of our lives, since childhood we all have been taught good verse evil whether it was at home or in society. Even, during the Hellenistic period the values were the same as they are today. Boethus, “Boy Struggling with a Goose”, a statue featuring an adolescent wrestling with a goose depicts this message. The child is a symbol of innocence that wrestling with immorality, “the goose”.

Boy Struggling with a Goose was created by the sculptor Boethus.  Who was a Greek from Chalcedon which is located on the Sea of Marmara. The original statue itself was found in a fountain located in Rome in 1789. I first viewed Boy Struggling With A Goose in the Western Humanities Book on page 108. The statue has been replicated several times and comes in many shades, and tones. Including but not limited to bronze, silver, and copper. Several copies have been placed in museums around the country like Louvre and Museo Capitolino just to name a few. It’s a sign of courage and strength being that the boy knows that the goose could take him down.

    Next, the form of the statue is unique. It depicts a toddler stated to be around the age of 4 or 5 years old. The overall mass of it is huge. The boy and the goose seem to join forces becoming one figure instead of two. Due to the fact that the artist makes the statue a life sized replica making the boy small and the goose large makes it almost impossible to capture it. There are several different lines used in the sculpture itself. For instance the curved legs and the curly hair of the boy making him look almost cherub like.

            One focal area of the sculpture is how the artist gives the child toddler characteristic such as a fat stomach, fat thighs, and small legs. Another area of focus is how the artist makes the boy look as if he’s having fun rather than struggling. In the sense that he’s smiling as if he’s won a prize (the goose).

In conclusion, my overall view of the statue is that it interprets the morals of Hellenistic time, how religion and violence was an important role played in their society. I also think that the child is a representation of good in contrast with the goose that is a symbol of Evil. To me it’s not actually a boy struggling with a goose but him struggling with evil. All the elements that make up the statue are symbolic. I enjoyed researching and learning about the history of the Statue. But the most intersecting thing of all was that the goose was one of the sacred birds of Aphrodite. In the future I plan to study some more of Boethus statues and also research his live as a whole.

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Short Paper Assignment #1

By David Jones

The sculpture that I am writing about is named Anavyos Kouros. The Artist is unknown but the sculpture was constructed in the Archaic Greek period in history. The sculpture still stands in one piece and stands erect in The Athens National Museum. The sculpture was created between 540-520 B.C. The condition that the sculpture is in is excellent in my thoughts; there are a few cracks that I have noticed, but overall the sculpture looks good. A person can view a picture of this sculpture in The Western Humanities, written by Matthews and Platt on page 57.

The sculpture is a representation of how the ancient Greeks viewed the human body as art, the Greek sculptors created athletic, muscular males (56). The Greek artist uses some Egyptian influences but created their sculptures in less conventional poses and formal gestures (56). The sculpture I am writing about is made of marble. In the making of this sculpture the artist  attempts to design the sculpture like a Olympic athlete with a taut body and a massive torso (59).

The sculpture is a 3 dimensional structure that has the resemblance of a actual human being. Compared to the New York Kouros the Anavysos Kouros has more detail and finer quality finish. The dimensialty contributes to the overall “real life” appearance. The author used very fine detailing in constructing this sculpture, from the torso, abs, face, hair, and facial features, the author spent allot of time and effort in making this art piece come to life. The mass of the sculpture helps make it appear human, and the texture gives it a neutral look. The line and form can be described as very precise. The articulation is very smooth and gives the viewer ease in defining the different structures on the sculpture. The focal areas on the sculpture is the face, due to the defined features including the hair, and also the lower body is a focal area, drawing attention to how the male body should look like. I also noticed that the hands were clenched, which meant that this sculpture was meant to be a fighter of some sort, or maybe the artist wanted to make the sculpture seem strong or masculine. Finally I noticed that the Left foot is in fron t of the Right foot adding to the uniqueness of the sculpture.

I really did enjoy viewing this artwork. It is amazing that artist could construct such fine details from many years ago. This sculpture defines what a man should possess physically, which is why I really enjoy writing about it. This sculpture inspires me to become more athletic to become like this.

Matthews, Roy and Platt, F. Dewitt. “The Western Humanities.”  McGraw Hill, 2008. Febuary 4, 2010

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Augustus of Prima Porta

By Kara Johnson

The Augustus of Prima Porta, above(Museos Vaticanos)  portrays the ideal human proportions of an Athenian Athlete. Augustus Ceaser was the founder of Rome and a very successful leader. This marble statue is dated 15 A.D and is believed to be a copy of the bronze original commissioned by Tiberius, Augustus’ adopted son. However, the date of this statue is not certain; it was made a short time after Augustus’ victory over the Pathians in 20 A.D. The artist of the marble statue is also unknown. The Statue is currently located at the Vatican Museum and is under construction(Museos Vaticanos). 

The statue is 6 feet, 7 and half inches tall(Matthews, Roy T., and F. DeWitt. Platt). Augustus of Prima Porta was found on April 20, 1863 about nine miles from Rome in the villa that belonged to Augustus’ wife, Livia. The statue stood in the garden at the Prima Porta estates in the Villa. You can tell this statue is of the Hellenic style because of his relaxed stance and idealized face. Augustus’ stance was a very popular and relaxed stance in the ancient times, it was called contrapposto, and the body’s weight was placed on one leg and the other leg is used as support. The breast plate on the statue represents many things, most of all his defeat and victory, it celebrates Augustus’ defeat over the parthians and the return of the Roman standards that were lost in 53 B.C.E., and the peace if the Roman people. Augustus of Prima Porta not only represents him as the founder of Rome and great leader, but also represents him as a god, although he is not wearing a crown. Augustus’ bare feet represent his heroic actions, in Rome mythology, heroes are always shown with bare feet to symbolize heroism. The cupid and the dolphin to the left represent the Julio-Claudian family descent from Venus, Augustus’ mother, and his adopted father Julius Ceaser. Cupid was also Augustus’ grandson. There are also very personal features about Ceaser Augustus in this statue, he has a broad head, deep set eyes, a formed mouth and petit chin. His face is also similar to the god Apollo and was meant to show his abilities of a powerful god.

When I saw this statue, I felt power. I liked it because it was about a very successful ruler who people respected and looked up to. In some of my research, Ceaser Augustus is supposed to be making a victory speech. There are many replicas of this statue, in bronze and marble, but none of them are the original. The original is believed to have been destroyed.

 Works Cited

 Matthews, Roy T., and F. DeWitt. Platt. “Chapter 6.” The Western Humanities. New York: Mcgraw Hill, 2007. Print.

Museos Vaticanos. http://mv.vatican.va/4_ES/pages/zPatrons/MV_Patrons_04_03.html

Wikipedia. Completed January 27, 2011. Accessed February 1, 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augustus_of_Prima_Porta

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Aphrodite of Melos

By Mary Buckner

The Aphrodite of Melos, also commonly known as the Venus De Milo, was found on the island of Milo in 1820. It is a sculpture that is shrouded in mystery. At the moment, researchers are still unsure of who its creator is and really of whom the statue depicts. It is thought to be a sculpture depicting the Greek Goddess Aphrodite, but some scholars have also speculated that it could be the Goddess Artemis depending on what she was holding in her hand, or even the Goddess Amphitrite, a sea goddess who was created on the island of Milo. Because of the damage sustained to the sculpture, specifically the missing arms, the statue gives very few clues as to who is depicted. The clues that are present do suggest that it could be of the Goddess of Beauty, Aphrodite.  This is because Aphrodite is usually depicted half naked, as the Aphrodite of Melos is. This specific statue also has a soft, sensual figure that suggests the pure feminine beauty that so often is connected with Aphrodite. There is also a serenity and melodic beauty in the statue’s face, that suggests she was created during the Hellenistic age. The statue is currently housed in the Louvre Museum in Paris, France.

            Since its discovery, the Aphrodite of Melos (Venus De Milo) has traveled quite a bit. After a peasant first discovered it in 1820, an officer in the French navy, Jules Dumont d’Unville, saw the statue and decided that this piece of work was of historical significance. He arranged to purchase the statue with the aid of the French ambassador to Turkey and bring it home to France. However, before the transaction could be made, the peasant who originally found the statue sold it to a local priest. This priest had purchased it as a gift for a friend in Constantinople and was going to send the sculpture off on a boat. Yet, before it was loaded onto the ship, one of the ambassador’s aids got to it and was able to strike a deal with the priest, which permitted the delivery of the statue to d’Unville. Once on French soil, the Aphrodite of Melos was taken to the Louvre where it was restored and cleaned. The Marquis de Riviere then presented it to King Louis XVIII, but a year later the King returned it to the Louvre.   

            The Aphrodite of Melos (Venus De Milo) is approximately a 6’10” statue made of Parian marble that celebrates the Hellenistic age and style. It is a statue that is both shrouded in mystery and adorned by its many years. By looking at the head it is clear to see the peaceful, calm look and to notice the highly detailed hair, and precisely cut features. As one observes from the eye line and above, the sculpture becomes more plain and simple. Finally, the lower part of the statue most demonstrates the work’s rough draperies. Our book describes that the

“celebrated statue represent classical tendency, derived from Greek tradition, in Hellenistic art. The head is executed in the pure Hellenistic style…However, the body with its frank sensuality and its rumpled draperies, is clearly Hellenistic style” (Matthews 110).

I love this fascinating statue. The beautiful face, filled with serenity and peacefulness, causes me to feel and share a pleasant ease as well. I also love its history that is wrapped in this puzzling enigma, which really gets me to think about this piece’s back story and all the crazy and different places it has been. It also puts a desire in me, a desire to one-day travel and see this piece in person. The Aphrodite of Melos is a beautiful statue that not only attracts the eye to its outer beauty, but also puzzles the mind because of its mysterious origins. It is truly a masterpiece if not only for its craftsmanship, but for its wonderful lore.

A picture of the Aphrodite of Melos can be found in our book on page 110

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Analyze a Sculpture

By Russell Moore

The sculpture of King Menkure and His Chief Queen is quite an interesting.  It was found in it’s original resting place beneath the king’s pyramid at Giza.  This is a life sized sculpture of Menkure, an Egyptian fourth dynasty ruler.  The statue includes Menkure’s chief queen, who to the left of Munkure, with her arms around his waist.  The condition of this statue is remarkable condition considering it was made in 2525 BC.  Currently, this work of art is located in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.  A very nice picture, and brief information can be found on page 23 of the Western Humanities textbook.

            There are some very apparent design attributes that the sculptor has used in this sculpture.  For example, the dimensionality stands out as one of the most striking properties.  Both figures are life sized, and proportionally accurate.  The queen, however, instead of being depicted shorter is the same size.  This was done to reflect the royal chief status of the queen.  For the observer, this gives the effect of making you feel as if they are equal in their power. 

            The texture also plays an important role in this sculpture.  There is a contrasting texture between the figures, and the background.  The surfaces of the  king and queen are both relatively smooth, while the background remains rough and pitted.  This clear contrast in texture makes the figures stand out from their background more easily.

            There are a few design elements that catch my attention.  The king appears to be working, while the queen is providing comfort and support by having her arms around his waist.  They appear as a loving couple, that share a strong relationship.  I think this response is caused by their perceived closeness.

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