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The Body as an expression of human values in Ancient Art.

PAPER ASSIGNMENT #1: The Body as an expression of human values in Ancient Art.

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PAPER ASSIGNMENT #1: The Body as an expression of human values in Ancient Art.
Due in section September 23.The four following works to be discussed are on exhibit at the Los Angeles Museum of Art (LACMA) 5905 Wiltshire (2 blocks east of Fairfax) Mon.,Tues, Thurs. 11:00-6:00; Fri. 11:00-8:00, Sat. & Sun. 10:00-7:00, closed Wens; $10.00 students with ID, free for L.A. County residents after 3:00 weekdays. Ahmanson Building, floor 3.

A.) Funerary Stela of Iamu, Egypt, Dendera, Late 11th Dynasty, Limestone ID: 50.37.13.
B.) Relief from the Palace of the Assyrian King (Ashurnasirpal II Ashurnasirpal II and a Winged Deity) Calah (Nimrud, Iraq), circa 870 B.C. Gypseous Alabaster I.D.: 66.4.1-5
C.) Bateman Mercury, Roman, 2nd C. A.D., Copy of Greek of 4th c.* Mercury corresponds to the Geek god Hermes, a messenger of the gods. His swiftness is indicated by his winged helmet.
D.) Hope Hygieia, Roman, 2nd C. A.D.,Copy of Greek, circa 360 B.C., Marble I.D.: 50.33.23.
In Greek mythology, Hygeia was the daughter and assistant of Asclepius, God of Medicine. It was believed that serpents were brought back to life by the healing powers of Asclepius and, hence, were associated with healing. Hygeia tended to the temples of Asclepius, thus, she holds a bowl containing a medicinal potion with the serpent of Wisdom drinking from it, now the symbol of the American Pharmaceutical Association.

The way in which the human body has been depicted can be interpreted as expressing how man has understood what it means to be human. In a six page paper analyze how are the values of ancient cultures expressed in four representations of the body on exhibit at LACMA. Discuss how the values of the Egyptians, Assyrians, and Greeks of Antiquity (as revived by the Romans), are exemplified by these four depictions of the human body. Is the body regarded and portrayed in Western Civilization of the 21st century in a similar way to express the same values?

The paper assignment is to be based on looking and thinking, not on secondary research. It provides you with a sustained encounter with actual works of art, as well as a chance not only to apply the skills and information acquired in class but also to develop your critical thinking and writing skills. In your essay refer to class readings to support your visual interpretation of these works in their historical context.

1. First compare the Egyptian & Assyrian reliefs. Consider the function of the reliefs and describe the relationship of the figures in each and with each other (e.g. scale, hierarchical scale, adornments). Discuss the artistic ways and conventions used in depicting the body to convey power and status. What conclusions can you draw about the values of these two cultures?

2. Then compare the depiction of the Greek statues of the god Mercury wearing a winged-cap & the goddess Hygieia holding a snake to each other and to statues (Greek or Roman) presented in class. Consider their gaze, stance, proportions, and musculature. How are the LACMA statues representative of Greek and Roman cultural values? Take into consideration differences in their gender, gaze, and body.

3. In conclusion compare these four depictions of the human body and explain how they exemplify the values of the Egyptians, Assyrians, and Classical Greeks and Romans. Also consider how they compare to the way in which the body is regarded and portrayed in Western Civilization of the 21st century? Consider how contemporary imagery contributes to the formation of ideals of the body and values? What does this say about the values of our current Western culture?

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