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Art History

Rembrandt’s drawing of the Last Supper was inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s own painting at the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan (Louvre, n.d.). Rembrandt was very occupied with the works of da Vinci during the second half of 1630s. He was intrigued by da Vinci’s last Supper, which he came to know from a printed reproduction of the great work of art (Van de Wetering, 2014). Rembrandt made used of da Vinci’s composition but he was most interest in the overall effect of the masterpiece. The Dutch master, who was known to have an eye for details was very particular with the problem of symmetry and asymmetry in the grouping of figures in da Vinci’s Last Supper: Christ in the middle, the canopy and the dais, the vast room and the apostles (Louvre, n.d.). What caught Rembrandt’s eyes was the problem of symmetry and asymmetry in the grouping of figurines in Da Vinci’s Last Supper. In his work “Wedding of Samson,” Rembrandt attempted to surpass Da Vinci’s Last Supper by taking into account the importance of composition in his work, to make even livelier scenes as depicted in his drawings (Van de Wetering, 2014). As an artist, perhaps, one of the important methods of learning in Rembrandt’s drawing of the Last Supper is composition of work. Composition is important in the arrangement and organization of components. It gives structure to the layout and the way the subject is presented in an art work. It gives unity, balance, rhythm, movement, and focus (Broddy-Evans, n.d.). The Renaissance period in the 15th century paved the way for the flourishing of art. Side by side with this, merchants also flourished and many families, with or without nobility grew rich. They financed works of arts in painting, sculpture and music. It was the money of patrons that financed the works of artists during the era. Patronage helped artists to live and to thrive during the period (Riversong, 1998). Artists were commissioned by patrons to create works of art. A contract is entered between the artist and the patron. In the contract, the piece of commissioned art is specified in terms of materials to be used, the timeline of production and creation, and the subject that would be depicted in art work. In the Renaissance period, the artists were, therefore, limited in creating subject matters. They were confined to what their patrons wanted them to do. Wealthy Italians patrons often commissioned artists to create works of arts that depicted the Catholic Church. Common works of arts were altar pieces and religious murals (Khan Academy, n.d.). Today, patronage has become a commercial experience. The modern patronage system has a lot to do more with advertising nowadays. Patronage also is more concerned of creating cultural nationalism rather than supporting creativity (Dearing, 2006). Contemporary support for the arts also comes from large corporations and the government. Nowadays, patronage has become a business and marketing strategy for big corporations. Art institutes are named after corporate donors. Some artists are also generously supported by companies through promotional mileage, especially those who are still building their names in the industry and art scene. Some private individuals, who are lovers of arts, are also into sponsorship and commission of arts and artists, like in the past centuries. Meanwhile, in some countries, government patronage tends to veer to propaganda, rather than supporting experimental work (Dearing, 2006). The Paleolithic era was distinguished by the development of stone tools. This era was known as the Stone Age. This was the time of prehistoric sculpture, when small totemic statuettes were created. Known as Venus figurines, these statuettes were carved by Stone Age sculptors using different materials like soft stones (calcite and limestone), bones, ivory, wood or ceramic clays. The Venus figurines were considered by archaeologists as art forms that depict prehistoric notion of feminine beauty. As such, they were eventually dubbed as “Venuses” in reference with the Roman goddess of beauty. Most Venus figurines that were unearthed by archaeologists have similar characteristics. Their shapes and designs were somewhat similar. They are shaped like lozenges. They have big, wide bellies tapering to the legs and head. No arms or feet or any facial detail can be seen in these figurines. Their breasts, abdomen, hips, vulva and thighs are exaggerated, giving it a misshaped form. Paleoanthropologists said that these figures seem to represent fertility symbols. They also symbolize some sort of ancient icons (Encyclopedia of Stone Age Art, n.d.). Stonehenge is considered as a unique prehistoric monument. It is known as the world’s most architecturally sophisticated ancient lintelled stone circle. The Stonehenge is made of sarsen stones. The stones and blue stones of the center cluster are made of small bluestones and large sarsens, which were believed to have been brought to the site about 2500 BC. The sarsens came from Malborough Downs and the bluestones came from Preseli Hills. The inner stones are made of five trilithons. Trilithons are two vertical stones with a horizontal lintel. Three are still standing, two are partly fallen. Near its center is the Altar Stone. Around the Stonehenge, there are also other stones and avenue. The stones in this unique monument are believed to be erected with clear-cut interlocking joints (English heritage, n.d.). The Stonehenge was studied over the years and it came to be known that it was the site of ceremonial and mortuary practices in prehistoric times. The earliest stage of the unique monument is known as Britain’s largest cremation cemeteries (English heritage, n.d.). Many theories have been thought about the existence of this extraordinary monument. It was believed to be a site for the coronation of Danish kings. It was also believed to be a Druid temple and an astronomical guide for predicting solar episodes and eclipses. Some theories were thought reiterating that the Stonehenge was a place where ancestors were worshipped. Others believed that it was center for healing (English heritage, n.d.). However, with the many theories and ideas behind the creation of the Stonehenge, the most widely accepted theory was that it was a prehistoric temple which has alignments with the sun’s movements (English heritage, n.d.). A central figure of the Neo-Sumerian age was the Gudea of Lagash. He was known as a strong and peaceful ruler. He was a pious leader and was depicted as an agent of the Gods in the service of his people. Gudea was zealous in offering to the gods their due. He commissioned the creation of different statues of himself as a manifestation of his piety. Many of his statues bear inscriptions with messages to the gods of Sumer. In the many inscriptions of his statues, it was explained why he was portrayed as such. He had a large chest in his statues, a sign that the gods had given him the fullness of life. His muscular arms depict the strength he was bestowed upon by the gods (Kleiner, 2014). In the religious traditions of the Lagash, the eyes, head, chest and arms are the power centers of a human. This would explain why Gudea was depicted with wide eyes. He was also depicted as bare shouldered. By being wide-eyed and bare-shouldered, Gudea is opening himself to the gods (Weebly, n.d.). In addition to this, in one of his statues, Gudea was seen as holding a jar with overflowing water. This symbolized the prosperity he brings to the people of Lagash (Kleiner, 2014). Gudea’s statues are carved from diorite, a hard, black, rare and precious stone that was very expensive in ancient times. Polished diorite is even imported from Oman. It is hard and difficult to carve. Thus, it underscores its prestige as a material. Its high value shows the wealth of its owner. Based on this, it was believed that Gudea was a highly regarded and honored man, with utmost importance (Kleiner, 2014). The epic of Gilgamesh is the greatest literary work of Ancient Mesopotamia. Based on the epic, Gilgamesh was depicted as a great king of Uruk, who journeyed far and wide to find fame and glory. He traveled with the mortal, Enkidu who died. Gilgamesh made a lavish funeral for his friend. As Gilgamesh prayed to the gods, he named the gifts he was burying with Enkidu for journey to the afterlife. This included the flute of carnelian. A Gilgamesh-like hero was represented at the on the sound box of the bull lyre from the tomb of King Meskalumdug in Ur. According to the Penn Museum, the front panel of the lyre tells the story of a funeral ritual. The Gilgamesh-like hero who grapples with bulls represents control over nature. A hyena carries meat and behind him is a lion holding a jar. This depicts the underworld banquet. The last scene depicts a scorpion man, the guardian of the underworld’s entrance (Flutopedia, n.d.). Taking into consideration these depictions of the epic and the lyre found in the grave of the king helps us understand how the ancient people related their life to their art creations. Art seemed to be an extension of their everyday life and even their knowledge of afterlife. In learning these important details, we can see how art flourished through the ages, eras and generations. References Broddy-Evans. (n.d.). The 8 Elements of Composition in Art. About.com. Retrieved July 9, 2014, from http://painting.about.com/od/artglossaryc/g/defcomposition.htm Dearing, Stewart. (3 November 2006). Cultural critic takes on modern-day art patronage. Browndailyherald.com. Retrieved July 9, 2014, from http://www.browndailyherald.com/2006/11/03/cultural-critic-takes-on-modernday-art-patronage/ Encyclopedia of Stone Age Art. (n.d.). Prehistoric Venus Figurines. Visual-arts-cork.com. Retrieved July 9, 2014, from http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/prehistoric/venus-figurines.htm English Heritage. (n.d.). The Significance of Stonehenge. English-heritage.org. Retrieved July 9, 2014, from http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/stonehenge/history-and-research/significance/ Flutopedia. (n.d.). Flutes of Gilgamesh and Ancient Mesopotamia. Flutopedia.com. Retrieved July 9, 2014, from http://flutopedia.com/mesopotamian_flutes.htm Khan Academy (n.d.). Patronage and the Status of the Artist. Smarthistory.org Retrieved July 9, 2014, from http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org/patronage-and-the-status-of-the-artist.html Kleiner, Fred. (2014). Gardner’s Art Through the Ages: The Western Perspective. Books.google.com. Retrieved July 9, 2014, from http://books.google.com.ph/books?id=YQsM6U_Iyf0C&pg=PA43&lpg=PA43&dq=message+of+votive+statue+of+gudea&source=bl&ots=gHiFmE2CcS&sig=FrWXsqppqKKjF3arWdBc6lMsc3Y&hl=en&sa=X&ei=4Tm9U7WZE5bcoATe_IE4&ved=0CGkQ6AEwEQ#v=onepage&q=message%20of%20votive%20statue%20of%20gudea&f=false Louvre. (n.d.). The Last Supper, after Leonardo da Vinci. Rembrandt.louvre.fr. Retrieved July 9, 2014, from http://rembrandt.louvre.fr/en/html/introduction.html Riversong, Michael. (1998). The Importance of Patronage. Earthlink.net. Retrieved July 9, 2014, from http://home.earthlink.net/~mriversong/patron.html Van de Wetering, Ernst. (9 May 2014). Rembrandt van Rinj. Britannica.com. Retrieved July 9, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/497584/Rembrandt-van-Rijn/251320/Night-Watch#ref874486 Weebly. (n.d.). Ancient Near Eastern: Art History. Classicalarthistory.com. Retrieved July 9, 2014, from http://classicalarthistory.weebly.com/ancient-near-eastern.html


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Etruscan Sculpture with Archaic Greek Sculpture


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Art History: Darshan & Puja and Bhakti

Art History Various religion manifest differentiating impact among people and this is based on how profound their spiritual faith is. One of the most common religion in Asia is Hinduism and this religion is encapsulated with complex principles which creates its beauty among its worshippers. Few of the several aspect of this religious belief is the concept of Darshan, Bhakti, and Puja. These are merely facets of Hinduism which explicate how nourishing this spiritual belief is to the worshipper’s soul. Darshan Darshan is the act in which the worshipper sees the deity and the deity sees the worshipper. Drashan is very important to Hindu who would often travels miles to merely receive this. According to Editors of Hinduism Today (2007), Darshan is perceived as the vibration which springs from the illuminated soul as a result of his inner attainment, be he a yogi, pandit, guru, swami, or rishi. The Hindus believe that the Darshan that emerge from the great soul helps them in their evolution, changes patterns in life through cleaning up areas of their subconscious mind that they could not possibly have done themselves. In addition to this, they also further believe that if the dashing is strong enough, and /or if they are in tune with him enough, then by its power, the kundalini force can be stimulated enough to a point that it could facilitate meditation. This could also be referred as the grace of the guru. One ability to meditate come from grace. It is imperative to have grace prior meditation, for they believes that the absence of grace may brought about austerities by oneself instead. Darshan from a great soul was also compared to flower’s pollen for it can stimulate healthy sneezing and cleansing if one’s subconscious happens to flowers.


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