History of Sculpture
Assyrian Black Obelisk of Salamander Ill a large and solid late one. The conquest of the whole of Mesopotamia and much surrounding territory by the Assyrian created a larger and wealthier state than the region had known before, and very grandiose art in palaces and public places, no doubt partly intended to match the splendor of the art of the neighboring Egyptian empire. The Assyrian developed a style of extremely large schemes of very finely detailed narrative low relief in stone for palaces, with scenes of war or hunting; the British Museum has an outstanding collection.
They produced very little sculpture in the round, except for colossal guardian figures, often the human-headed lamas, which are sculpted in high relief on two sides of a rectangular block, with the heads effectively in the round (and also five legs, so that both views seem complete). Even before dominating the region they had continued the cylinder seal tradition with designs which are often exceptionally energetic and refined. The Guenons Lioness, 3rd Millennium BCC, 3. 5 inches high One of 18 Statues of Guide, a ruler around 2090 BCC The Burner Relief, Old Babylonian, around 1800 BCC
Assyrian relief from Nimrod, from c 728 BCC Ancient Egypt The monumental sculpture of Ancient Egypt is world-famous, but refined and delicate small works exist in much greater numbers. The Egyptians used the distinctive technique of sunk relief, which is well suited to very bright sunlight. The main figures in relief adhere to the same figure convention as in painting, with parted legs (where not seated) and head shown from the side, but the torso from the front, and a standard set of proportions making up the figure, using 18 “fists” to go from the ground to the hair-line on the forehead.
This appears as early as the Meaner Palette from Dynasty l, but there as elsewhere the convention is not used for minor figures shown engaged in some activity, such as the captives and corpses. Other conventions make statues of males darker than females ones. Very conventionalism portrait statues appear from as early as Dynasty II, before 2,780 BCC, and with the exception of the art of the Marin period of Keenan, and some other periods such as Dynasty XII, the idealized features of rulers, like other Egyptian artistic conventions, changed little until after the Greek conquest.
Egyptian pharaohs were always regarded as gods, but other deities are much less common in large statues, except when they represent the pharaoh as another deity; however the other deities are frequently shown in paintings and relief. The famous row of four colossal statues outside the main temple at ABA Simmer each show Renames II, a typical scheme, though here exceptionally large. Small figures of deities, or their animal personifications, are very common, and found in popular materials such as pottery.
Most larger sculpture survives from Egyptian temples or tombs; by Dynasty IV (2680-2565 BCC) at the latest the idea of the Aka statue was army established. These were put in tombs as a resting place for the aka portion of the soul, and so we have a good number of less conventionalism statues of well-off administrators and their wives, many in wood as Egypt is one of the few places in the world where the climate allows wood to survive over millennia. The so-called reserve heads, plain hairless heads, are especially naturalistic.
Early tombs also contained small models of the slaves, animals, buildings and objects such as boats necessary for the deceased to continue his lifestyle in the afterworld, and later Shabby figures. Facsimile of the Meaner Palette, c. 3100 BC, which already shows the canonical Egyptian profile view and proportions of the figure. Manure (Mysterious) and queen, Old Kingdom, Dynasty 4, 2490 – 2472 BC. The formality of the pose is reduced by the queen’s arm round her husband.
Wooden tomb models, Dynasty X’; a high administrator counts his cattle. The Gold Mask of Tutankhamen, c. Leatherette dynasty, Egyptian Museum The Younger Anemone c. 1250 BC, British Museum Souris on a lapis lazuli pillar in the middle, flanked by Hours on the left, Andalusia on the right, 22nd dynasty, Louvre The aka statue provided a physical place for the aka to manifest. Egyptian Museum, Cairo Block statue of Pa-Ankh-Ra, ship master, bearing a statue of Path. Late Period, ca. 650-633 SC, cabinet des M©dailies.
Ancient Greece The first distinctive style of Ancient Greek sculpture developed in the Early Bronze Age Cycladic period (3rd millennium BCC), where marble figures, usually female and small, are represented in an elegantly simplified geometrical style. Most typical is a standing pose with arms crossed in front, but other figures are shown in different poses, including a complicated figure of a harpist seated on a chair. The subsequent Minoan and Mycenaean cultures developed sculpture further, under influence from Syria and elsewhere, but it is in the later Archaic period from around 650 BCC that the sours developed.
These are large standing statues of naked youths, found in temples and tombs, with the Koreans the clothed female equivalent, with elaborately dressed hair; both have the “archaic smile”. They seem to have served a number of functions, perhaps sometimes representing deities and sometimes the person buried in a grave, as with the Scissors Sours. They are clearly influenced by Egyptian and Syrian styles, but the Greek artists were much more ready to experiment within the style.
During the 6th century Greek sculpture developed rapidly, becoming more naturalistic, and with much more active and varied figure poses in narrative scenes, though still within idealized conventions. Sculptured pediments were added to temples, including the Parthenon in Athens, where the remains of the pediment of around 520 using figures in the round were fortunately used as infill for new buildings after the Persian sack in 480 BCC, and recovered from the sass on in fresh unwatched condition.
Other significant remains of architectural sculpture come from Pesetas in Italy, Corp.,Delphi and the Temple of Papaya in Ageing (much now in Munich). Cycladic statue 2800-2300 BC. Parlay marble; 1,5 m high (largest known example of Cycladic sculpture. From Amorous Cycladic statue 2700-2300 BC. Head from the figure of a woman, H. 27 CM (10 h in. ) Cycladic Female Figurine, c. 2500-2400 BCC, 41. 5 CM (16. 3 it-I) high Mycenae, Female portrait, perhaps a sphinx or a goddess. Painted plaster, ca. 1300-1250 BC Mycenae, 1600-1500 BC.
Silver rhythm with gold horns and rosette on the forehead Bull’s head, Mycenaean rhythm Terra cotta, 1300-1200 BC. Found in a tomb marathons, British Museum Monsoon vase, 670 BC, Decorated photodiodes at Monsoon, Greece, depicting one of the earliest known renditions of Trojan Horse, Archaeological Museum of Monsoon Lifeless sours, c. 590-580 BCC,Metropolitan Museum of Art The “Angina Sphinx” from Delphi, 570-560 BC, the figure 222 CM (87. 4 in) high Peoples Core, c. 530 BC, Athens, Acropolis Museum Late Archaic warrior from the east pediment of the Temple of Papaya, c. 00 The Mathis sarcophagus, formulators, Cyprus, 2nd quarter of the 5th century BC Archaic period, Metropolitan Museum of Art Classical We have fewer original remains from the first phase of the Classical period, often called the Severe style; free-standing statues were now mostly made in bronze, which always had value as scrap. The Severe style lasted from around 500 in relief, and soon after 480 in statues, to about 450. The relatively rigid poses of figures relaxed, and asymmetrical turning positions and oblique views became common, and deliberately sought.
This was combined with a better understanding of anatomy and the harmonious structure of sculpted figures, and the pursuit of naturalistic presentation as an aim, which had not been present before. Excavations at the Temple of Zeus, Olympia since 1829 have revealed the largest group of remains, from about 460, of which many are in the Louvre. The “High Classical” period lasted only a few decades from about 450 to 400, but has had a momentous influence on art, and retains a special prestige, despite a very restricted number of original survivals.
The best known works are the Parthenon Marbles, traditionally (since Plutarch) executed by a team led by the most famous Ancient Greek sculptor Aphid’s, active from about 465-425, who was in his own day ore famous for his colossal Christianizes Statue of Zeus at Olympia (c 432), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, his Athena Parthenon (438), the cult image of the Parthenon, and Athena Approaches, a colossal bronze figure that stood next to the Parthenon; all of these are lost but are known from many representations.
He is also credited as the creator of some life-size bronze statues known only from later copies whose identification is controversial, including the Lidos Hermes. The High Classical style continued to develop realism and sophistication in the unman figure, and improved the depiction of drapery (clothes), using it to add to the impact of active poses. Facial expressions were usually very restrained, even in combat scenes. The composition of groups of figures in relief and on pediments combined complexity and harmony in a way that had a permanent influence on Western art.
Relief could be very high indeed, as in the Parthenon illustration below, where most of the leg of the warrior is completely detached from the background, as were the missing parts; relief this high made sculptures more subject to damage. The Late Classical style developed the free-standing female nude statue, supposedly an innovation of Parallaxes, and developed increasingly complex and subtle poses that were interesting when viewed from an number of angles, as well as more expressive faces; both trends were to be taken much further in the Hellenic period. High Classical high relief from the Elgin Marbles, which originally decorated the Parthenon, c. 447-433 BCC) Hellenic The Hellenic period is conventionally dated from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC, and ending either with the final conquest of the Greek heartlands y Rome in 146 BC or with the final defeat of the last remaining successor-state to Alexander empire after the Battle of Actinium in 31 BC, which also marks the end of Republican Rome. 42] It is thus much longer than the previous periods, and includes at least two major phases: a “Programmer” style of experimentation, exuberance and some sentimentality and vulgarity, and in the 2nd century BC a classifying return to a more austere simplicity and elegance; beyond such generalizations dating is typically very uncertain, especially when only later copies are known, as is usually the case.
The initial Programmer style was not especially associated with Bergamot, from which it takes its name, but the very wealthy kings of that state were among the first to collect and also copy Classical sculpture, and also commissioned much new work, including the pomegranate Altar whose sculpture is now mostly in Berlin and which exemplifies the new style, as do the Mausoleum at Hallucinations (another of the Seven Wonders), the famous Loco¶n and his Sons in the Vatican Museums, a late example, and the bronze original of The Dying Gaul (illustrated at top), which we know was part of a group actually commissioned or Bergamot in about 228 BC, from which the Lidos Gaul was also a copy. The group called the Fairness Bull, possibly a 2nd-century marble original, is still larger and more complex, Hellenic sculpture greatly expanded the range of subjects represented, partly as a result of greater general prosperity, and the emergence of a very wealthy class who had large houses decorated with sculpture, although we know that some examples of subjects that seem best suited to the home, such as children with animals, were in fact placed in temples or other public places.
For a much more popular home execration market there were Tanager figurines, and those from other centers where small pottery figures were produced on an industrial scale, some religious but others showing animals and elegantly dressed ladies. Sculptors became more technically skilled in representing facial expressions conveying a wide variety of emotions and the portraiture of individuals, as well representing different ages and races. The relief from the Mausoleum are rather atypical in that respect; most work was free- standing, and group compositions with several figures to be seen in the round, like he Lagoon and the Bergamot group celebrating victory over the Galls became popular, having been rare before.
Debarring Faun, showing a satyr sprawled asleep, presumably after drink, is an example of the moral relaxation of the period, and the readiness to create large and expensive sculptures of subjects that fall short of the heroic.  After the conquests of Alexander Hellenic culture was dominant in the courts of most of the Near East, and some of Central Asia, and increasingly being adopted by European elites, especially in Italy, where Greek colonies initially controlled most of he South. Hellenic art, and artists, spread very widely, and was especially influential in the expanding Roman Republic and when it encountered Buddhism in the easternmost extensions of the Hellenic area.
The massive so-called Alexander Sarcophagus found in Sided in modern Lebanon, was probably made there at the start of the period by expatriate Greek artists for a Hellenized Persian governor.  The wealth of the period led to a greatly increased production of luxury forms of small sculpture, including engraved gems and cameos, Jewelry, and gold and silverware. The Programmer style of the Hellenic period, from topographer Altar, early 2nd century. ) The Rice Bronzes, very rare bronze figures recovered from the sea, c. 460-430 Hermes and the Infant Dionysus, possibly an original by Parallaxes, 4th century Two elegant ladies, pottery figurines, 350-300 Bronze Statuette of a Horse, late 2nd – 1st century B. C. Metropolitan Museum of Art The Winged Victory of Commemorates, c. 90 BC, Louvre Venus De Mill, c. 130 – 100 BC, Greek, the Louvre Loco¶n and his Sons, Greek, (Literalistic), circa 160 BC and 20 BC,White marble, Vatican Museum Loaches, Apollo Belvedere, c. 30 – 140 AD. Roman copy after a Greek bronze original of 330-320 BC. Vatican Museums Europe after the Greeks Roman Sculpture Early Roman art was influenced by the art of Greece and that of the neighboring Etruscan, themselves greatly influenced by their Greek trading partners. An Etruscan specialist was near life size tomb effigies in terracotta, usually lying on top of a sarcophagus lid propped up on one elbow in the pose of a diner in that period.
As the expanding Roman Republic began to conquer Greek territory, at first in Southern Italy and then the entire Hellenic world except for the Parthian far sat, official and patrician sculpture became largely an extension of the Hellenic style, from which specifically Roman elements are hard to disentangle, especially as so much Greek sculpture survives only in copies of the Roman period. By the 2nd century BCC, “most of the sculptors working at Rome” were Greek, often enslaved in conquests such as that of Corinth (146 BCC), and sculptors continued to be mostly Greeks, often slaves, whose names are very rarely recorded. Vast numbers of Greek statues were imported to Rome, whether as booty or the result of extortion or amerce, and temples were often decorated with re-used Greek works. A native Italian style can be seen in the tomb monuments, which very often featured portrait busts, of prosperous middle-class Romans, and portraiture is arguably the main strength of Roman sculpture.
There are no survivals from the tradition of masks of ancestors that were worn in processions at the funerals of the great families and otherwise displayed in the home, but many of the busts that survive must represent ancestral figures, perhaps from the large family tombs like the Tomb of the Copies or he later mausoleum outside the city. The famous bronze head supposedly of Luscious Genius Brutes is very variously dated, but taken as a very rare survival of Italic style under the Republic, in the preferred medium of bronze. Similarly stern and forceful heads are seen on coins of the Late Republic, and in the Imperial period coins as well as busts sent around the Empire to be placed in the basilicas of provincial cities were the main visual form of imperial propaganda; even Luminous had a near-colossal statue of Nero, though far smaller than the 30 meter high Colossus of Nero in Rome, owe lost.
The Romans did not generally attempt to compete with free-standing Greek works of heroic exploits from history or mythology, but from early on produced historical works in relief, culminating in the great Roman triumphal columns with continuous narrative relief winding around them, of which those commemorating Trojan (CE 113) and Marcus Aurelia’s (by 193) survive in Rome, where the Era Pace’s (“Altar of Peace”, 13 BCC) represents the official Greece-Roman style at its most classical and refined. Among other major examples are the earlier re-used relief on the Arch of Constantine and the base of the Column of Notations Pious (161), Company relief were cheaper pottery versions of marble relief and the taste for relief was from the imperial period expanded to the sarcophagus.
All forms of luxury small sculpture continued to be patronized, and quality could be extremely high, as in the silver Warren Cup, glass Ulcerous Cup, and large cameos like the Gamma August, Kananga Cameo and the “France”. For a much wider section of the population, McCollum relief decoration of pottery vessels and small figurines were produced in great quantity and often considerable quality. Section of Tartan’s Column, CE 1 13, with scenes from the Disdain Wars) (Augustan state Greece-Roman style on the Era Pace’s, 13 BCC) After moving through a late 2nd-century “baroque” phase, in the 3rd century, Roman art largely abandoned, or simply became unable to produce, sculpture in the classical tradition, a change whose causes remain much discussed.
Even the most important imperial monuments now showed stumpy, large-eyed figures in a harsh frontal style, in simple compositions emphasizing power at the expense of grace. The contrast is famously illustrated in the Arch of Constantine of 31 5 in Rome, which imbibes sections in the new style with roundels in the earlier full Greece-Roman style taken from elsewhere, and the Four Tetrarch (c. 305) from the new capital of Constantinople, now in Venice. Ernst Kittening found in both monuments the same “stubby proportions, angular movements, an ordering of parts through symmetry and repetition and a rendering of features and drapery folds through incisions rather than modeling…
The hallmark of the style wherever it appears consists of an emphatic hardness, heaviness and angularity ? in short, an almost complete rejection of the classical tradition”. This revolution in style shortly preceded the period in which Christianity was adopted by the Roman state and the great majority of the people, leading to the end of large religious sculpture, with large statues now only used for emperors. However rich Christians continued to commission relief for sarcophagi, as in the Sarcophagus of Genius Abacus, and very small sculpture, especially in ivory, was continued by Christians, building on the style of the consular diptych. Etruscan sarcophagus, 3rd century BCC The “Capitalize Brutes”, dated to the 3rd or 1st century BCC Augustus of Prima Portal, statue of the emperor Augustus, 1st century CE.
Vatican Museums Tomb relief of the Deck”, 98-117 CE Bust of Emperor Claudia, c. 50 CE, (reworked from a bust of mineralogical), It was found in the so-called Tripoli basilica in Aluminum, Italy, Vatican Museums Commodes dressed as Hercules, c. 191 CE, in the late imperial “baroque” style The Four Tetrarch, c. 305, showing the new anti-classical style, in porphyry, owns Marco, Venice The cameo gem known as the “Great Cameo of France”, c. 23 CE, with analogy of Augustus and his family Early Medieval and Byzantine The Early Christians were opposed to monumental religious sculpture, though continuing Roman traditions in portrait busts and sarcophagus relief, as well as smaller objects such as the consular diptych.