Art Appreciation Unit One


Symbolic object that identifies a particular deity, saint, or personification in art. Can be exaggerated through wide hips, big breasts, and a bulging belly (Woman from Willendorf).


-wares made of baked clay
-display a high degree of technical skill and imagination.

Megalithic Architecture

-Massive tombs & ceremonial structures built from large stones in the Neolithic period.
-Many megalithic structures are associated with death & preserved in Europe where they're used for burials.


A large painting or decoration, created either directly on a wall, or created separately and affixed to the wall.


-Simplest method for spanning space
-An architectural system of construction with two or more vertical elements (posts) supporting a horizontal element (lintel)

Relief Sculpture

-A sculpted image or design whose flat background surface is carved away to a certain depth, setting off the figure(s).
-Called sunken relief when the image is modeled below the original surface of the background, which is not cut away.


-In painting, it's the process of creating the illusion of 3D on a 2D surface by the use of light and shade.
-In sculpture, it's the process of molding a 3D form out of malleable substance.

High & Low Relief

-Called high or low relief depending upon the extent of projection of the image from the background.
-High extends well forward from the background.

Sculpture in the Round

-3D sculpture that is carved free of any background or block.
-Small figurines of people/animals.

Cylinder Seal

-A small cylindrical stone decorated with incised patterns.
-When rolled across soft clay or way, the resulting raised pattern or design (relief) served as an identifying signature.


A traditional way of representing forms.

Hieratic Scale

-The use of different sizes for significant or holy figures and those of the everyday world to indicate relative importance.
-Larger figure=more important.


-A highly stylized and simplified depiction serving as a symbol for a person or object.
-Simple pictures drawn in wet clay to represent a concept.


-A device used in systems of spatial definition.
-A visual, condensed narrative organized into horizontal bands.
-In painting, a register indicates the use of differing ground lines to differentiate layers of space within an image.
-In sculpture, the plac


A professional who wrote texts or maintained written records.


-An upright stone slab articulated with inscriptions or reliefs.
-Used as a grave marker or commemorative moment.
-Symbol that communicated the and celebrated the political satisfaction that gave order and security to their world.

Votive Figure

An image created as a devotional offering to a god or other deity.


-In Mesopotamia, a tall stepped pyramidal structure of earthen materials, with a temple or shrine on top.
-Sumerians' most imposing buildings.
-Proclaimed the wealth, prestige, and stability of a city's rulers and glorified their gods.


Established rules or standards.


-The sculpted block that tops a column.
-According to the conventions of the classical orders, capitals include specific decorative elements.
-A historical capital displays human figures or narrative scenes.


A row of columns, supporting a straight lintel or a series of arches.


-Top story window openings.
-The topmost zone of a wall with windows in a basilica, extending above the aisle roofs.
-Provides direct light into the central interior space.


-A painting medium using pigment suspended in hot wax.

Great Pyramids

-Architectural form most closely identified with Egypt
-Three great pyramids at Giza
-Oldest and largest Great Pyramid is Khufu


A flat-topped, one-story building with slanted walls over an ancient Egyptian underground burial tomb.


A large cemetery or burial area, literally "city of the dead.


In ancient Egypt, a flat stone with a circular depression carved on one side, used to grind and prepare makeup that was applied around the eyes to reduce the glare of the sun.


An ancient Greek jar for storing oil or wine, with an egg-shaped body and two curved handles.


A term used by the ancient Greeks and Romans to label all foreigners outside their cultural orbit.

Canon of Proportions

A set of ideal mathematical ratios in art based on measurements, as in the proportional relationships among the basic elements of the human body.


The Classical convention of representing standing human form with opposing alternations of tension and relaxation on each side of a central axis.

Corbeled Vault

-A stone ceiling built up in regular courses (layers) of dressed stone in overlapping and ever-decreasing rings carefully calculated to meet at the peak in a single capstone.
-Interior of the Tholos Tomb.

Cyclopean Masonry

-A method of building utilizing huge blocks of rough-hewn stone.
-Any large scale, monumental building project that impresses by sheer size.
-Named after one-eyed giants of legendary strength from Greek myth.



Dressed Stone

-Highly finished, precisely cut blocks of stone laid in even courses (layers), creating a uniform face with fine joints.
-Often used as a facing on the visible exterior of a building.
-AKA ashlar


-Styles in which aspects of a work of art are exaggerated to evoke subjective responses rather than to portray objective reality or seek a rational response.


-The illusion created on a flat surface in which figures and objects appear to recede or project sharply into space.
-Accomplished according to the rules of perspective.


-A painting technique in which water-based pigments are applied to a surface of wet plaster and are absorbed into it, becoming part of the wall itself.


A technique for decorating gold in which tiny balls of the precious metal are fused to the main surface in a pattern.

Mosaic and Tesserae

Images formed by tesserae (small colored stone or glass pieces) and affixed to a hard, stable surface.

Relieving Arch

-Lion Gate
-An arch built into a heavy wall just above a post-and-lintel structure to help support the wall above, relieving some of the weight on the lintel by transferring the load to the side walls.
-Spanned the open space with layers of stone, each la

Tholos Tombs

Circular, vaulted structure used as a burial place in Mycenaean culture.


X= number of columns running the length of the temple
Y= number of columns running the width of the temple
*ensures that the temples would be consistently proportioned


-A trough to carry flowing water supported, if necessary, by arches.
-Pont Du Gard.


-A series of arches, carried by columns or piers and supporting a common wall or lintel.
-Pont Du Gard consists of a stack of three arcades.


-A large rectangular building with an expansive interior space.
-Often built with a clerestory, side aisles separated from the center nave by colonnades and an apse at one or both ends.
-Roman centers for administration, courts of law, schools, army drill


-The central aisle of a basilica, two or three stories high, flanked by aisles, and defined by the nave arcade or nave colonnade.


Passage or open corridor of a church, hall, or other building that parallels the main space, usually on both sides, and is delineated by a row or arcade, of columns or piers.


-A large semicircular or polygonal niche protruding from the end wall of a building.
-Rounded extensions.


An architectural support of projecting masonry built against an exterior wall to brace the wall and counter the thrust of the vaults.


-A building material developed by the ancient Romans, made primarily from lime, sand, cement, and rubble mixed with water.
-Concrete is easily poured or molded when wet and hardens into a particularly strong and durable stone-like substance.

Engaged Columns

Columns that are attached to the wall.


-A Roman town center; site of temples and administrative buildings and used as a market or public gathering area.
-Large open square or oblong space generally surrounded by colonnades leading to a temple.


A process in art through which artists strive to make their forms and figures attain perfection, based on pervading cultural values and/or their own personal ideals.


Any building (or part thereof) constructed in a circular (sometimes polygonal) shape, usually producing a large open space crowned by a dome.


-A circular opening.
-Usually found on windows or at the apex of a dome.


A recessed decorative panel that is used to reduce the weight of and to decorate ceilings or vaults.


-A rectangular stone coffin.
-Often decorated with relief sculpture.
-Typically reflected domestic life.

Triumphal Arch

A freestanding, massive stone gateway with a large central arch built as urban ornament and to celebrate military victories

Tuscan order

A Roman variation of Doric characterized by a smooth-surface column shaft with a simplified base, a plain architrave, and an undecorated frieze.


An arched masonry structure that spans an interior space.

Groin Vault

Created by the intersection of two barrel vaults of equal size which creates 4 side compartments of identical size and shape.


-A style in which artists concern themselves with describing the exterior likeness of an object or person, usually by rendering its visible details in a finely executed, meticulous manner.
-Faithful reproduction of the immediate visual and tactile appeara

Cycladic (Bronze Age)

-Painted marble figures with triangular/ geometric modeling
-Cycle around the islands
-Prehistoric people
-No written language to explain their art
-Rocky, uneven terrain
o Good for growing grapes and making wine
o Bad for other crops


-Created art for the living.
-Fresco painting
-Skin coloration based on gender (darker=male)
-Impossibly tiny, pinched waists-- curving and dynamic movement
-High degree of animation
-Vase painting and sculpture also popular


-Heavy masonry and fortifications
-Lots of gold
-Wealthy and warlike culture
-Masters of corbel vaulting (tholos tombs)

Archaic Greek

-Human figure develops more quickly, men depicted nude while women depicted clothed
-Archaic preference for dramatic action
-"Archaic smile"
-Temples no longer constructed out of mud and brick, begin to be constructed out of limestone and

Ch. 5 Firsts

-During the Early Classical age, the Greeks were the first to correctly apply contrapposto to the human body.
-The Mycenaean "Treasury of Atreus" largest dome ever built until the Romans build Pantheon approximately 1,500 years later.

Ch. 3 Firsts

-Earliest representation of a narrative in art (Palette of Narmer)
-Earliest recorded name of an artist or architect (Imhotep, who designed mortuary complex for King Djoser)
-Earliest recorded name of a female monarch (Hatshepsut)
-Earliest recorded use o

Ch. 2 Firsts

-Sumerians (35-39): city-state, writing (pictograph and later cuneiform), earliest recorded literature (Epic of Gilgamesh), wheel, plow, metal casting, monocropping irrigation, specialized labor force.
-Akkadians (32-33, 39): First rulers to call themselv

Ch. 1 Firsts

-Paleolithic: earliest art we study.
-Neolithic: permanent architecture, agriculture and stock raising, counting and recording (with clay tokens), landscape painting (�atalh�y�k), weaving, metalworking.

What common motifs are found in the cave paintings of France and northern Spain? Summarize current theories about their meanings.

-In the early 20th century, scholars believed art had a social function & proposed that cave paintings might be associated with prehistoric ceremonies performed to strengthen clan bonds or to enhance the fertility of animals used for food. Caves were used

What do we learn about the life of Neolithic humans from the remains of their habitations in �atalh�y�k?

The oldest part of the site - home to as many as 3000 people at one time�consists of many densely clustered houses made of mud bricks and mortar. It is also known that village residents were buried under house floors. Extraordinary art decorated their int

Evaluate the way the human figure is represented in Paleolithic and Neolithic figures. Using specific examples, suggest reasons for the differences.

-Most carved human figures from the upper Paleolithic period represent women and the most famous is the WOMAN FROM WILLENDORF which has exaggerated female attributes: pendulous breasts, bulging belly, deep navel, wide hips & thighs. These attributes repre

Discuss current theories on the purpose and the use of Stonehenge.

In the past, theories about Stonehenge varied: (1) the legendary magician of King Arthur (Merlin) built it, (2) it's associated with the rituals of celtic druids, (3) it was an observatory to track cosmic events or a calendar for regulating agricultural s


Earliest art we study.


Permanent architecture, agriculture and stock raising, counting and recording (with clay tokens), landscape painting (�atalh�y�k), weaving, metalworking.

Discuss how precious materials are used in the Lyre with the bull's head from Ur. How do the stories recalled by the scenes on the lyre relate to the culture that produced it?

Sumerians combined wood, gold, lapis lazuli, and shell when creating the lyre. The detail of the sound box illustrates a narrative through a register and visualizes a vital oral tradition. The upper and lower scenes recall the epic of Gilgamesh. On anothe

What are the distinctive features of the Sumerian ziggurat? What led to its development?

In Mesopotamia, a tall stepped pyramidal structure of earthen materials, with a temple or shrine on top. Sumerians' most imposing buildings. Proclaimed the wealth, prestige, and stability of a city's rulers and glorified their gods. Functioned as loft bri


City-state, writing (pictograph and later cuneiform), earliest recorded literature (Epic of Gilgamesh), wheel, plow, metal casting, monocropping irrigation, specialized labor force.


First rulers to call themselves kings of the world and assume divine attributes (eg. Stele of Naram-Sin), earliest recorded name of an author.


First comprehensive law code (Stele of Hammurabi).

Discuss the conventions for representing the human figure in ancient Egypt, using the Palette of Narmer as an example.

Most of what we know about about the ancient art of consolidated Egypt is rooted in religious beliefs and practices. In Egypt, stability and continuity were valued more than innovation and change. Hieratic scale signifies the importance of Narmer and he i

Explain how depictions of royalty differ from those of ordinary people in ancient Egyptian art, citing one specific example of each.

-Less prominent people were usually depicted in a more relaxed, lifelike fashion as seein in a statue of a SEATED SCRIBE�they had a round head, engaging, individualized face, and cap of close-cropped hair.
-KHAFRE is an over-life-size statue representing

Compare the subject, style, and technique of the reliefs from the tomb of Ramose in fig. 3-18 and the time of Akhenaton in fig. 3-19.

-Ramose was second only to the pharaoh himself in power and prestige. He had elaborate plans for a tomb (walls covered with paintings of accomplishments, lineage, funeral rites) but it was abandoned in various stages of completion. All of Ramose's family

Summarize the religious beliefs of ancient Egypt with regard to the afterlife, and explain how these beliefs inspired specific traditions in architecture.

Egyptian funerary practices revolved around Osiris (a fertility and vegetation god who presided over the dead and the underworld) his resurrection, and a belief in the continuity of life after death for the righteous. The dead were thought to undergo a la

Choose one work from the ancient Aegean and explain how archaeologists and art historians have used it to understand the history and values of the culture that produced it.

Amphora: was created to be more than the all-purpose storage jar. Depicted a narrative episode of the Trojan War, which was one of the signal stories of the ancient Greeks' mythical conception of their past. Through this piece of art, the ancient Greeks d

Compare the approach to representing the male nude in the Anavysos Kouros (fig. 5-20) and the "Kritios" Boy (fig. 5-22) what changes over time, and what remains constant?

-Anavysos Kouros exemplifies the Archaic Greek ideal. Carefully rendering anatomy and bulging masculinity enhance the sense of lifelike power and presence. The mouth forms a characteristic closed expression�archaic smile is used to enliven the expressiven

Define the term "High Classicism," discussing one building and one work of sculpture that exemplify it. What are the value judgments that underlie this art-historical category?

-Art historians considered this period a pinnacle of artistic refinement, producing works that set a standard of unsurpassed excellence. Referred to as Greece's "Golden Age"
-Parthenon: was meant to dominate the other structures on the hilltop site. The b

How do hellenistic sculptures depart from classical norms?

Hellenistic artists shifted focus to the individual and the specific. They turned from the heroic to the everyday, from aloof serenity to individual emotion. Their works appeal to the senses and to our hearts and intellects. Hellenistic sculptors produced