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Art History Mid Term Essay

1800 words - 8 pages

Comparison 1
The image on the left is of ‘The Parthenon, Acropolis’, a Pantelic marble structure, dating between 447 and 432 BCE, Ancient Greece. The original building on the site was built as an offering in honor of the Greek goddess Athena built in 490 BCE but destroyed in the Persian invasion of 480BCE. However in 447 BCE, Perikles commissioned a much grander and larger temple to be built over the existing foundation. The image to the right is of the ‘Hagia Sophia’, dated between 532-537, Byzantine Period. In a similar way to the Parthenon the Hagia Sophia was built ...view middle of the document...

On the other hand, the Hagia Sophia’s base has a rectangular shape with a square vast nave that is covered by an enormous central dome carried on four pendentives.
The interior of both the structures are also contrasting. Since all temples in Greece were designed to be seen only from the outside, the viewers never actually entered the temple and could only glimpse the interior statues through open doors. The Parthenon was created in a way that there is a aesthetic transition between the exterior and the interior that housed the goddess Athena.
On the contrary, the Hagia Sophia’s interior was meant for display and was hence elaborately decorated. The interior of Hagia Sophia was paneled with costly colored marbles, ornamental stone inlays and mosaics. Many of the original artwork was unfortunately destroyed during the iconoclastic controversy.

Comparison 2

The image to the left is the ‘Funerary Mask of Tutankhamun’, which dates back to the Eighteenth Dynasty, Ancient Egypt. The image to the right is ‘Augustus of Primaporta’, dating back to Early 1st century CE, Rome. Both the pieces are depictions of incredibly important and powerful rulers; though from very far spread time periods. The mask of Tutankhamun is made of solid gold and inlaid with semiprecious stones, the use of these expensive materials shows the rulers holy status and suggests that he was an eminent figure at the time. Augustus of Primaporta is a larger-than-life sized marble statue, portraying Augustus as a handsome athletic figure in a commanding posture, displayed in military attire with his chest plate depicting his victories in battle, representing his authority at the time.
The purposes of each of the pieces are entirely different. The mask of Tutankhamun was placed over the face of the mummy of the pharaoh to ensure that his spirit would be able to recognize the body in his afterlife. On the other hand, Augustus of Primaporta is a sculpture that was meant for public display and as a constant reminder of his power. Even though both of these artworks were created for different purposes, they were both rendered to be portraits that are recognizable and share an actual likeness to the features of the faces of the people themselves.
Another similarity between the two pieces of art is the connection to divinity. The mask of Tutankhamun is made of gold, referred to by Egyptians as the ‘flesh of the gods’, shining like the sun god, Ra. Also, on the top of Tutankhamun’s headdress are the symbols of the cobra snake (uraeus) and the vulture, which are emblems for the deities, Wadjet and Nekhbet, serving to protect the pharaoh from all evil. Similarly, Augustus is portrayed with bare feet that subtly allude to his alleged connection to the gods, as only gods or heroes were ever...

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