Ancient Aegean Art

1. Explain how prehistoric Minoan and Mycenaean art and architecture may reveal contact with ancient civilizations from Egypt and the Near East. Think of both the influences of form, how things look as well as content, the meaning and uses. Compare and contrast the Egyptian styles of wall painting with Minoan wall paintings both in terms of form and content.

2.Compare and contrast Minoan and Mycenaean art (not architecture.) Despite exhibiting the influence of Minoan art, why did Mycenaean art and architecture develop along different lines (Example: Minoan Havester Vase v. Mycenaean Warrior Vase & Bull Jumper v. Inlaid Dagger)

3.The name for the culture on Crete stems largely from the false assumption that Sir Arthur Evans had found the legendary Palace of King Minos and his labrynth. Our world view is patriarchal in the sense that we assume cultures with a palace and a high degree of civilization must be ruled by a King with the exceptions proving the rule, rather than breaking it. Recent scholarship points to Crete as a civilization that was goddess centered and matriarchal. If we accept this interpretation, it conflates many long held beliefs about Crete, Minoan Culture, and our own culture and its potential evolution. Evaluate the evidence in images of women from cycladic and Minoan society to discuss this issue.

4.Both Heinrich Schlieman and Sir Arthur Evans projected their fantasies of bringing the ancient mythological Greek world into historical reality. fulfilling this fantasy was their obsession. The upside is that they introduced great attention to archaeology, yet both did not find what they thought they had. This has affected the names of objects, monuments, and the entire culture in the case of Minoan. Should we keep these names? or should we look for more historically accurate and appropriate names to supplant them with. when you answer, list specific examples like the Treasure of Atreus. Are there examples you can think of that have taken place in the last 50 years?

5.Compare and contrast the Palace at Knossos and the Citadel of Tyrns. Discuss how geography affected artistic and contrast the materials, techniques, and appearance of Minoan and Mycenaean architecture. Think about the differing ornamental strategies in Minoan and Mycenaean architecture and the role of animals in Minoan and Mycenaean art.

6.The text lists specific hypothesis for the decline of the Minoan civilization. It is a topic that has fascinated scholars of the ancient world. Do a bit of research and briefly summarize all the theories for Minoan decline and defend one as the most plausible.

7.Is Egyptian art similar stylistically to any Mesopotamian culture from that time? Which culture and how are they similar or different in style and cultural context? Compare and contrast the formal and iconographic characteristics of Ti Hunting Hippopotamus and Ashurbanipal Hunting Lions. Identify formal and iconographic characteristics ancient Egyptian art shares with prehistoric Near Eastern images

8.Many of the examples of Egyptian art seen in this chapter belong to North American and European museums, since foreign archeologists made many of the early discoveries. Travelling shows of Egyptian art are very popular and are potentially huge revenue producers. While today removing a country’s cultural patrimony is illegal, this was not the case in the past. Should these works now be returned to Egypt?

9.You have been asked why scholars use the word “conservative” to describe ancient Egyptian pictorial arts. How do you answer the question? Describe the Egyptian canon of proportion and how it was applied. Make sure to discuss the significance of the Amarna Period and explain its formal and iconographic characteristics.Why does a change in religion bring about a change in art in ancient Egypt? We have seen that the style and iconography of Egyptian art changed with the introduction of a new religious system. Do you think that Akhenaton’s religious and artistic “revolution” was brave or foolhardy? Explain your position.

10.There are many conventions within Egyptian imagery that go against our own iconography. One example is the stylization and formalization of royal portraiture while making those lower on the social hierarchy more naturalistic, and presumably a closer approximation to how they might have actually looked. Some art historians have also argued that Egyptian culture was far more matricentric then once thought. They look to the importance of Hathor, the mother goddess within Egyptian culture and in examples like Double Portrait in FIGURE 3-13 as evidence. In this image we see the woman holding the man in complete reversal of how our own images of male and female coupling are depicted. the argument has been made that although the Pharaoh had absolute power, that power came from his marriage to the woman and the female line of power. If true, it shows how we privilege our current world view and transpose it to the past. Discuss these and other ways in which our interpretation and view of Egyptian art might be determined by our own cultural prerogatives.

11.Watch the video below prior to answering the question. (Links to an external site.)

Ancient Egyptian culture provides us with immense subject matter for fantasy and entertainment. Why do you think it holds sway over our culture in ways that other civilizations do not? Is it because it is more foreign and strange than Greek and Roman culture, therefore the mystery surrounding it making it more curious and allowing our imaginations to run abound? Or is it that the monuments and artworks are so monumental?

We live in an age of incredible technological advances, with towers of glass and steel that spring to the heavens and the construction of a space station in earth’s orbit. Does it put our advances in perspective when we wonder how an ancient civilization like that in Egypt was able to construct monuments of such size with such geometric accuracy without modern machinery, mathematics or instruments? Is there an iconic structure that will represent our civilization in 4000 years

12.Although Pyramids are a distinct symbol of Egypt, large-scale pyramidal construction is limited to a relatively short period in the Old Kingdom of Egyptian history. What would be some reasons for the modification of pyramid scale and institution of rock-cut tombs as seen at Beni Hasan. Evaluate the effectiveness of later architecture in communicating Egyptian and Pharonic power.

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