Art Movements

Prehistoric Art

Paleolithic Period

2,000,000 BCE - 10,000 BCE

Old Stone Age
Homo Sapiens Sapiens- Survival depended on being in a group
Hunting Magic
Includes cave paintings and small sculptures of stone, clay, bone and ivory.

Venus of Wllendorf

28000 BCE - 24000 BCE

Held in your hand to increase fertility
Womanhood in general
Exaggerated female sex organs.

The Hall of the Running Bulls

28,000 BCE - 10,000 BCE

Lascaux Caves, France
Subject- Animal who would have been hunted for food: wild cows, bulls, bison, reindeer, horses.
Materials- Mineral, vegetable, and animal pigments; chalk; and charcoal.
Application- Brushes by horse hair, hand, moss
Function- Thought that caves and underbellies of the Earth meant it was a magical and mysterious place. Found that in some caves there were traces of food and hand prints which suggests a gathering around these images.

The Chinese Horse

20,000 BCE

Lascaux Cave, France
Superficial similarity to a drawn Chinese horse.
Appears pregnant- fertility

Neolithic Period

8000 BCE - 2000 BCE

New stone age
Transition to agriculture and town/city life increased complexity of human experience leads to development of writing and large scale architecture.
Occurs first in the ancient Near East (Mesopotamia and Persia)
Art still strongly associated with ceremony, ritual, and magic.


3000 BCE - 2000 BCE

Menhir- upright standing stone in the landscape
Function- Sometimes people elected stones to commemorate ancestors and chieftains. Part of a fertility ritual or ceremony- stones are phallic objects that penetrate the Earth.


2000 BCE

Henge- Upright stones with crossbeams in a circle.
Overtime has different usages.
Functions- often times called an astronomical marker/calendar. Sacred burial ground. Healing center.
Ring ditch- marks of sacred space.
Outer ring- sarsen stones
Ring of bluestones-
Horseshoe arrangement of sarsen.
Horseshoe arrangement of bluestones.

Ancient Near East - Mesopotamia

Art in the service of kingship
Writing first came about for financial accounting

Sumerian Period

3500 BCE - 2200 BCE

Akkadian Period

2200 BCE - 2000 BCE

Even more art that is supposed to celebrate kingship

Ziggurat at Ur

2100 BCE - 2000 BCE

Platforms for temples- religious function
At the center of the city
Made out of mudbrick
Design- painted the ziggurats in bright colors and the platforms were landscaped
Symbolism- Liked to dwell on mountaintops

Temple Votive Sculptures/Statues at Ziggurat

2001 BCE - 2000 BCE

Function- Religious. Pious people in eternal prayer
Style- Large starring eyes (communication) cylindrical form. Stiff, rigid, unmoving, frontality. Hierarchical scale (The more important the people the bigger they are). Twisted perspective with both frontal and profile views.

Stele of Naram Sin

2000 BCE

Upright slab of stone that is decorated with figures or words, usually put in a public place. Decorated in relief sculpture where one side the figures stand out. Celebrating military victory of Naram Sin, akkadian king. Hierarchical style, twisted perspective, bull horned helmet, isolated in background, heavenly bodies shine on him.

Stele of Hammurabi

2000 BCE - 1700 BCE

Babylon conquered Akkad- Hammurabi was the greatest gruler of Babylon
Carved in stone- in relief.
Hammurabi and Shamush the Sun God- Hammurabi is standing and god is sitting- giving the ring and staff to Hammurabi. Cuneiform- Law of Code of Hammurabi- First written law code in history.

Assyrian Period

1000 BCE - 600 BCE

The Lamassu

800 BCE - 700 BCE

Assyrians were very warlike, cruel and brutal. Gigantic sculptures from stone who guard the city. Composite animal- body of a lion or bull, head of a man, and wings of a bird (Guardian figures).
Function- To impress visitors with the power of the king, protection, and to frighten. Usually a cuneiform that says something about the king of the city. Double relief- which ever way you look at it, it is the correct form.

Egyptian Art

Art in the service of religion

Palette of Narmer

3100 BCE

Flat piece of stone used to hold eye make up- low relief on both sides.
Narmer- Crown (white crown), skirt short, false beard of kingship, long animal tail.
Killing his enemy king of lower Egypt- can tell because of the hieroglyphic of the hawk above the king, papyrus is growing on his back- papyrus is the symbol of lower Egypt (lotus grows at upper egypt shown together symbolizes the united upper and and lower egypt). Horus is helping Narmer conquer lower Egypt.
Narmer- wearing the grown of both upper and lower Egypt.

Early Dynastic Period

3000 BCE - 2700 BCE

Old Kingdom

2701 BCE - 2200 BCE

Age of pyramids

Step Pyramid of Djoser

2700 BCE

Imhotep designed the tomb/step pyramid.
Wanted to protect his tomb- make it more difficult to find his tomb.
Function: Protect the kings body and possessions.
Design: Mastaba- stacked upon each other- decreasing in size.
Smaller temples.

New Kingdom

1550 BCE - 1070 BCE

Age of Empire

Stele of Akhenaton

1340 BCE

Aten is the sun disk and life giving rays with little hands that are offering ankh symbols
Nerfertiti wife with child
Extreme feminine features
Soft round edges
Familial gestures
Elongated heads

Abu Simbel- Funerary Temple of Ramses II

1300 BCE

Greatest of all Ancient Egyptians kings
Warrior pharaoh
Three rooms filled with statues of Ramses II and Ra
Built the temple looking towards the Nubians as a show of power
Klaft headdress, two kingdoms headdress, false beard
Oriented to have the sun illuminate Ramses's sculpture.

Greek Art

Art in the service of humanism

Archaic Period

700 BCE - 500 BCE


590 BCE - 580 BCE

Kouros- means young man
Statue of a male figure functioned as grave stones or tomb monuments
Celebrated the Greek ideal of manhood-symbolized the ideal of the athlete, warrior and hero.
Hair band- victorious athlete
Learned to sculpt from the Egyptians- difference is nudity and projecting parts

Classical (Golden Age) Period

500 BCE - 300 BCE

Kritios Boy

480 BCE

Sculpture is Kritios
First sculpture of the golden age period
Contraposto pose- natural relaxed pose for the human figure
Anatomical accuracy
Shows surface modulation

Riace Warrior

460 BCE - 450 BCE

6ft 6 inches tall
hollow cast bronze
considered to be the finest Greek sculptures ever created
hair band shows that he is a soldier
shows ancient greek characteristics


447 BCE - 438 BCE

Architecture as sculpture.
Function- Religion to celebrate Athena and worship her
Structure- post and lintel structure. Exterior focus

Hellenistic Period

300 BCE - 100 BCE

Alexander the Great or Alexander (Macedon)


200 BCE - 100 BCE

Subject- Laocoon is a Trojan priest who did not agree with the taking of the horse. One of the Greek goddesses sent large sea serpents to kill Laocoon and his two sons
Beware of the Greeks bearing gifts

Roman Art

Roman Sculpture
Influences from Greeks (ana accuracy, idealism, contrapposto)
Italic Influences (preference for “verism” truthfulness= realism in portraiture
Uses of propaganda
Late Roman (after 200 ce) loss of realism and idealism

Arch of Constantine

315 BCE

Triumphal arch of Emperor Constantine.
Pure propaganda


27 BCE

Roman temple dedicated to all the Gods
Hadrian built and designed the temple
Oculus- admits light and air into the interior space- removes the stress
Coffer- square recessed panels- lightens the weight of the room


72 CE - 80 CE

Wood plank floor
80 entrances
Awning was put up when it was hot
Vaults- based on the principle of round arch- seating was placed on top of these arches