Art History at a Glance

Review for AP Art History Exam


Prehistoric Art

30000 BCE - 2000 BCE

Cromlech - circle of megaliths
Henge - Neolithic monument with circular ground plan
Megalith - huge stone used in prehistoric structures
Menhir - large uncut stone erected as monument
Mortise-and-tenon - groove cut into stone or wood (mortise) shaped to receive projection (tenon) of same dimensions
Post-and-lintel - two posts support a horizontal beam (lintel)

Venus of Willendorf

30000 BC
  • Emphasized reproductive organs
  • Not meant to stand upright
  • Unknown purpose; fertility symbol?

Lascaux Caves

15000 BC
  • 650 paintings of cows, bulls, horses, deer
  • Bodies in profile but horns, eyes, and hooves are frontal
  • Scaffolding erected to get to higher areas
  • Possible narrative wall scene


2100 BC
  • Megaliths form horseshoe around central flat stone
  • Originally all posts were united by lintels
  • Stones imported from over 200 miles away

Beyond Europe


3500 BC - 2350 BC

Ancient Near Eastern Art

3500 BC - 641

Remember SABHAP
Apadana - audience hall in Persian palace
Capital - top element of column
Cuneiform - writing system where strokes form wedges/arrows
Cylinder seal - round piece of carved stone that makes an image when rolled onto clay
Hierarchy of scale - subject's importance is represented by size
Relief sculpture - projects from flat background
Bas-relief - very shallow relief sculpture
Stele - stone slab used to mark grave or site
Ziggurat - pyramid-like building with terraces at each level

Tell Asmar Statues

2700 BC
  • Hierarchy of scale
  • Placed in temple to offer prayers
  • Huge eyes

** Standard of Ur

2600 BC
  • War and peace side could have been early narrative
  • May have been part of soundbox for instrument
  • Hierarchy of scale (large king)
  • Body in profile with frontal shoulders
  • Organized in registers that read from bottom to top


2340 BC - 2180 BC


2100 BC
  • Colossal mud-brick building
  • Whitewashed to hide appearance of mud, may have had flags
  • Four corners oriented to the compass


1792 BC - 1750 BC


1600 BC - 1200 BC


1000 BC - 612 BC


559 BC - 331 BC