By Erwin Christensen
Lovely western snap shots, with historical past
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Additional resources for A Pictorial History of Western Art
Berlin and Istanbul. , Baltimore (1958) ///. North Head of Gudea, Neo-Sumerian period (III. 23) is best represented by its sculpture. Of round, the most representative works are about a dozen statues, with heads broken off, and single heads. This head fits a seated statue representing Gudea, the Mesopotamian sculpture in the art 38 A PICTORIAL HISTORY OF WESTERN ART king priest of Lagash. It was originally placed in a temple as a votive offering to the personal god of Gudea. Inscriptions on the side of the seated statue indicate that Gudea is holding on his knees a plan for a temple for the god.
Gods, the personified forces of nature, still required the same conveniences as man, but at a high level of subsis- — A tence befitting their divine status. statue of Gudea thus becomes a perpetual appeal to the god as well as a reminder of service rendered. The gods "delight in gifts"; they must be propitiated. This left the artist with the task of presenting the facts; a true likeness of the king, an expression of respect in a prayerful, devotional posture. Mesopotamian history is beset with invasions, conquests, reconquests, and the destruction that followed.
There is a confusing mingling of attacking Assyrians and Elamites mostly fleeing of across a river or lying prostrate pierced by arrows. Variety is achieved by lively postures. Correct proportions are used, as far as needed, to tell the story, and arm and leg muscles are stressed, but correct drawing of the figure, landscape, and spatial depth is not attempted. Curved lines on top of the fortress and over the portal are meant to represent fire. Assyrians with picks and crowbars and the falling bricks and timbers suggest destruction of the walls.
A Pictorial History of Western Art by Erwin Christensen