Model Exam Answers

Model Exam Answers - MODEL EXAM ANSWERS FALL 2010,...

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Unformatted text preview: MODEL EXAM ANSWERS FALL 2010, HAA 0010: INTRODUCTION TO WORLD ART (Note – spelling and grammatical errors have been corrected.) PART 1 – Identifications 1. The Palette of King Narmer serves the purpose of showing the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under Narmer’s rule. This is demonstrated in two main ways: first, Narmer is present wearing the crowns of both Upper and Lower Egypt (on each side of the palette), while pictured as a dominating force and the lions on the back side of the palette represent the unity as shown by their intertwined necks. This palette also demonstrates Narmer’s power. He is present four times, twice in human form, and once in animal form (a bull), and once in hieroglyphic form. He is larger than all other humans, a technique known as hierarchical scale. He is unable to be defined in one perspective, showing his divinity. There is a significant connection between the god Horus (the falcon) and Narmer, and an offering to Hathor, for whom the palette is offered. It was used in religious rituals and a commemoration of Narmer’s military power, and a gift to the gods. (Note: other successful essays expanded on several of these points, describing in detail certain parts of the palette. Others noted the way the human body is represented here – both pure profile and full frontal simultaneously – and the way this desire to present the body in multiple perspectives achieved an ideal that was emulated in Egyptian art for centuries to follow. Others focused on the connection between Narmer and the gods which was used to justify his absolute rule and power, while others discussed the ritual purpose of this object.) 2. The Bayeux Tapestry was commissioned by Bishop Odo of Bayeux to tell the story of William the Conqueror of Normandy and his victory over King Harold of England at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The tapestry depicts mundane events, such as feasts, and the building and loading of ships. It is a linen cloth embroidered with wool that was probably executed by women. It is decorated with simple but bold colors and the figures are rendered in an entertainingly abstracted way that is expressive. There are three bands, one main band with the images and two smaller bands at the top and bottom that present dialogue on the story. The tapestry is 230 feet long and presents a continuous narrative that requires that the viewer use memory when viewing it because it is so immense. (Note: other successful essays discussed the political point of view of the work that justified William’s decision to invade England with a discussion of particular scenes that were represented leading up to the battle. Others discussed the manner by which the tapestry was exhibited in the cathedral on special feast days. Others gave detailed visual analysis of certain passages to convey a sense of the vibrancy and energy of the work.) 3. The Bwa culture practiced an animist faith that demonstrated their appreciation for nature and its link to their survival in their art. The masks created by the Bwa were used in elaborate rituals that included costumes and dance. One type of mask was called the leaf mask. It was used at the opening of the spring and represented the incarnation of Do, the son of the god Difini. The leaf mask was processed through the city collecting the dirt. This served to purify the community, a means of ridding the village of evil and to bring balance back to nature. The second type of mask was the plank mask, which some in the community thought was heretical because it was newer and challenged the followers of Do. It embodied an animal spirit and relied on the special movements of the dancers to thank the particular animal spirit represented by the mask. Both masks and the rituals were used to link the community, worship the gods and connect with the natural world (Note: other successful essays emphasized the importance of these types of rituals for a culture that relies so heavily on agriculture for its survival; some described the materials used to create the elaborate costumes and analyzed the abstract forms used in the plank masks and their symbolic meaning, and provided a visual analysis of the leaf costume.) 4. Francisco Goya’s Third of May is an important painting in the history of art. In this painting, Goya uses a strong contrast between light and dark colors to depict the horrors of war. The viewer is drawn first to a figure dressed in bright white and yellow who is bathed in artificial light from a large lantern; the figure is in a Christ ­like pose with his arms stretched out to beg for mercy from the soldiers. Next to this martyr figure, Goya paints the blood of a killed victim bright red, to further show the horror of the execution (also the slain victim is in the same pose as the white ­shirted martyr figure in the center). From the lantern, Goya then uses dark colors to show the brutality of the soldiers while showing the city of Madrid in the background covered in darkness. This painting was commissioned by the Spanish government to depict the devastating effects of war that resulted from Napoleon’s invasion of Spain. At the time, Napoleon desired to rule all of Europe to spread the ideals of the French Revolution by force. This painting serves as a statement to show that war is not at all heroic as it was depicted in the past. Thus Goya’s painting becomes one of the first to show the dark underbelly of war in the modern period and its effects on the populace (the anonymous central figure) and the brutality of the conquerors. (Note: other successful essays also described the compositional arrangement of the lines of both victims and executioners, the oppressive weight of the hilly slope in the left foreground, the inability of the Church or God to intervene, noting the darkened church steeple in the background and the presence of the monk in the foreground, and the expressive energy of the paint handling to convey the pace and agitation of the scene.) 5. The Kailasantha Temple is carved from a cliff of sacred rock using a negative process to resemble a freestanding architectural complex behind a high screen wall. Dedicated to the Hindu god Siva, it was located in the hills of Ellora, India which was the supposed location of the “Magic Mountain,” the dwelling place of Siva and his consort. It was aligned with the four cardinal directions to resemble and embody the universe. Upon entering the complex, the contrast between bright sunlight and deep shadows on the elaborate carvings from the mountainside intensifies the religious experience. The fact that worship is a very personal experience in Hinduism is reflected in the small scale of the main shrine that encourages privacy. The hills at Ellora contain shrines to both Hindu and Buddhist faiths. (Note: other successful essays also mentioned the contents of the main shrine, the axial arrangement of space here, the side shrines – caves carved into the side of the mountain, and the significance of a threshold in religious structures, here articulated by the screen at the front and the two vertical towers. Others described the content and style of some of the carvings found here in greater detail.) PART 2 – Essay on Emperor Qin’s terracotta army and the Moai figures from Easter Island. Essays that earned A range grades: Example 1: The terracotta army of Emperor Qin and the Moai figures from Easter Island both have the same goals of protection and creating a sense of vigilance. The terracotta army was built to protect Emperor Qin’s tomb after his death. This was due to the emperor’s excessive concern over being assassinated during his lifetime, and his tomb being raided after his death. The Moai figures were created to protect the civilians of the island. The most notable difference between the two works of art is the way in which the figures are depicted. The terracotta soldiers are very naturalistic and life ­ size. They contain features that individualize each soldier such as hairstyles, clothing, facial types and expressions. These show that the soldiers are not a generalized image but rather attempt to convey a sense of individualization. On the other hand, the Moai figures are more abstract. They have large heads with deep ­ set eyes and angular chins, and disproportionately small arms. The figures are clearly created from a generalized image of the ancestors. Although the way the figures in each work are depicted is different, they both are created with much attention to detail. The terracotta soldiers have different hairstyles, treads on the soles of their shoes are visible, and the armor and uniform is represented with various designs and intricate patterns. Because of all of this detail, the rank of the soldiers can be determined from their uniform, their home location from their hairstyles, and their specific tasks from their weapon of choice. The terracotta solders were also very brightly colored to help create the sense of realism. The Moai figures are made from tufa rock and have extensive design patterns inscribed onto their backs assumed to represent their rank. They have a bas ­relief representing the fold of a special loincloth, and tattoos and they have colored eyes. Beside from the purpose of protection, each work had other fuctions to serve. The tremendous size of the terracotta army was a display of power and the significance of Emperor Qin. The extensive details and uniqueness of the soldiers was a testament to the grandeur and majestic life of the emperor. On the other hand, the Moai figures were assumed to commemorate high ­ranking ancestors and to keep their memory alive. It was first believed that the figures were gods, but it has been determined that they are known as “aringa ora” which means “living faces.” These figures were usually situated on platforms called “ahu” that are located near sacred sites. Example 2: Two extremely different cultures, ancient Imperial China and the Ahu Nau Nau culture of Easter Island seemingly could in no way be connected. Although China may have been more advanced (technologically, economically) and may have covered more territory than that of the Ahu Nau Nau, they both used sculpture to serve similar purposes. Emperor Qin’s terracotta army and the Moai figures both prepare for the culture’s future through the representation of those who have passed. The placement of the terracotta figures and the Moai figures are essential to their purposes. Buried near Qin’s tomb, a subterranean palace and imperial city complex, the statues face north, expecting an attack. The Moai figures are placed on the top of ahu platforms that line the periphery of the island, but face inward, looking back at the civilization that created them, but at the same time warning of the outer limit and the prospect of invasion and visitors. In this way, each of these works had been made in preparation for events to come in the future. They continually served the purpose of either guarding the emperor’s body (Qin soldiers) or representing the presence of the ancestors (Moai figures), but they each also had a purpose waiting to emerge. Through detail, each of the works gains significance. Executed in fear of being attacked in the afterlife, Qin’s terracotta army replaced an earlier, traditional practice of sacrificing real human attendants and guardians for this purpose upon the death of the ruler. Each soldier was individually made, first from molds and then with details carefully created by hand and showed some level of individuality with varying hair styles, armor and costumes. Some say that some of the figures represented actual people who lived during Qin’s time. The Moai figures were both individualized and systematic like the terracotta figures. The Moai figures had inscriptions on their backs that (speculatively) represented tattoos and loincloths and distinguished the figures so that they represented real, once living ancestors who were important to this culture. Through detail in multiplied figures, both cultures achieved individualization and represented important figures. (Note: several other successful essays approached the issue of individuality vs. generalization in an opposite but equally convincing way… arguing that while the terracotta army is represented with an eye to naturalistic and realistic detail, the Moai figures are abstracted and represent more of a generalized type. See the essay above for an example of this, the discussion of the abstracting of facial and bodily features.) What gives each of the works and immense impact is the medium and scale – the monumental scale of the Moai figures and the multiplicity of the terracotta figures (their enormity as a group). Made from soft volcanic stone, the Moai figures were a part of a physical process that began with inland quarries. The enormous size of the Moai figures marked their significance and importance. The same message is communicated with Qin’s power through the immense multiplicity of the terracotta figures. Thousands of figures were created by hundreds of workers over decades of time, instilling Qin’s power while he lived, but also after his death. Both cultures thus shared the similar goal to prolong power through sculptural preparation during life. Although very different, the Moai figures and the terracotta army display the human need to prolong power and existence through death. Whether it is done during actual life, like Qin, or once a person has already passed, like the ancestral Moai figural representations, humans have a need to remain on this earth, to be present, even after death. Through multiplicity, detailing and duplication in Qin’s terracotta army and the size, material and location of the Moai figures, each culture used sculpture as a forum to fulfill the human need to carry on life after death and also to prepare for future possible events. Note: The essays above represent two possible responses to the question that were particularly strong given the coherence and clarity of a thesis, and the use of detailed observations to support the thesis. Other successful essays many have centered on different large themes, for example the intended invisibility of the terracotta army which was supposed to remain hidden underground vs. the prominent visibility of the Moai figures which serve as vertical markers, large in scale and lining the periphery of the island. Other essays focused in on the stark differences that arise between the outward facing terracotta army versus the inward facing Moai figures and what this might mean. Others focused on the sense of vulnerability that motivated each work (Qin’s fear of immortality and the isolation of the Easter Island peoples in the middle of a vast expansive ocean.) A range papers were able to articulate detailed observations about each work to flesh out a central thesis that was compelling, giving it fuller meaning and convincingness. ...
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This note was uploaded on 12/23/2010 for the course HAA 0010 taught by Professor Mcalister during the Spring '09 term at Pittsburgh.

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