AH essay 2

AH essay 2 - Psyllos 1 Matthew Psyllos Brianna Bricker AH1,...

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Psyllos 1 Matthew Psyllos Brianna Bricker AH1, Thursday 9:00 February 9, 2011 Art History 1: Take Home Essay Prompt #2 A well-known saying of the present day asserts, “Art imitates life.” This philosophy owes homage in part to the ancient Greek and Roman artists that developed a classical style of art for us to appreciate and learn from. With this classical style, the archaic artists attempted to capture life as they observed it, as well as how they thought life should be. The treatment of women in antiquity epitomizes this train of thought because it reflects how society viewed women at the time and reinforces their opinions of social expectations. Artwork on the Parthenon and the Ara Pacis Augustae vividly depict different ideas about the treatment of women in homes and their roles in ancient society. An excellent starting point for examining the portrayal of women in ancient art is one of the most influential structures in the world, the Parthenon. Iktinos and Kallikrates built this temple dedicated to the goddess Athena from 447 to 438 BCE and it sits atop the Acropolis in Athens, Greece (Gardner, 68). For years scholars have debated much of the mythology surrounding the Parthenon because a lot of images in the artwork do not cooperate with primary stories in Greek culture. For example, the presence of male water carriers and chariots in the frieze is “entirely inappropriate for a Classical army” as Joan B. Connelly says in her article “Parthenon and Parthenoi : A Mythological Interpretation of the Parthenon Frieze.” The frieze is also full of discrepancies regarding the portrayal of women in ancient Greece, the best example being the “Peplos” scene. This scene shows a group of five people standing between two sets of gods and goddesses: Athena
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Psyllos 2 and Hephaestus are to the right and Nike, Hera, and Zeus lie to the left. Sandwiched between these two groupings are a man, dressed in priestly robes, and a woman, presumably his wife and a priestess of Athena. Accompanying them are their three daughters of various ages, the youngest one semi-nude in the act of changing into her sacrificial robes. This scene conforms to the traditional Greek practice of sacrificing young women for the satisfaction of the gods, but it does not explain why Athena and some of the other gods and goddesses are turned away from the sacrifice. Connelly argues that maybe the gods are intentionally looking away because “it is unseemly for gods to watch mortals die” (Connelly, 67). Another noteworthy factor to the Parthenon
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AH essay 2 - Psyllos 1 Matthew Psyllos Brianna Bricker AH1,...

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